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<p>Hi, I'm looking for help with how to handle this situation with my 5 yo. He got a note sent home about a month ago because he had pinched a classmate. I don't know the circumstances there.</p>
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<p>Today when I showed up for my usual volunteer time in his class the teacher pulled me aside to tell me he'd been in trouble twice today. Once for pinching the same classmate because the kid pushed the 'on' button on the tape recorder when my son wanted to do it, and then again because he kneed same classmate in the forehead on the playground. Both times he left a mark. According to my son he said the knee to the forehead was an accident, and that it happened after he was pushed down by some other boys and he was trying to get up (while I don't believe everything my son says, this makes sense since it is pretty hard to purposely knee someone in the forehead unless you are both down).</p>
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<p>In my one hour per week in his classroom I have not noticed a problem between this classmate and him or anyone else, so it's hard for me to say why it's this particular kid unless its coincidence.</p>
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<p>So, the teacher said she went over modeling behavior with him, what he should say or do when these situations happen. I think there should be more consequences though since this is the 2nd note sent home this month (and 2nd and 3rd incident).</p>
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<p>I want to have a consequence (punishment) at home, and I also want to let him know right now what the consequence will be if there is another note sent home. What would you say?</p>
 

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<p>I really suggest just reinforcing what the teacher said by also talking to him about the expectation and how to handle being frustrated with a fellow classmate.  I actually went the stern talk and consequence route when my dd was testing boundaries at the beginning of school, it was very embarassing to have the child with the naughty note daily, and it didn't work at all.  She kept doing things that got her in trouble and she would cry a lot if she got in trouble because the way I was going to react worried her.  I stopped and returned to our usual reinforcing what the teachers expectations are talk and letting the subject drop and she had a complete turn around in her behavior quickly.  It is hard not to let yourself throw out your parenting style when your child acts up and embarasses you, but all children act up sometimes and it doesn't mean you need to change anything.  If this was a cycle of hurting others then I would say that you may need to consider changing things, two pinches in a month (or even in the same isolated week) don't indicate a cycle. </p>
 

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<p>I guess I would follow up with a punishment at home as well.  I am struggling with a biting baby and I absolutely hate violence, so this is a sore spot with me right now.  No tv, no dessert, no toys for a day, something along those lines?  While I totally agree with talking about it, I think a kindergartener is old enough for real consequences.  My mom always told us that going to school and acting well/doing well while there were our "jobs" just like she had a job.  The consequences for trouble at school were serious too, I learned quick.</p>
 

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<p>i'm not sure, but i know my ds has a really hard time keeping his emotions in check, and school can be a really rough place for him sometimes. not rough physically, but he comes home just drained emotionally.</p>
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<p>i have a hard time seeing your ds remembering that he won't get desert if he pinches another kid at school. it's hours away, and not likely to stop the impulse.</p>
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<p>i mean, it'd be hard for me to stop my impulse to do something, like eat lunch out, because i know i have food at home and i'll get home before i get _really_ hungry.</p>
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<p>i don't really think i'd do more than briefly talk with him about the expectations for school, how he would feel if someone pinched him in that situation, and ways that he feels he can handle it better next time.</p>
 

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<p>I like the modelling approach and giving alternatives like "instead of pinching what could you have said?"</p>
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<p>But you asked about consequences. Although I'm not a huge fan of behaviour modification, I do think that when the incident at school and any discussion of it at home are by nature so far apart, you might have to resort to it.</p>
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<p>So...rather than punishing him I think I'd start a chart at home and ask the teacher to send a note home or email every time there's an incident (or if she's willing, every day). Then I think I'd have stickers for every day there is NO pinching, etc., and at a certain point there's a reward - possibly time out with you or dad having a good time, like going out for ice cream. I'd explain to him that it's to help him remember.</p>
 

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<p>When kids make mistakes, it's an opportunity to learn.  I would work on perspective taking ("How would you feel if a child at school pinched you?...How do you think Bobby felt?").  Also, perspective taking and natural consequences:  "So, did Bobby want to play with you after you pinched him?  Hmmm.  I guess pinching isn't a good way to make or keep friends."  Reflecting on his feelings and what happened so he can start learning new strategies when he feels that way in the future: "What was happening this morning?  How was that? Oh, you were feeling frustrated because the other kids weren't taking turns?  That sounds annoying!" (then offer a suitable strategy, or a rule).  You can also discuss that it's hard for all of the kids to control their own impulses (hitting the on switch is something all the kids would probably like to do), and what role can he play?  What would have happened if he let Bobby hit the on switch?  Could he do it next time, or could he claim firsts on the next exciting thing?</p>
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<p>Punishment is a pretty blunt instrument for these sorts of things - the child gets that he did something unapproved of, but he may not really get what it was, and he doesn't have any strategies to employ next time - and there will be a next time.  This is totally normal group-of-kids stuff.</p>
 

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<div>Punishment is a pretty blunt instrument for these sorts of things - the child gets that he did something unapproved of, but he may not really get what it was, and he doesn't have any strategies to employ next time - and there will be a next time.  This is totally normal group-of-kids stuff.</div>
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<p>I agree. I do not see the point of imposing a random punishment at home for school related behavior. You were not there and you don't know what happened. All the teacher knows is that your son resorted to physical aggression with the same kid, twice. You don't know what prompted this, or what was behind it. I would be very slow to make any assumptions that led me to imposing punishments.</p>
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<p>I would focus on the fact that your son needs to develop his coping skills with this kid. Reinforce the rules ie "no hitting, no physical hurting" and then role play what he should do instead. Give him words to use, and develop a conversation about this with him that is ongoing. My own son was very helped by this kind of talking when it was done during good moments. He also benefited from reminders right before and reflection right after. So when you drop him off for school you could ask 'What is the rule?" and he knows to say "use words, not hands" and then after school ask him how it went.</p>
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<p>It is normal for kids of 5 years old to learn how to rely on words rather than pinching or shoving to deal with a kid they don't like at school. I think home should be a place to reinforce these skills, and not just a place where you get punished because you made mistakes in your day at school.</p>
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<p>I understand that kids are learning and it is our job to teach them, but I do think it is fair to compare this to work if it gives insight. If I slack off at work and wind up being sent home for the day, it isn't going to help me if my husband refuses to make dinner and tells me to fend for myself as punishment. All that does is add to my problems. It doesn't help me resolve the problem at work. It would be a lot more helpful if my husband asked me why I slacked off, and brainstormed ways to do better in the future, wouldn't it?</p>
 
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