2nd Grader can't take criticism? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 3 Old 11-21-2014, 12:25 PM - Thread Starter
 
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2nd Grader can't take criticism?

My first born is 7 and he is in 2nd grade (regular class) so I do not have experience with this growing up thing yet His class is large this year but instead of 1 teacher, there are 2 so in reality the student to teacher ratio is 1:11.
Anyway, I was told they give lots of praise and positive re-enforcements in class and my son is actually the 2nd child to have so many positive marks (on his 3rd sheet of checks while other students are still one the 1st page). That being said, the second he is reminded to get back to work, he acts like he can't do anything right. Earlier this week, they reminded him to get back to work and he pouted under his desk. He has NEVER done that before and I found out today from a conference that other kids with undiagnosed and severe behaviors do this. Is it attention seeking? Does he like for them to feel sorry for him? When he did it, they told him he was not in trouble and it was just a friendly reminder to get back to work.
Another time, they were working on assessments and the girl next to him was annoying him so he told the teacher but by then, the question timed out and he saw his status bar did not go up which made him sad and he cried. I almost think he has too much stress and can't deal with it maybe... I'm starting to get worried.
I know when he has trouble with an assignment, he will act out to draw attention away from the fact he doesn't know what he is doing. He also told the teacher he is only good in math and dumb with everything else... ahhhhhhhh!! We do not tell him he is dumb nor do we give him grief if he messes up with stuff.. For example, I have him circle words he doesn't know and we sound them out together and re-read the section with the correct words... when he spells stuff correctly, we do high fives... I do not know what else to do. I have the guidance counselor talking with him and I asked the special ed teacher if she had suggestions on behaviors.
My son is teased a lot because he is not athletic (more of a computer and art guy). He doesn't have any true friends that stay consistent year after year. Suggestions on what to ask him to start a discussion or anything to help would be appreciated! He has gotten a lot worse with the pressure he puts on himself...
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#2 of 3 Old Yesterday, 01:15 PM
 
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Couple things.

My daughter has had multiple issues and when things just didn't seem to be within the realm of average to us we got a full neuropsychological evaluation. Hours and hours of testing on 3 separate testing days. She also had an OT assessment and a speech assessment. Getting diagnoses and learning specific strategies that would be likely to work, not just trying to muddle through ourselves, has been tremendously helpful. For example, the neuropsych evaluation was consistent with ADHD (no surprise to us) but also pointed out a problem with her vision. She has good acuity, the 20/20 stuff, but she could not track something moving and she could not focus on something close to her eyes for very long - duh, no wonder she was having trouble with reading! Vision therapy was tremendous help to her reading.

My daughter has also had that behavior of going under things. She would definitely be one to get under a desk if she felt scared or ashamed, but the social pressure of being in a classroom is enough of an inhibitor that she only has done that in testing situations. It's also very obvious that she misbehaves or makes wild attempts to change the subject when she is uncomfortably challenged. We have dealt with the first one by making some allowances for her going under things when she is upset and it's not a big social or practical problem. For example, if she gets upset and goes under her bed at home, I lie down and talk to her, and when she's ready, have even gone under the bed with her. Doing it in other places has gotten better with time and firm guidance. Now that we better recognize the attempts to change subject (not always verbal, could be getting up and grabbing a toy) because we have a label for it, we help her through by gently but firmly redirecting her, and pointing out to her what she is doing.

I don't mean to say your son has the same issues, but just to recommend getting him evaluated and to let you know he's not the only under-desk hider. Overall, my daughter is a smartie who is doing better making friends and has a lot of things she likes. She's a lovely kid, and the evaluations have really helped us know how to help her.

I wish you luck. Evaluations aren't cheap, and if you go that way, it is definitely worth doing some research to find out who may be good in your area. We called everyone we knew with special needs kids, and people we knew in the field, and ended up very pleased with the quality of what was done.
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#3 of 3 Old Today, 10:13 AM
 
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There's lots of research out there now suggesting that lots of positive praise doesn't have the intended effect, and can have lots of negative consequences on a child. Punishment and rewards are two sides of the same coin. Rewarding correct answers with high fives, "good jobs," things like that, just increases pressure to get right answers, can make kids (especially of certain temperaments; not all kids are as sensitive to it) afraid of getting a wrong answer, self-conscious of their performance, and really suck the joy out of the learning experience. Kids tend to lose interest when they feel like they're being evaluated, and as much as it feels like we're just being encouraging, praise for performance is an evaluation. Telling kids that they're "so smart" can make them feel pressured to maintain that label, afraid to look dumb and lose their status as a smart kid, so they may either stop trying altogether or put excessive pressure on themselves. They might take the easy route, preferring to get all easy answers correct than to challenge themselves and potentially be wrong. He may be putting the extra pressure on himself to do well academically to compensate for not excelling in other areas. Alfie Kohn has written extensively on this subject, both books and essays. I'm sure his website has links to some of his essays. He has books both on parenting and education. I would be doing all I could to relieve the pressure on him, helping him take the pressure off of himself, including looking at ways you (and his teachers!) may be inadvertently contributing to his mindset. Lots of praise in the classroom might not be the best thing for him. Addressing the teasing would be a major, major priority for me as well - bullying is not something to take lightly.



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