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Please help! I don't know what to about 6 year old DD

(96 Posts)
CatWantsPeopleFood Tue 18-Sep-12 18:26:47

At home time today DD's teacher tells me that DD has been in trouble again at school. According to the teacher she scratched another girl's face at lunchtime, threw her own lunch on the floor, then kicked the head when taken to her office. No adult saw the scratching incident though and the girl had no marks on her face afterwards.

DD's version of events is slightly different. She says she was thirsty at lunch time but had finished her drink. So she decided to open her yoghurt to have a drink of that! The girl next to her then apparently started calling the dinner lady over because "she was going to tell" as she said DD wasn't allowed to do that. DD said she was worried about getting in trouble so put her hand up to the girls face (she does do this, it is her sign for stop) but she says she didn't scratch her.

DD says that she was then carried to the head's office. She said she didn't know that her dinner got thrown on the floor, or how it happened but she is definite she didn't do it. She did agree with me that it might have been knock by accident though. Anyway once at the head's office she said the head told her she was going to phone me. She said that she kicked the head to stop her from phoning. I didn't get any phone call from the head.

These kind of incidents have been happening at least once a week since DD was in reception. I don't know what to do about it anymore. DD knows that hurting people or throwing things is not appropriate behaviour. She doesn't do it at home, at anyone else's house, or at out of school clubs. She says she feels angry at school because the teachers don't listen to her/believe her. She also says she is sad because "everyone thinks I am a naughty girl"

I just don't understand what is going on. Teacher say they don't know either. I just want to help her, but don't know how.

sarahsal Tue 18-Sep-12 19:37:14

Sorry to hear that you and your daughter have had a bad day.

It sounds as if your DD has got into a negative spiral : she desperately wants to be `good` and when things go wrong she gets upset and frustrated and reacts with anger - she is angry with herself and school because she feels she has failed. Then the anger leads to worse behaviour . In other words she gets in a hole and keeps digging! Bless her!

If this has been going on since Reception I`m surprised that she is not on some sort of Behaviour Support plan. Has anything been put into place to address these problems?Have they escalated or are they getting any better?

I can think of strategies that might to help her but don`t want to go on at length if the school already has things in place.

wildpoppy Tue 18-Sep-12 19:45:07

I think you and the head and her teachers need to have a meeting where you explain all this and them agree that they and you will together talk to dd about a clean slate and starting again. Eg from tomorrow no one thinks you're naughty, so let's try really hard to keep it that way.

Failing that would a new class with a new teacher help?

I think the issue is exactly what your DD is telling you.

She isnt being listened to.

I would seriously object to a teacher carrying my DD anywhere. Especially at 6.

She is frustrated because she gets provoked, retaliates and then gets the blame when its all blown out of proportion.

My DD gets very het up if she feels she isnt being listened to.

CatWantsPeopleFood Tue 18-Sep-12 20:12:10

DD definitely wants to be 'good' at school. Every time something like this happens she knows she was in the wrong, says sorry and promises it won't happen again. i believe that she does truly mean that too. However there always seems to be a next time, sometimes just minutes later.

I don't know if she has anything called a Behaviour Support plan- I have spoken to all her teachers and the head numerous times and agreed to them trying various strategies to enable DD "to make the right choices" None of them seem to make any difference though.
In reception year if something happened during class time she would be sent to one of the older year's classrooms. This would usually cause her to start screaming so she would then be taken to another class where the same would happen. Eventually she would end up in the heads office where I would get called in. This sometimes happens now but mostly she is taken to the school's 'chill out' room instead. So far this term she has been in there every day.

Reward/sticker charts have also been used several times over the years. These are kind of effective at first but never work out in the long term. Since reception I have been told several times that they want an educational psychologist to see DD. As far as I know this has never happened. She does however see a counselor/play therapist once a week. This happens during literacy (DD's least favourite subject) and she gets to do art stuff (her favourite subject)with her. She has never misbehaved during these sessions. Also when they can spare one they try to put a TA working alongside DD in class. Her behaviour is usually a lot better when this happens.

DeWe Tue 18-Sep-12 20:18:04

I don't often say this but actually your dd's story rings true to me.
The problem is that when a child is perceived by their peers as "naughty" often their actions get exaggerated and assumed to be "naughty" by the peers. Maybe at another time a different child complained she had scratched her face (possibly doing the same thing) and so this child assumed she was trying to scratch her.

I remember dd2 in year 1 telling me a story how child X in her class had hurt someone by doing something "on purpose". At the end I pointed out child X couldn't have done it because he was in A&E, as I was with dc3. Dd2 said in a surprised voice "Actually I think it was Y... but X might have done it". hmm

Really if a child "scratches" enough to hurt there will be some sign, even if it's a slight reddening, on the face they tend to show very clearly.

I think you need to talk to the school at length without your dd present. Point out that she feels she's being labelled as naughty, and doesn't get a chance to tell her side of the story, perhaps calmly away from the other children (so they can't interrupt and say "that's not true"). By the sound of it she could also do with a quiet space to go when she feels overloaded too.

Is she signing for communication? I wasn't sure when you say she does the stop sign whether that is something she does because she's generally signing, or just something she chooses to do.
It may be worth asking the class teacher to tell the class that is a sign that means "stop" and, of course children, if someone asks us to stop it would be very naughty not to stop...

Are the other incidents similar to this where another child has said something to DD? Or how does she be naughty in the first place?

adoptmama Tue 18-Sep-12 20:21:17

I'm sorry but I have to question if your DD is being truthful with you. It seems highly unlikely to me that every other person's versions of events are not true and that your DDs version - in which she is the victim not the 'naughty girl' - is true. Your DD has clearly had a number of regular behaviour issues at school for quite some time. It is really unacceptable behaviour she is displaying and the longer it goes on the harder it will be to change. If the teacher says she saw her throw the food then I am afraid you most likely need to accept she did. Likewise she kicked a teacher - totally unacceptable. In a few years it will be called 'assault' and the teachers will be perfectly within their rights to press charges against your child.

Your DD is not accepting any responsibility for her behaviour - it is the fault of the other girl, the mysterious someone who knocked over the food and the head teacher; and your are essentially becoming part of the problem if you make excuses as to why it is not her fault. She clearly has some problems which need addressed - in terms of her social interactions with peers, her self control and her violence. I'm sorry if all this sounds very blunt and negative, but by your own admission she has weekly outbursts, she kicked a teacher, possibly scratched another child and has engaged in this type of behaviour for a considerable period of time. You need to help her, not make excuses for her.

If your daughter was out of control - and throwing her food suggests strongly she was - and carried to the head that is actually perfectly acceptable. It is acceptable as other children need to be kept safe, as do staff. Of course you do not know if she was carried - only your daughter said this and it would be very easy to find out if she was or wasn't as it would be witnessed by other adults/children. Regardless of whether she scratched this child - and they can be very 'hands on' at this age (and the fact that the other child was unmarked proves nothing one way or another) your daugher's reactions are very OTT for the situation she is facing and are obviously not accceptable in any environment. If she does not have these issues in other places, but only in school, then that is something that needs to be looked into; but not purely from the perspective of 'if it only happens in school, school must be causing it.' Not true - issues often show up first in school simply because it has very clear and consistent boundaries and expectations which some children struggle with.

I understand your desire to believe your child's version of events - noone wants to believe their child would behave in this way. But all the evidence tends to suggest she did. As teachers we do not go out of our way to label children - especially ones this young. Nor do we immediately believe one child over another or give them unsheddable bad reputations. As parents sometimes we support our children best when we call them on their actions - not when we blindly say we believe them in the face of all contrary evidence.

I strongly advise you to try to work with the school. They really do have your child's best interests at heart. Arrange a meeting. Listen to what they tell you. Try to establish triggers to her outbursts. Ask for help for her - from behaviour support, ed. psychologists - whoever they can offer. Find out what is going well and what is not. Look for strategies you can all apply to help your DD at school and in her relations with peers and teachers.

This thread has really struck a chord with me (probably because my DD seems similar although younger) and I mentioned it to DP.

He says he was labelled as "naughty" in school and on one occasion a girl accused him of stealing her lunchbox. It wasnt reported to the teacher until a few days later. The teacher phoned DPs parents to ask for it back.

He wasnt even at school the day it was taken. It was just presumed to be true.

Ineedalife Tue 18-Sep-12 20:48:25

If I were you I would be requesting a meeting with the HT and the Behaviour Coordinator who might also be the SENCO. I would be asking for an individual behaviour plan to be writtien and the targets be agreed with you and your Dd.

She needs to know that appropriate behaviour will be rewarded and that she will be listened to before anything will change.

Good lucksmile

CatWantsPeopleFood Tue 18-Sep-12 20:55:04

In case I gave that impression, I am not saying that DD didn't do anything wrong or that she is being unfairly blamed at all. I'm just asking for help so I can do something to try and stop this stuff happening.

adoptmama I'm not believing my DD over the teachers. I wrote about both their opinions because I think it's important to look at EVERYONE's viewpoint when trying to work out how to solve a situation. I have always worked with the school in the past and will continue to do so for as long as it takes. I'm not trying to blame anyone or make excuses for her behaviour. I consider it to be inappropriate which is why I am trying to find a way to end it.

The things I do belive about what happened today, and in general regarding DD's behaviour
-She did not/does not ever intend to hurt anyone. She is normally a very kind and gentle child, who gets upset if she sees anyone hurt or sad
-She is genuinely remorseful about what happened. She intensely dislikes her own behaviour during these incidents.
- She does truly believe that the teacher do not listen to. I am not saying that this is because they don't ( I am very sure that they do or at least try their hardest to) just that it is DD's own personal opinion that she does not feel listened to by them.

CatWantsPeopleFood Tue 18-Sep-12 21:14:46

Sorry, pressed post too soon

-She does appear to feel intensely either angry or very frightened which causes DD to behave this way. I have personally witnessed it a few times and this is also the opinion of other adults at the school, who have described it as almost similar to a toddler tantrum at times. BTW I am not saying it is an appropriate response to having those feelings (it isn't) or that it is in any way an excuse

-She does also understand that her behaviour isn't an appropriate response to her feelings. She does know what she should do in those situations. I have role-played stuff with her and she can tell you afterwards what she should have done, however she doesn't seem to be able to put this in to practise. From what I have seen its like she 'explodes' so quickly she doesn't even have time to think first.

LadySybildeChocolate Tue 18-Sep-12 21:25:17

It sounds to me as if this school isn't meeting your child's needs at all. She must be incredibly frustrated sad. They do label children, the one who struggles with social skills is seen as naughty, I could go on. I think you need to look for somewhere nurturing for her, a school which likes art and is creative. She'll thrive in the right environment, and it really doesn't sound like this is the right one.

Thats exactly what I first thought.

I really dont think she is naughty. I think its a cycle. An impulse, she begins to feel angry or scared and reacts before she can think.

Poor her sad I really hope between you and the school you can come up with a way to help her.

BTW I feel awful at the thought of her being carried. How awful it must be when shes in that panic and a teacher carries her off.

LadySybildeChocolate Tue 18-Sep-12 21:56:15

I didn't think that they were allowed to handle a child like that? sad

CatWantsPeopleFood Tue 18-Sep-12 22:01:13

I'm not really sure what to think about the carrying tbh. I agree that when she does 'explode' in these situations, she does need to be removed from the room. Like I said before it looks quite similar to a toddler tantrum, with her arms and legs going everywhere (she is usually stood up or sitting though not laying on the floor) also she starts screaming too sometimes. So I can see that just asking her to leave or taking her by the hand might not work or be possible so they just carry her instead. I guess they also do it because is is very small for a 6 year old (below the 0.2 centile) so it is quite easy to just pick her up and whisk her away.

But thats probably making the situation worse.

Yes she needs removed. But how would you feel if you got upset and someone picked you up and carried you off?

Just because she is a child doesnt mean its ok.

LadySybildeChocolate Tue 18-Sep-12 22:19:03

Is she 'exploding' because she doesn't know what's going on and she's panicking?

CatWantsPeopleFood Tue 18-Sep-12 22:39:56

I don't know and when asked DD does sometimes say she didn't know why she did it either. Other times, like today, she will say she was worried, scared, angry and sometimes it appears that it is in response to something else e.g. starting a new activity or stopping it or a combination of both like stopping art to start literacy. Its never one particular thing that is the trigger as far as the teachers or I can see.

I think theres a serious issue here in that the teachers have labelled her as naughty and have, because of that, totally overlooked the fact that she needs help. Whether it be with expressing herself or coping with change.

LadySybildeChocolate Tue 18-Sep-12 22:59:43

So she gets really upset when her routine is changed? What about her social skills? Does she run into a game, oblivious that she has to wait? Have problems with eye contact? Get a little obsessive about something she enjoys?

I think that you could do with asking MNHQ to move this into the special needs section, there's a lot of very knowledgeable parents in there who can offer you some help with this.

CatWantsPeopleFood Tue 18-Sep-12 23:20:56

I don't think the teacher's have labelled her naughty although they certainly don't think she is a perfectly behaved pupil (with good reason) either. I do think that a lot of the other children in the school, particularly those in her class, do think that and the 'removing her to another class' tactic didn't help with that in my opinion. i have on a few occasions heard older children refer to DD as 'naughty X' but i guess that is how they view her because of her behaviour and there is not a lot that can be done to change it really.

It is interesting that you say she needs help coping with change. I don't particularly like change myself and find it quite stressful but make sure that the DC are not aware of it. DD's younger brother is also very bad with changes. He will say very clearly though that it is bothering him whereas DD does not really say anything like that. e.g yesterday a brown fence we walk past going to school had been painted white. This upset DS so much he cried all the way home saying he 'missed the brown fence' DD was unaffected by that change but was bothered that her brother was upset so hugged him.

Anyway what i'm trying to say is that I do worry that maybe it is something I have passed on to my children. Also because of it I do try to keep things fairly routine and structured at home, talk about planned changes well in advance and use visuals and reminders for both of them. It could be that because she doesn't get those things at school also that leads to her bad behaviour sometimes?

Saying that though, I can't see anything about today's incident that was linked in any way to changes. I really don't know what to do for the best and it is starting to stress me out that I can't find a solution to the problem because I can't work out what is causing it. sad

LadySybildeChocolate Tue 18-Sep-12 23:28:53

My son has problems with social skills, he always has done. At primary school, all I would hear was 'ds has been naughty', even from the teachers, but most of the time they wouldn't be able to tell me what he'd done, and ds had no idea. Turns out all he was doing was asking the other children to play again and again in case they changed their minds. Mud sticks, sadly. Putting your hand over a child's face to stop them from speaking is crossing the line to be honest, it's invading their space. Usually children are aware of this 'boundary'.

Are there other issues with her behaviour? Does she like to play with the same things for example? Has a habit of repeating voices and phrases that she's heard off the TV?

My point about the naughty child thing is more that they arent worried enough about these tantrums. If they are liking them to toddler tantrums then surely that is an issue. I hope you see what I mean and dont think Im being harsh.

The thing about the other girl saying she wasnt allowed to eat the yoghurt really jumps out at me. I assume there was no reason that she shouldnt eat the yoghurt? But this girl was telling on her. She panicked. Thought she was in for a telling off and the whole cycle started.

DD has been told shes not allowed to play in her own garden by neighbours kids. And she believed them but wasnt happy about it at all. When I told her to ignore them she did for a while and then was back listening to their crap.

I dont think Im making much sense here. I just think, like LadySybile says, there might be an issue with social skills there that is being treated as bad behaviour.

CatWantsPeopleFood Wed 19-Sep-12 00:01:44

Yes putting her hand in the other girls face is invading their space. I have spoken to her (actually both DC) about this before as it is something they don't understand very well yet. I meant to explain earlier when another poster asked about her using hand signs, she does usually talk as well but not always when she is worried about something. I have explained that not everyone will understand them so she needs to use words instead and mostly she does. Its not any normal kind of signing anyway just something she invented herself when she was younger.

Also something that's hard to describe but DD has always 'looked with her hands' if that makes sense. She seems to need to touch any object she is looking at- sometimes this is dangerous e.g when she was watching me cut up cucumber and nearly got her fingers sliced too. So sometimes when she is talking to people she will try to touch their face or touch other parts of them or pull their clothing (adults mainly if they are not at eye level, with other children/adults at eye level it would be their face). She doesn't do it to hurt them and does it gently, but I have told her many times that it is something she shouldn't do. Oh and if she wants someone to look at something and they don't immediately see it, she doesn't point with her finger but will try to turn their head with her hands, so they look in the right direction. again I have told her it is not the right thing to do.

sorry I have written so much on here tonight, it is really helping me to think about all the things DD does that are not quite right and organise my thoughts. I don't really have any close friends in real life to talk these things through with which is why I am asking for help and advice on here.

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