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Hi parents, this is a bit long, so thank you in advance for reading. I need some advice regarding my son. He just started 1st grade here in Manila after 2 years of preschool in another school. He has had a bit of an adjustment period having to wake up earlier and also spending more hours in his new school now. I love this new school and in fact my older kid goes to the same and he is fine. The school isn't perfect but all in all, just great for us. Back to my son---the first days he had a bit of a hard time waking up and has had a few accidents in school (getting his hand stuck in the door, slipping in the canteen) stuff like that. But those things have been replaced by obedience issues that concern a classmate, let’s call him “classmate”. It seems like classmate and my son have been “partners in crime”, frequently getting into trouble not listening to their teacher, disrupting class by being noisy, and getting into fights together with other classmates. The school gives me reports about these incidents and I decided to have a talk with his teacher. I asked her to be honest with me and to tell me if it was my son or the classmate who starts these things. She told me without hesitation, “Mommy, it’s really the classmate”. Classmate as it turns out is an old student, and is known to be a troublemaker. In fact, teacher, who is new as well, said that she has been warned about the behavior of said classmate. My son seems to have bonded with this classmate and his fault is that he follows whatever this classmate tells him to do. I’ve been feeling a bit irritated towards the classmate’s parents, wondering if they have done anything to fix the problem from their end. I have never met them and don’t know who they are. Teacher is young and seems a bit overwhelmed to me, having to handle this issue and one of the biggest classes in the school. Well --- recently the incidents have been escalating, and we have been receiving a report nearly every single day. My son and classmate are having to visit the principals office so often it is ridiculous. At home, my son has been grounded, and we have had numerous talks with him regarding his behavior. I’ve been disheartened because the behavior continues in school. I finally spoke to the principal and have expressed my frustration with the situation and she promised me that the school would do something to deal with the classmate. At that point I was still irritated that classmate’s parents’ didn’t seem to be as concerned as I was until I found out that classmate apparently has no father present, and that his single mom has cancer. That really hit me hard. I suddenly just felt so sorry for the kid and understand now why he has these issues in school. I suddenly feel guilty about being irritated. I honestly don’t know what to do right now. I’m waiting for the school to get back to me as to their plans to solve this issue. They have promised to do that. I feel sorry for the classmate and his family, but at the same time, because this issue involves my son, I want to make sure it is solved. I’ve had to call his previous teachers from his old school for advice and for reassurance. I have been questioning myself as to whether I’m doing the right thing for my part with my son. Certainly at his old school, there were incidents where he misbehaved or didn’t listen, but it was never like this. His old teachers always told me (and have told me again) that my son is a good and sweet kid, and that occasional misbehavior was normal. In the end he finished with good grades, was loved in his old school by both his teachers and classmates. At home my son has rules and chores, and although as a spirited 6 year old, he sometimes complains about the rules and isn’t always an angel. But all in all, he is a good and loving child. Smart and funny and very creative. And very affectionate. In fact I almost feel like he turns into another child when he goes to school. I feel like I must sound like I’m defending him but of course I would do that because I know my son and I’m worried about this issue. I’m wondering if the school is doing enough or the right thing. But at the same time I’m also wondering if we are doing the right thing ourselves. What would you do?
 

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Bond with the other parent, if you can. This kid and your kid are friends now, but the other kid is having a negative impact on your child. Like it or not, this is now your problem, too. The other parent is more than likely having a tough time, the kid is having a very turbulent time as well. Step in and do what you can.

We have a similar situation with the neighborhood kids here. We live in a poor neighborhood and it seems that every child nearby either has neglectful parents, or divorced parents, or some other issue. Once my kids bond with some of them, I swap to "second mother" mode. Those kids get treated like my kids when they're here, or when I see them. Just having a place where they can go where things are halfway "normal" really seems to improve their behavior.

Your case is slightly different, the parent has cancer. Bond with both of them. Step in and help make a difference. This kid just needs a bit of steadiness in his life at a time where his whole world is a little off kilter. This poor kid, he's little and the world is big, and it's scary. If you can manage it, be the steady place that he needs in his life.
 

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I agree. Reach out to her, and invite the boy over to yours for playdates. It's no surprise that boy is behaving so badly, and if you can help his home life be better, it'll likely reflect in school.
 

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What ever is going on with the other child and his mother, your son is still making choices and is still responsible for his own behavior. I think that the attitude that its the other child's fault could hurt your son in the long run. They truth is that he is making choices. He has free will. He makes choices about who to talk to what to do.


I would talk to him before school every day about what his plan is for staying out of trouble. Help him brain storm solutions to typical situations. But put the responsibility for his choices VERY clearly on him.
 
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