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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I feel like I am so out of my league here. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/greensad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="greensad"><br><br>
My ds is in kindergarten, in public school.<br><br>
In the beginning of the year, a group of kids in his class, usually 4-5 boys played army men during play time. Ds played with them for a couple of weeks, until one of the boys started being mean to him. At that point, he told me, I don't want to play with him anymore, but I want to make sure it's okay with you, if I don't. (He always asks before he does stuff, he's very polite).<br><br>
I told him, he doesn't have to play with anyone who is mean to him. Not ever. Or even if they're not mean, but if he wants to play with the trains or the blocks, and they want him to play army men, he can do what he wants.<br><br>
So that's what he's done, for about a month. If he wants to play with the big group, he goes by them. If he doesn't want to, he doesn't, and he tells whoever's asking, no thanks.<br><br>
The teacher told me she doesn't like that he won't always join the group. I asked her, during 'free' time, does he have to play in a set area. She said no, it's free time, they can play where they want, but she's concerned that he played with the boys for weeks and then just stopped playing with them.<br><br>
I then asked her, did she ask him why he stopped playing with them? She said, no, she didn't, which is why she was asking me. I said, you should ask him, he'd tell you, he's very verbal and able to express himself well.<br><br>
I told her he didn't care for the company of one of the boys, to which she replied that he was too sensitive and he needed to learn how to get along with others. She requested that I encourage him to learn to get along with others and to learn to be a part of the group.<br><br>
Ds DOES get along with others. He DOES play in groups. Outside of the one boy who is mean to him (and he's not the only one who this other boy bothers), he sees these kids outside of class on play dates or birthday parties or something usually at least once a week. Again, mostly in big groups, but sometimes one on one.<br><br>
I have never pushed him to be a certain way or be with certain people, it's always been his choice.<br><br>
I refuse to condone playing with the class bully because the teacher wants it. Especially because in our area public schools, if a fight or something should break out, both the innocent and guilty are punished. I'm just trying to instill in him that he has good instincts, and he doesn't have to just be with people who upset him.<br><br>
When I told her that I had told him that he could choose who to play with, she said, I can tell you are not a group person, and you shouldn't put your personality and likes on your child.<br><br>
Am I in a twilight zone here?<br><br>
My dh told me to just ignore the teacher, that she just has some control issues, and it's not going to matter, in the short term or long term. To just let it go.<br><br>
Should I just chalk this up as personality clash, keep going with my gut and ignore her, while of course still being polite if she calls up to 'report' something?<br><br>
Helpl <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/greensad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="greensad">
 

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<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/irked.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="irked">: Okay, I can see if he were older, and there was some class assignment or project that involved everyone getting into groups. Your groups are assigned, and if you don't like a person, you can't change. As my Dad said, "We all have to deal with a**holes in our lives". But this isn't an assigned project, this is FREE PLAY TIME. The purpose of this activity is to play & have fun. You can't have much fun when your playing with a bully.
 

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I agree, Brandi. My DS has had some encounters with kids who weren't nice, and I've never heard a teacher try to encourage playing together. In fact, with him, we had to teach that it's better to play elsewhere than to get loudly upset!
 

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I think the teacher is way off here. Sounds like "blaming the victim." She seems to have some other agenda that doesn't include your son's learning social skills. What is the school policy on bullying and/or negative social behavior? Most schools have a clearly spelled out curriculum or at least policy (our school uses one called The Responsive Classroom; others have Zero Tolerance policies, etc.). At the k-garten level also, learning to be in a group shouldn't include navigating a mean boy-- it should be about just getting along well, being able to tolerate someone else being a leader, taking your turn being a leader, etc. Perhaps schedule a meeting w/ teacher to go over your thoughts in more depth, since it is so early in the year. ?
 

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Geez that does seem really odd. If they are having "free time" then it should be just that. Even in the older grades if kids are given a choice then they avoid those they don't like. As a teacher I encourage the kids to stay away from certain kids that they feel uncomfortable around because it causes way to many problems if they don't. I think I would just tell her thank you for her concern but you've already been made aware of the situation and support his decision.
 

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Hey, I just have a second...cooking T-giving stuff, but I'm a K teacher and that sounds extremely odd to me. I can't imagine any K teacher I've worked with saying that. We worry if someone is excessively shy and passively sits off on their own. Then, she'd work w/the class on friendship skills, etc. But, your ds sounds like he alternates playing with and without them and is occupied when on his own.<br><br>
I wouldn't ask for a meeting w/she and ds but I would have a little meeting of your own to ask her WHY she is worried and to express why you are NOT.<br><br>
Sounds like she needs to teach some social skills; ie. class meetings and resolving conflicts creatively. Maybe she's clueless and doesn't see the dynamics; ie bullying, etc.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks for the feedback, everyone.<br><br>
In the school, as a whole, they have a Zero Tolerance Policy when it comes to bullying or fighting, but I'm just not sure how it breaks down in the classrooms.<br><br>
For example, the policy says they won't tolerate mocking or teasing or things like that, but when I went on a field trip in October for grades K-3, I heard an awful lot of unkind speech between the kids and saw no teacher step in to stop it. I think the main thing is, they don't tolerate actual physical contact, which is good, but they seem to be more lax on the verbal.<br><br>
I did talk to his teacher, at a parent teacher conference later on Wednesday, after I posted. She said her concern was that ds had been playing with the group of boys for weeks and after one disagreement, had kind of thrown the towel in. She said she'd like to see him resolve the conflict, and go back to playing with the boys.<br><br>
I said to her, I thought he did resolve things, by choosing to walk away and seperate himself. I pointed out that since that day he had played with the boys on and off, he had not completely ignored them. He's even played with the boy who was mean to him.<br><br>
So then, she said, he seems to always want to play with the train set, more than anything else. There's only two trains, so only two people can play with the trains. Ds is crazy about trains. He has been since he was very small. I know this.<br><br>
I explained to her that he loves trains the way most people love chocolate. I asked if he reacted negatively if someone asked to use a train, or take a turn. She said no, but that when he gave up the train, instead of moving on to another activity, he stayed by the table, even if there was no train to play with.<br><br>
So, I figured out that maybe it's not about the other boys or groups, it's about how he's obsessed with trains.<br><br>
I told her that I would talk to him about sharing, and doing something else so others could play with the trains, and that seemed to pacify her.<br><br>
I reiterated that I had told him he didn't have to play with someone who was rude or mean to him, and she kind of made a face but didn't say much. I do understand about solving conflict, but I'm not sure a five/six year old knows much more than either walking away or maybe crying or yelling or something like that.<br><br>
Over all, I feel kind of <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/headscratch.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="headscratch">.<br><br>
I talked to ds, and he said he does share, but he likes to stay by the train set because he wants to play with them again when the other person puts it down. This all makes sense to me, because he adores trains. At home, they are all he wants to play with.<br><br>
I told him he can like trains as much as he wants, for as long as he wants, he just has to remember to take turns and share. I suggested that if someone is playing with the train, to try to play with something else, even for two or three minutes, and not to just stand there, doing nothing. He said he'd do that, so I'm just going to let it go.<br><br>
I still am not completely sure what the teacher's real issue is, but I guess time will tell if we figured it out.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
<div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
<div class="smallfont" style="margin-bottom:2px;">Quote:</div>
<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;"><i>Originally posted by</i> <b>jannan</b><br>
my question is was the boy who was unfriendly to your ds dealt with by the teacher?</td>
</tr></table></div>
No. It seems like, to her, insults are nothing to get excited over. They're like a rite of passage, or something. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/irked.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="irked">:<br><br>
This boy has spent a lot of time in the corner or sitting at a table for cursing at and hitting other kids. I'm guessing she's rolling her eyes at my complaint that he's *only* telling my ds he laughs funny and doesn't wear underwear, considering what else he's done.<br><br>
I did fill out a survey, which the principal will read, where I voiced my displeasure at rudeness being acceptable.
 
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