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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all,

I had really tapped into this group for the past year when my preschooler started school and we had a whole lot of issues - huge tantrums, boredom, talking about death, and also disturbing behaviours like picking his nails until they bled and constantly hitting himself on the head.

I just want to say that he's been out of school for three weeks, and everything is almost back to normal.
He's singing and drawing a lot again. He's sweet and loving again. He's polite and helpful again. Earlier in the week, it suddenly struck me that he has stopped picking his nails and is no longer hitting himself. Amazing, amazing!! From growling "Leave me alone!" and "I don't want to talk about it, OKAY?!" to multiple "I love you! I just can't stop saying it!" everyday, the transformation is astounding. He's still grinding his teeth but to a much lesser degree now. No complaints, can't ask for more. He has been more creative in the past few weeks than he had in the past six months.

Interestingly, he now wants me to put him back to school next year for two days a week just so he can play with his best friend and use the playground. This is not an option and I offered to let him try another school instead, to which he then declares he would rather homeschool (no surprises, he doesn't like change.)

But it leaves me wondering what exactly it was about school that left him in such disequilibrium. While the work was boring for him, surely it couldn't have induced such anger / stress-symptons? If it were the other kids (and there was some bullying and he did feel some alienation), he wouldn't have asked to go back to school, would he?

I'm wondering now what would be the best to do for his next school year. I'm prepared to homeschool him, but at the same time, I am open to preschool if that is what he wants and if we can find one that he thrives in. (can't go through another year of the same!)

Do you think it's worth getting an educational psychologist to do a profiling for him at this age? He does seem too young for it (4 +), but I'm feeling rather clueless.
 

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First, let me say congrats that your DS is doing so well. Sounds like he is healing from a traumatic experience, and very beautifully.
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Originally Posted by deminc View Post
But it leaves me wondering what exactly it was about school that left him in such disequilibrium. While the work was boring for him, surely it couldn't have induced such anger / stress-symptons? If it were the other kids (and there was some bullying and he did feel some alienation), he wouldn't have asked to go back to school, would he?
As a kid, I was a bully target, so I will address this specifically. There is a lot of shame, humiliation, isolation, powerlessness and stress that goes with being picked on. Kids often do not express the full extent of the bullying, and when they do, not in concrete terms. "So-and-so pulled my pants down while everyone else watched on and laughed; so and so put dog poo in my hat or kicked me until I tripped" is not going to be expressed. It forces the victim to relive the experience, and to be humiliated again in front of their own parent. Plus they feel incompetent for not having been able to prevent the incident. Instead, they might say "I don't want to go to school today because I don't feel well, I have a stomach ache, so and so teased me...." The first list you would take very seriously. But the way it is often expressed, the second list, doesn't sound like much to worry about.

I'd wait more than 3 weeks to bring up school for next year. It may still be too soon, too raw, too painful. Let him enjoy NOW.

Trust takes a while to rebuild. Can you involve him in some school activities, where he can see that not all kids will ignore or treat him poorly? Maybe play dates? Maybe join an after school activity or sport that takes place at a school? If/when you look at some schools, involve your son in the process, so he can see what it is about. Also look at how you can introduce the idea that not all schools are so awful, that the ones you both are looking at are much different than the one he was at. Can you do role-playing with him? This might give him some tools to combat future problems. It may also allow him to him express more concretely the problems he had at school, and/or any fears or anxieties he might have about going to a new school.
 

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If you have a lot of homeschoolers around, you will find a LOT of things that will probably be plenty of school for him. Individual classes, park day on the same day/time with the same kids every week. Sign him up for gymnastics, dance, set up regular swimming playdates ... we spend tons of time out of the house with friendly people.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by deminc View Post

But it leaves me wondering what exactly it was about school that left him in such disequilibrium. While the work was boring for him, surely it couldn't have induced such anger / stress-symptons? If it were the other kids (and there was some bullying and he did feel some alienation), he wouldn't have asked to go back to school, would he?

Please don't underestimate that boring work can be very painful for some kids - some kids absolutely need intellectual stimulation to thrive. Many adults have stress & anger issues with unfulfilling jobs - and for a child in school, school is their job.

I also want to add that a hidden learning disability can also be a source of anger/anxiety and stress. I'm not sure if you have reason to suspect anything is amiss in this area, but I wanted to throw it out for consideration. Many gifted children are very good at compensating at high levels with great effort which can be very taxing emotionally.

As for why would a child want to go back into a situation that caused so much anxiety? I'm not really sure, but I can tell you that my when my ds had an especially bad day in K, he would ask if he could re-do the day *right then* when I picked him up. He told me that he wanted to make that day better and didn't want to wait until the next day. Of course, he never got the opportunity to do this, but I was always amazed that he would ask to go right back into the fire.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
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Originally Posted by LauraLoo View Post
Please don't underestimate that boring work can be very painful for some kids - some kids absolutely need intellectual stimulation to thrive. Many adults have stress & anger issues with unfulfilling jobs - and for a child in school, school is their job.

I also want to add that a hidden learning disability can also be a source of anger/anxiety and stress. I'm not sure if you have reason to suspect anything is amiss in this area, but I wanted to throw it out for consideration. Many gifted children are very good at compensating at high levels with great effort which can be very taxing emotionally.

As for why would a child want to go back into a situation that caused so much anxiety? I'm not really sure, but I can tell you that my when my ds had an especially bad day in K, he would ask if he could re-do the day *right then* when I picked him up. He told me that he wanted to make that day better and didn't want to wait until the next day. Of course, he never got the opportunity to do this, but I was always amazed that he would ask to go right back into the fire.
That's a lot of food for thought, thank you. Couple of days ago I asked him what it was like what he had to do the same thing over and over again and he was pretty growly just at the thought of it! Then he paused and said - "But I didn't complain mum. I tried my best." I must say I didn't give it much thought until I read your post re adults and boring jobs.

Learning - I am wondering if he has mild dyslexia but it's a little young to tell right now. He sometimes decode words from the opposite direction. One more thing to consider.

going back into the fire - hmm...more to puzzle over. Would that be like him wanting to die and start life all over again?! Perfectionism to the extreme...?
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
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Originally Posted by pigpokey View Post
If you have a lot of homeschoolers around, you will find a LOT of things that will probably be plenty of school for him. Individual classes, park day on the same day/time with the same kids every week. Sign him up for gymnastics, dance, set up regular swimming playdates ... we spend tons of time out of the house with friendly people.
Yes, we are sort of taking this route now, and I must say he's doing very well with us doing lessons at a much faster pace at home, extended playtime with friendly kids, and at the same time, alternate quiet days at home for him to unwind. That's why it was baffling that he asked to go back to school next year. Perhaps as what LauraLoo suggested, he wants to go back and face whatever was bothering him and if that's the case, I don't want to deny him that chance ... if I think he's ready that is. But I haven't yet figure out what it is exactly!
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
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Originally Posted by AllisonR View Post
First, let me say congrats that your DS is doing so well. Sounds like he is healing from a traumatic experience, and very beautifully.
:...

I'd wait more than 3 weeks to bring up school for next year. It may still be too soon, too raw, too painful. Let him enjoy NOW.

... It may also allow him to him express more concretely the problems he had at school, and/or any fears or anxieties he might have about going to a new school.
Yes, he's so much better now, I'm so very grateful to have my child back, kwim. Thank you so much for sharing your experiences, painful as they must have been. I must admit bullying is so foreign to me and DH, we just can't imagine it. But what you said about feeling ashamed was exactly what DS expressed to me one night!! He couldn't bring himself to say it, so I asked him if he felt ashamed when he has difficulties in school and he nodded slowly, looking down. I didn't want to before - it's such a difficult emotion even for an adult - but that night he opened up about feeling alienated in school. I had a sleepless night that night. After we explained certain things to him, he was more cheerful in the subsequent weeks, and even said "it's ok mum, I can handle it." I've tried hard to hide my own anxieties, so I hope he wasn't saying it for me!

It's a good idea to give him more space and time to process the year. I think unless he raises the topic again, I'll leave it.
 

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Originally Posted by deminc View Post
going back into the fire - hmm...more to puzzle over. Would that be like him wanting to die and start life all over again?! Perfectionism to the extreme...?
Hmmm..... ds does have strong perfectionistic tendencies, so maybe that was part of it back then. He also didn't like to disappoint anyone, so that could have been some of it, too. Sometimes I think that he didn't know that there might have been another option -- like he HAD to go to school and everyone else went to school. I also think that there were parts of school that he truly enjoyed. Maybe he was just trying to work out a system where he could bear the parts he hated, and then he could enjoy the parts he liked. Not really sure, and I'm not sure if I'll ever figure this part out.
 

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DS doesn't do well in classroom environmnents. He used to cry every day after school and had lots of bad tempers. BUT - there were many occasions when he wanted to go back. He liked the idea of school, and thought it was what kids do. He likes being around other kids, and wanted to have the good parts of school, slim though they may have been for him. By January of kindie, he'd really started to decide that school sucked.

When he was just shy of 5, due to start kindie, I put him in a week-long summer camp. It was horrible, the teacher was pretty awful and had no idea how to deal with him. He insisted on going back each day; day 5 I insisted he not attend and gave him a better alternative. I was upset, confused and worried. I just didn't understand how it could be so hard and how environments couldn't accomodate him. We're happily HSing now.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
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Originally Posted by LauraLoo View Post
Not really sure, and I'm not sure if I'll ever figure this part out.
exactly what I was thinking.
And being exhausted after a day of cleaning up the house, I'm inclined to think - I'll just stick to whatever seems to be working, never mind the whys and the hows!
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
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Originally Posted by joensally View Post
DS doesn't do well in classroom environmnents. He used to cry every day after school and had lots of bad tempers. BUT - there were many occasions when he wanted to go back. He liked the idea of school, and thought it was what kids do. He likes being around other kids, and wanted to have the good parts of school, slim though they may have been for him. By January of kindie, he'd really started to decide that school sucked.

When he was just shy of 5, due to start kindie, I put him in a week-long summer camp. It was horrible, the teacher was pretty awful and had no idea how to deal with him. He insisted on going back each day; day 5 I insisted he not attend and gave him a better alternative. I was upset, confused and worried. I just didn't understand how it could be so hard and how environments couldn't accomodate him. We're happily HSing now.
I wouldn't wish it on anyone else, but I sure am glad to know I'm not the only one who went through all that emotional roller coaster! Like you, I just couldn't understand why the teachers can't just be a little more flexible!? It's not as if they have to write an entire curriculum for these kids, kwim?
 
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