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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi everyone, I am new to the Mothering.com forums.

I have been searching for answers on what to do for my daughter because I feel like I have exhausted all that I know how to do. She is 5 years old and started Kindergarten in September of '08. Her birthday is October 4th, so I thought she would be ready for Kindergarten, and she was doing very well for about 2 1/2 months.

She has gone to half day day care and half day pre school before starting Kindergarten full day. She was doing absolutely great until December, always getting green notes, then suddenly started bringing home yellow notes. She was getting about 2 per week, then they suddenly started increasing. I was constantly having conferences with the teacher, even staying in class with her (those days, she got green notes if I got there early), and then started to get worse again (some red notes, poking classmates with pencils, hitting children, but that all stopped within a week and a half). She does great academically, and is ready for school, very smart, reading books already and knows her numbers to 100.

Well, she won't get another green note to save her life. I've tried rewards, timers, restriction from toys and play time etc. as punishment, spankings for red notes (hitting, pocking a child in the neck with a pencil) and severe yellow (they have 3 levels), she's rarely getting recess at school now and is simply not enjoying school anymore.

She told me today "Mommy, I don't want to go to school anymore. I am bad because I don't want to go anymore. I can't get green notes because I am bad, so I don't want to go to school." She is not bad at all. Her teacher even says how sweet she is. So I think she is deliberately not listening and doing what she isn't supposed to do because she doesn't like being there.

Her teacher tells me that she won't listen to her in class. She often has to tell Olivia to do things three times and she gets yellow notes for not being obedient and not respecting her teacher. There was even an occasion where all the children had their heads down in class and Olivia jumps up... and starts doing cheers. The teacher couldn't believe her eyes. Needless-to-say, she sat down after being told three times to do so and got her clip moved to 10 minutes. I think she just doesn't like being told what to do. And this started all of a sudden!

She has been moving around badly during circle time (carpet time), and now has an X with her name on it on the carpet - no freedom to sit where she wants. Her teacher seems nice enough, but Olivia seems to have a problem with her, but won't tell me that she has any problems with her. "I like Mrs. James." she tells me.

She obviously is disliking school really bad. It's almost the end of April now, and school will be out in June. It seems so late in the year to try to switch her to another class, and I can't home school her because I am enlisting in the National Guard and my sister (who will be watching my kids) will not be able to do that while going to school and working herself (she also has her own daughter who is 1).

I have scheduled a doctors appointment to check her vision and hearing, and there is a hearing test at school on Thursday. I really don't think either of those things are the problem as she does not show any signs of hearing loss or vision impairment at home or in school.

She's not hyperactive although she does vie for my attention often (she is the middle child, I have a 1 year old son and a 10 year old son and I work from home so although I am home, I'm not REALLY home, you know what I mean?

So... please advise. I don't know what else to do about her not wanting to go to school, but I don't want to torture her by forcing her to go.
 

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It seems like she is bored in class. Is the work not challenging for her? It seems the more the teacher restricts her the worse she "acts" up. Poor thing. Its so hard to adjust to everyday school and even though accademically she is ready, is it possible emotionally she isn't?
 

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Have you considered having her moved to another class? What about a different type of school?

Have you looked into homeschooling?

Also, you'll notice that this is the Gentle Discipline forum. I can understand being so frustrated you don't know what to do, but spanking her for behavior at school isn't going to help her improve.
 

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A few little thoughts:

1. You cannot motivate her. What you are telling her with the rewards and bribes and punishments is that listening to the teacher isn't worth it on its own - it's not worth her time to do unless she's paid or punished. There is not a thing you can give or take away that will motivate her to do well.

2. You need to talk to the teacher. Find out exactly what is going on. Sit in on class yourself and take a look at the work your daughter is expected to do and the feel of the room. Work WITH the teacher, whether it means modifying expectations (I'm in agreement with the pp, it sounds like she's bored) or rearranging the classroom.

3. You need to leave this at school. Don't take it home. The ticket system should just be an indicator of the past 8 hours, not a license to use for the next 4. Leave it there - the teacher is working on it, you are supporting the teacher during those hours.

It sounds like she is defining herself through her behavior, which sets off a wee alarm for me. Her words sounded hopeless, like this is the role she is stuck in. Please, forget the ticket color at home and focus on a relationship that treats it as matter of fact, but neither good nor bad. Green, yellow, red..doesn't matter when having silly song competitions over dinner or stacking plates together. I've noticed that the more unhappy I am, the more it shows up everywhere else. I wouldn't guess that children would be much different. Focusing on keeping the atmosphere at home loving and comforting can do a lot for a child struggling with behavior at school.
mama. It's hard to keep cool sometimes when you KNOW they are capable of something, but for some odd reason just aren't doing it.
 

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What's up with Green, yellow and red notes?
I think I would behave badly and rebel if I was being judged every second of the day and then punished at night based on the color of some silly note my teacher decided.

She sounds horribly unhappy and I would take her out of school as soon as possible and put her back in the daycare if she is happier. Try a different school next year. Then spend as much time loving her and letting her be herself without being judged or punished. Read Unconditional Parenting to understand the philosophy behind gentle discipline.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by LilyGrace View Post
You need to leave this at school. Don't take it home. The ticket system should just be an indicator of the past 8 hours, not a license to use for the next 4. Leave it there - the teacher is working on it, you are supporting the teacher during those hours.

It sounds like she is defining herself through her behavior, which sets off a wee alarm for me. Her words sounded hopeless, like this is the role she is stuck in. Please, forget the ticket color at home and focus on a relationship that treats it as matter of fact, but neither good nor bad. Green, yellow, red..doesn't matter when having silly song competitions over dinner or stacking plates together. I've noticed that the more unhappy I am, the more it shows up everywhere else. I wouldn't guess that children would be much different. Focusing on keeping the atmosphere at home loving and comforting can do a lot for a child struggling with behavior at school.
mama. It's hard to keep cool sometimes when you KNOW they are capable of something, but for some odd reason just aren't doing it.
Fantastic advice, well said
 

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You know approximately when she started disliking school...

Can you find anything that changed about that time or right before? A new volunteer in the classroom? A new kid? A new rule? Has she learned faster than the other kids and is now academically bored?

How "connected" are you with the other parents? Do you know any of them, even just to say "hi" to and chat a few minutes at pick-up or drop-off?

You'd be amazed at the quantity and quality of information that you can get (often in little snippets) from the other parents about just what is going on in the classroom based on what their kids tell them. You might want to fish around with the other parents to see if they're hearing anything from their kids about your DD or changes in the classroom (that could have happened at that time).

Because, from what you say, it sounds like the only way to really help her and motivate her to do better will be to find out and resolve whatever is making her not want to go to school.
 

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shes really young. SO shes was 4 when shes started Kindergarden in September? I ask cause my DD is in kindergarden this year as well shes also has an October birthday she is 6.5 years here a child must be 5 by September 1st. I know its diffrent for diffrent states but I wonder if she just doesn't need a little more time to mature. (academics and maturity aren't always the same).

Deanna
 

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Quote:
and I can't home school her because I am enlisting in the National Guard and my sister (who will be watching my kids) will not be able to do that while going to school and working herself (she also has her own daughter who is 1).
Is shes aware of this change? How prepared is she?

Deanna
 

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Ohh another thing. My DD school uses cards as well I'm actually not nearly as anti them as many here but DD teacher does a good job overall uses them as teaching tools rather that as a shaming tool.... but... I do/did notice a pattern at the start of the year a LOT of kids got cards turned mostly to Yellow (here its green yellow orange red) DD managed to remain on green but I heard a lot of complaints from other parents. It seemed it was a mixture of really trying to establish rules and a teacher who was used to FIRST graders and could quite get Kinders weren't mini 7 year olds.. Kids got used to the rules teacher began to relax and the class started to see more green than anything and went months with just greens.... Now its getting closer to the end of the year (ends in May here) the rules are getting tighter and kids are getting cards turned for really small things like my DD got a yellow card last week for not putting her name on her paper
.. I know why shes getting them ready for 1st grade and trying to get them to really pay attention to the rules and dirrections. I don't 100% agree with the method but I get the goal. Here a yellow is nothing more than a warning she looses her insentive chart sticker for the day but no punishment (and to be fair the stickers are sosposed to indicate proper behavior ALL rules/dirrections followed ect..). I agree with another person here or another place you posted that said keep school at school. We do talk about the yellows (as far as my DD has got) sometimes its as simple as remember to write your name honey.. sometimes we talk about making a better choice... next time go find a teacher don't grab.. ect but incidents in school are ussually just that incidents they are delt with and pass. Adding punishment at home is frustrating.

Deanna
 

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I am a second grade teacher in a public school. I have also taught kindergarten. Here, kids have to be 5 by September 15 to begin kindergarten, and honestly, a large number of children with birthdays later than June or July have a very difficult time emotionally making the adjustment to school. It's a lot of structure and expectations, especially if it's in a full-day program.

I do use a color system in my classroom, although it's a bit different. Kids start the day on green and move to purple, red, then blue. Purple is only a warning and there are no consequences. In my classroom, however, there is also a color above green -- kids can move to gold if they demonstrate excellent behavior, and they can also "redeem" themselves from a negative color and move back up.

It sounds like your daughter is in a cycle of feeling particularly hopeless. Once she's moved to yellow, she's stuck, and it doesn't matter if she's good for the rest of the day, because she's already in trouble at school, and then with you, too. I agree with the previous posters about not letting her color at school affect ANYTHING at home. (I believe in this in my own classroom mostly, too, btw -- I have a couple of kids who almost ALWAYS get to move their clips back before the end of the day, because their parents are too uptight about it at home -- and also a couple of kids for whom getting on purple is almost an accomplishment that I enjoy -- it means that they took a chance and did something silly, and acted like kids).

Instead of punishing her at home, let home be a place where it's only positive about school. I would also talk with her teacher (and especially her first grade teacher) about possibly using another system with her. Instead of a system where she loses status she can't get back, could she earn pennies or something instead for time periods when she IS doing well -- and then maybe she could redeem the pennies at home, for special privileges that will make her feel positive about herself and her abilities? Then, instead of an actual punishment, the consequence is losing the penny she could have earned. She needs to start building on the positives. The color system is obviously not working or making things better for her teacher, so maybe her teacher will be willing to do something different with her.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by octobermom View Post
Is shes aware of this change? How prepared is she?

Deanna
Deanna, you might be on to something.

Could she on some level be worried about the OP going into the NG and thinking (in kid logic) that if she's NOT in school her mom won't be able to go in the NG?
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
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Originally Posted by jacki1234 View Post
It seems like she is bored in class. Is the work not challenging for her? It seems the more the teacher restricts her the worse she "acts" up. Poor thing. Its so hard to adjust to everyday school and even though accademically she is ready, is it possible emotionally she isn't?
I think it is a combination of things mentioned on this bored, this is very helpful to me.

I believe she is bored, that the system of green, yellow and red IS making her feel stuck and ruined for the rest of the day, and that she needs something different to motivate her besides rewards and reprimands.

That is exactly the system her teacher is using, however, her music and phys. ed. teachers say they are also having problems with Olivia not listening and following directions. I think their issues are only a carry over from the main class though. I feel so bad for her and I want her happy, I really am upset about this.


I think I do have some great starting points to go from, and I plan to talk to her teacher tomorrow - my daughter is having a hearing test at the school and I want to be there for it. I will have the opportunity then to talk to the principal, her teacher, and other teachers for feedback.

Thank you!

Tamara
 

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Let us know how it goes mama...and don't take any excuses for why they can't/won't individualize the structure of this (not working) system for YOUR little girl!

We're cheering you on
:
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Quote:

Originally Posted by phathui5 View Post
Have you considered having her moved to another class? What about a different type of school?

Have you looked into homeschooling?

Also, you'll notice that this is the Gentle Discipline forum. I can understand being so frustrated you don't know what to do, but spanking her for behavior at school isn't going to help her improve.
I have considered moving her to another class or another school. I am very low income right now until I enlist, I make less than $1000 per month for all of my expenses which is very very difficult. I cannot afford to put my daughter in activities or pay for day care right now without the additional help. I am working full time as a ghostwriter, writing articles which I enjoy and I do from home (a BLESSING!), however, I am not making enough money for additional things I need. This is why I am enlisting in the Michigan Army National Guard.

I am graduating NYIT and working full time with a 17 month year old and 10 year old as well, so unfortunately home schooling is not an option for me at this point. I cannot afford to put her in a private school, or else Waldorf Education would be my first choice as I was pursuing a teaching certificate in Waldorf education several years ago before changing my focus to business.

I have stopped using punishment and spankings for nearly a month now, as I have decided not to continue to punish her for something that 1) doesn't seem to be her fault, and 2) she is expressing that she isn't happy, and I can't punish her for being unhappy.

I am going to schedule a meeting with her teacher and principal tomorrow to rework what is happening. There was an excellent point brought up that she has no way to redeem herself at any point during the day and is stuck at yellow, unmotivated, and taking something away or rewarding her is not solving the issue. There is a lot of negativity in getting the rules across in school, and I am hoping to create a new method of helping her - I just don't know how flexible her teacher or the school will be.

Thank you for your advice,

Tamara
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by MommyofThreeAON View Post
I have considered moving her to another class or another school. I am very low income right now until I enlist, I make less than $1000 per month for all of my expenses which is very very difficult. I cannot afford to put my daughter in activities or pay for day care right now without the additional help. I am working full time as a ghostwriter, writing articles which I enjoy and I do from home (a BLESSING!), however, I am not making enough money for additional things I need. This is why I am enlisting in the Michigan Army National Guard.

I am graduating NYIT and working full time with a 17 month year old and 10 year old as well, so unfortunately home schooling is not an option for me at this point. I cannot afford to put her in a private school, or else Waldorf Education would be my first choice as I was pursuing a teaching certificate in Waldorf education several years ago before changing my focus to business.

I have stopped using punishment and spankings for nearly a month now, as I have decided not to continue to punish her for something that 1) doesn't seem to be her fault, and 2) she is expressing that she isn't happy, and I can't punish her for being unhappy.

I am going to schedule a meeting with her teacher and principal tomorrow to rework what is happening. There was an excellent point brought up that she has no way to redeem herself at any point during the day and is stuck at yellow, unmotivated, and taking something away or rewarding her is not solving the issue. There is a lot of negativity in getting the rules across in school, and I am hoping to create a new method of helping her - I just don't know how flexible her teacher or the school will be.

Thank you for your advice,

Tamara

That. Right. There. Made. My. Day.

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Someday your DD will thank you
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Quote:

Originally Posted by LilyGrace View Post
A few little thoughts:

1. You cannot motivate her. What you are telling her with the rewards and bribes and punishments is that listening to the teacher isn't worth it on its own - it's not worth her time to do unless she's paid or punished. There is not a thing you can give or take away that will motivate her to do well.

2. You need to talk to the teacher. Find out exactly what is going on. Sit in on class yourself and take a look at the work your daughter is expected to do and the feel of the room. Work WITH the teacher, whether it means modifying expectations (I'm in agreement with the pp, it sounds like she's bored) or rearranging the classroom.

3. You need to leave this at school. Don't take it home. The ticket system should just be an indicator of the past 8 hours, not a license to use for the next 4. Leave it there - the teacher is working on it, you are supporting the teacher during those hours.

It sounds like she is defining herself through her behavior, which sets off a wee alarm for me. Her words sounded hopeless, like this is the role she is stuck in. Please, forget the ticket color at home and focus on a relationship that treats it as matter of fact, but neither good nor bad. Green, yellow, red..doesn't matter when having silly song competitions over dinner or stacking plates together. I've noticed that the more unhappy I am, the more it shows up everywhere else. I wouldn't guess that children would be much different. Focusing on keeping the atmosphere at home loving and comforting can do a lot for a child struggling with behavior at school.
mama. It's hard to keep cool sometimes when you KNOW they are capable of something, but for some odd reason just aren't doing it.
Wow, you are really making some excellent points. Thank you so much for sharing this with me, it makes me want to print it out and read it to her teacher lol!

2. I have sat in on her class as much as 2 times per week, and on those days she gets green notes (I give her gentle reminders to be still in her seat, sit up properly etc., but not much). When she gets a yellow note, she will get a 5 minute or 10 minute penalty against her recess time (that's 5 minutes or 10 minutes that she can't play). I asked her today why she got 10 minutes, and she said one of her classmates had done something where she retaliated? She ended up getting 10 minutes because when everyone had their heads down, she sat her head up and the teacher had to tell her twice to put her head back down. I told her we would visit the dance school down the street... she needs some balance, regardless as to whether I know if I will take her out of there or not yet.

I agree with you, I agree with you and I agree with you. I definitely have to leave it at school and no more punishments for what goes on there. I'm done with that. I need to focus more on loving her and praising her because her unhappiness really is concerning me - I don't know if I should take her out of school though, and yet I don't want to leave her there and give her the sense that I won't save her


Thanks for your advice,

Tamara
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Quote:

Originally Posted by babsbob View Post
What's up with Green, yellow and red notes?
I think I would behave badly and rebel if I was being judged every second of the day and then punished at night based on the color of some silly note my teacher decided.

She sounds horribly unhappy and I would take her out of school as soon as possible and put her back in the daycare if she is happier. Try a different school next year. Then spend as much time loving her and letting her be herself without being judged or punished. Read Unconditional Parenting to understand the philosophy behind gentle discipline.
You're so right
I'm so sad about it because I am realizing that I could have caused my daughter so much damage by keeping her there thinking she would adjust to it. I know some children do adjust, and not knowing WHEN she would adjust is such a mystery. I want to just snatch her out of there the way I am feeling right now.


I won't do that though, I will be sure to schedule a meeting between her teacher and the principal to restructure her plan. If they won't do it, then I will just take her out. She is young, that is true, and I don't think it would hurt her if she was able to even get tutoring and catch up on what she needs to learn before going to 1st grade. I don't know how that works either, but I'll find out. It just isn't working and she's hating school now, and she's so bright and sweet. *sigh.*
 

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I do want to gently encourage you to not be too hard on yourself. We all make mistakes and learn as our children (and we) grow throughout their lives. I can hear the love you have for her in your post...focus on the positives? Definitely. But I don't get the impression from reading your posts that you could possibly love her any more than you already do
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Quote:

Originally Posted by Ione View Post
You know approximately when she started disliking school...

Can you find anything that changed about that time or right before? A new volunteer in the classroom? A new kid? A new rule? Has she learned faster than the other kids and is now academically bored?

How "connected" are you with the other parents? Do you know any of them, even just to say "hi" to and chat a few minutes at pick-up or drop-off?

You'd be amazed at the quantity and quality of information that you can get (often in little snippets) from the other parents about just what is going on in the classroom based on what their kids tell them. You might want to fish around with the other parents to see if they're hearing anything from their kids about your DD or changes in the classroom (that could have happened at that time).

Because, from what you say, it sounds like the only way to really help her and motivate her to do better will be to find out and resolve whatever is making her not want to go to school.
I hadn't thought about looking at things like that - from the viewpoint of what has changed in the classroom since November. I know one thing that changed was the introduction of homework, but she does very well on that and hasn't expressed any disinterest in it. I think she's fine with the work but just doesn't want to go to school. I will be sure to ask the teacher that when I conference with her.

I'm really not connected with any of the parents at all. I've gone to one of the children's birthday parties when invited, but the way pick up and drop off is, people are not allowed in the building, and a person opens your car door and lets your child out of the car to walk into the school. I have never seen a parent volunteer on the days I've been there, typically Tuesdays or Thursdays either morning or afternoon. I work from home, and I suspect that might be a large reason why.

I am really really trying to find out what it is. She told me "I am being bad because I don't want to go to school" so it seems like a portion of her getting in trouble is deliberate on her part (which I can't really blame her if she's that unhappy). It was suggested on this board that the poor girl is unable to recover from going downhill at any point, and that is so sad because how many of us need or want a second chance to do better? She isn't getting that chance


Thank you,

Tamara
 
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