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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have been having problems in school with my 6 yr old son. He's been hitting other kids, for no reason his teacher says, and she's starting to make me feel like it's a behavioral/phychological problem. He's spending lunch in detention today because he punched a little girl in the caf yesterday. I feel rotten about this, and partly think it's harsh for a 6 year old. But I don't know what I can do. I do know from direct observance of his class room in past years (pre-k and K also I frequently sat in on his preschool classes) that the teachers never catch the triggering behavior, just the reaction. Many many times I've observed another kid picking on my kid (or others picking on each other) and then when the reaction happens, a hit or slap or verbal reaction, that's what the teacher sees and of course, the kid that was picked on and reacted is the only one that gets punished. Last year, I actually switched schools for my son because one of his teachers had a grudge against him from day one and was always saying, "Oh, Brian doesn't know how to behave, he needs to go back to pre-k." As the year went on, my son started to have a problem with hitting one particular classmate. I knew there had to be something triggering it, so one morning I observed the class. Sure enough, that kid started taunting my son with "Do you want to go back to pre-k, Brian? Do you?" So he whacked her. But of course the teacher only ever saw my son's hitting.<br>
Another thing I'm very worried about is my son's habit of tuning people out and refusal to communicate sometimes. He watches alot of t.v. (or rather, movies on video). I'm worried that his brain is ruined, because he loves repeating lines and scenes from his favorite movies and sometimes doesn't want to stop that to talk about anything else. Many times he is perfectly lucid, having very mature intelligent conversations with me and others, and frequently I am amazed at his perceptions and opinions. But he's falling behind at school and I'm starting to feel like a bad mother. I've already decided to unplug the tv and only allow one movie on the weekends. Thankfully, he loves to play outside and that will help divert his attention away from his movies (I hope). I must say that many people who have observed him, including many of his teachers, say Brian is very bright. One friend of my mother's even said he exhibited some unusually intelligent behavior, for example, he has since he was very tiny, perceived objects by associating them with different geometrical shapes. Also, he knew the difference between a pentagon, hexagon, and octogon by age 4 (I think that's pretty cool!) He's also fascinated by music and memorizes songs and poems very easily.<br>
Are these other problems a big deal? Part of me is worried that he's going to get labelled as a trouble maker and of course the public school system will not praise his unusual non-mainstream talents. Please, mommas, send me some positive feedback!!
 

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Not to worry you, but some of this behavior...well, actually all of it, sounds remarkably similar to problems I've seen kids w/ autism spectrum disorders have. Maybe you should post this over in the Special Needs parenting area and see what the wise and experienced moms there say.<br>
In my experience, people like the lovely K teacher your son had last year are quick to label this as a behavior problem of aggression, rather than as part of the bigger picture. The child who doesn't read social cues appropriately is sometimes going to look aggressive in response to real or imagined slights...if your son is in fact dealing with this problem, you need to get help fast before the school s label him incorrectly.
 

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It does not sound like his problems at school are being dealt with effectively by his teachers. Does he ever hit at home? If so, how to you address it?<br><br>
My thought is that being punished with detention is creating increasing levels of frustration and rage within him, and he is not being shown any better way to act. So, it just keeps getting worse. As a parent, I take it every seriously when my child hits, but I work with him and talk with to get to the source of his feelings -- and I work with him on learning what to do *instead* of hitting. When you son is being picked on by another child, he needs to know how he can "fix" it without being violent. Has his teacher given him another option? Has she made a way for him to express his feelings more appropriately? By loudly telling the teasing child to "stop that," or by asking the teacher for help with the situation.
 

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When my older stepson was still living with his mother, he was the "problem" in his classroom. He didn't hit, but he licked and kissed and rolled on the floor and was generally a giant pain.<br><br>
Now he was having severe problems at home with his mom, which obviously was the major reason for his behavior, but you know, funny, he NEVER pulled this stuff on the weekends at my house. So I went to his classroom to observe, and I saw something very similar to what you're describing. The teachers weren't doing a damn thing to create an ordered environment, and the kids were running loose, but the kids who were more stable than my stepson had the skills to keep it just under the teachers' radar. It was my stepson who would finally take it far enough to get noticed, and then he would be the one to get in trouble.<br><br>
"You need to go back to pre-K" is a nasty way to put it, but it does sound to me like your son just isn't ready for the stress of the classroom. My stepson couldn't deal, at a much older age, because of issues at home, but your son is probably just on the emotionally younger side of normal. He can't deal because he's not ready to deal. That's no excuse for his being shamed by the teachers , by the way.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for your responses. I felt a chill go through me when I saw the first response from a mom that thought my son may have a type of autism.. I've been concerned for a couple of years about that because it seems that nowadays, just about any socially unacceptable behavior or "quirk" is a type of autism/asperger's disorder. I'm going to take my son to a counselor, both to see if there is indeed anything wrong with him, and to help him cope with a very ugly relationship his father and I have had (physical and emotional abuse, pathological lying, etc). My mother thinks his acting out at school is all related to that. (read my posts in single parenting to get a little history of my poor messed up family). Also, I didn't mention this in my original post, my son's quirky, acting out behavior seemed to really get bad after his dad kidnapped him (actually, it was a legal kidnapping.. story for another post) when he was 4 years old. He kept him away from me for 2 two week periods, with no warning or preparation. That was 2 summers ago, and since he came back, his personality has definitely been more volatile and troublesome. I have to say, as I've been able to tune his father's crazy behavior out and focus more on my kids, my son's outbursts at home are lessening. As for acting up at school, we'll see what the therapist suggests. I pray that he does not have a major psychological/developmental problem, but if he does, it's not the end of the world. No one said being a mommy was a picnic. Thanks again for all input.
 

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My first thoughts were that there's something going on for him that he doesn't know how to deal with and he's lashing out and it certainly doesn't help that his teacher & others have singled him out.<br><br>
It sounds like there's been a lot for him to deal with in his short life. I would encourage you to find some outlet for his emotions. If he finds a way to work through things or channel his energy otherwise, he will probably be less inclined to hit others, no matter what they say. I would also suggest really working with him on feeling safe & secure and also find some ways to try to help boost his confidence. In my experience, people who feel really great about themselves will not care as much what anyone else says or does. I think school can be really tough for kids that don't quite "fit it" because there can be some really cruel things happen.<br><br>
Maybe counselling will help, maybe other things. There may be a mentor program or someone that he might really respect that he could learn from or spend time with. I'm just throwing out ideas.<br><br>
I would stay as close to him (in an attached parent kind of way) and find solutions with him. If he figures out things he's good at & uses his strengths to feel good about himself, he may be able to deal with other things a lot better.<br><br>
I hope something I've said may be helpful. Peace & love to you both.
 

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A Mind at a Time by Melvin D. Levine, MD<br><br>
Reading your post reminded me of the descriptions in his book of the children he knows. His premise is that as adults we are expected to find our areas of expertise and work in these fields or styles. But children in our schools are supposed to be good at everything and when they experience challenges in one or more areas, they may begin to fail in others or become frustrated and experience behavioral problems that often lead to dropping out of school or worse.<br><br>
My ds is 3 and I can already see him demonstrating some incredibly wonderful things. And, there is other stuff about which he has NO interest in whatsoever.<br><br>
Dr. Levine goes into detail, describing the strategies he used to help students help themselves; it was facinating.<br><br>
I'm sure the experiences with his father have been difficult but children are also resilient and your love and interest in his happiness will make all the difference!<br><br>
Best wishes,<br>
Rebecca
 
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