Behavior Problems in pre-k/kindergarden

Gina - posted on 04/10/2010 ( 24 moms have responded )

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My child is 5 but too young for Kindergarten. He is in a pre-k program in my district and having some behavior problems already. Although he is very young, I think we will have some problems in the future with possibly ADHD as his father has always had it in its severity and our child is already behaving just like him in many ways. I feel like there is a higher expectation on my son because I am a teacher, so I'm not sure what to do to help him with his discipline problems at school. Any feedback would be MUCH appreciated.

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Stacey - posted on 04/24/2010

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I am a parent of three and a pre-kindergarten teacher. I have a total of 22 plus teaching years experience,dually certified in E.C.E. and special education. It is and was your responsibility to have prepared your son to transition over into the structured school setting. My questions to you are:
1. What are you disciplinary techniques,strategies, behavior modifications and/or philosophy with regards to disciplining a four year old student? Corporal punishment is not allowed in the public schools and some children are just not prepared or ready for a structured school setting.
2.Has your son been officially identified with ADHD or have you spoken it to him so often as to excuse his inappropriate behaviors that he 'acts out' because of your expectations? --Sometimes speaking statements over a child or looking for excuses because of poor parenting or the lack of structured limits can cause children to act a certain way. ADHD is not a genetic condition transferred from parent(s) to children.
3.What are the teachers qualifications and how many students are in the class? --Sometimes inexperienced teachers(3 or less years)have yet to establish a sound disciplinary approach,not because of the lack of training,but just their inexperience alone. And large class sizes(20 or more) for ECE classes can affect the overall quality education and management of students especially if a few students have disciplinary concerns.
I have attempted to share questions and statements from both perspectives, so that you and your son's teachers can exhaust all areas and establish a developmentally appropriate and reasonable plan that all parties are responsible for fulfilling. The educators job is to teach,not discipline !!!!

Pamela - posted on 04/19/2010

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Can i just say that you should be proud of yourself for seeing the possible problems now and working towards help than not doing anything at all!!!! That your skills as a teacher has helped you to see something that most mothers can not or will not untill there child is at school and the teacher see the problems.

And As all the others have said talk to your doctors, the pre school etc work on the unwanted behaviour at home and work with the pre school with them at the school. I also believe that food is a factor with children behaviour look at what you eat and cut out all takeaway - try making your own and take out all additives in the food you buy. Additive Alert is a great web site to start you off if you feel you want to give it a try or even to look at and read.

My son also has had problems since he was 2years and all this has greatly help me and my family. I wish all the best of luck!

Kendra - posted on 04/17/2010

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Gina I had exactly yoru same problem. My son just turned 5 this past month. His behavior in the last 2 years has gotten much worse to the point that I have seen him become very unfocused and a behavior-wise - lets just say he has given his teacher a few memorable moments. I work in the building that my son attends school - so I understand the whole expectation thing. I do think there is a stigmata that teacher's kids should be well behaved and smart...and because we are both in the same building I feel that he can "embarrass" me sometimes because of his actions.
He is also diagnosed with a learning disability (diagnosed last year when he was 4 - language.) I talked to his pediatrician with my concerns and we went to a psychological development center in order to get answers.
Since then he has been given the diagnosis, and has medication that has helped him greatly. He has since been on a consistent basis been having "green days" at school and I have noticed a dramatic difference in his behavior at home. He is able to focus more and is doing so much better when it comes to what he needs to learn in the classroom.
I was afraid that I would be doing this too early - I am glad that I trusted my instincts and got my son the help he needed to be more successful. Yeah it is early, but he loves school now, and has a better relationship with his classmates, teacher, and with us.

Good luck in your search for answers, but I think talking with your son's pediatrician is the best way to go.

Melody - posted on 04/14/2010

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My son was diagnosed as ADD. Definitely get a referral from your pediatrician if you're concerned; it does tend to run in families. Oddly, the best thing we did for our son during those early years was putting him into karate lessons. Karate REALLY gave him some calming-down skills, as well as putting him in control of his behavior!

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MIchelle - posted on 05/27/2013

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My 4 yr old son has always been aggressive. My son is also very big for his age(86lbs right now and 44inches). When he was 2 and we would take him out other parents would leave. No one would come to his birthday parties or have more than 1 playdate. We worked really hard with his behavior. We finally got him socialised to the point where at 4 we decided he may be ready for preschool. He didn't do well to say the least. The last day he was there he destroyed the room, beat up his teacher, and all of the kids were still crying for their moms when I arrived. I don't always know what sets him off but once set off it's like the incredible hulk. A little more backround he has a brother that is 7 yrs older and has ADHD. His older brother also big for his age was gentle so this is something new to me. The aggression however seems to be spreading to the older one and the hyperness spreading to the 4 yr old. I am afraid now that time has run out for the 4 year old. August 13th he will start kindergarten. I'm scared that he will be labled if we cannot control his behavior. I don't know what to do.

Michelle - posted on 12/23/2011

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I think you should make sure that he is receiving support at school and at home. Maybe you should try a behavior plan with 3 specific goals and rewards set in place for accomplishing them. This way you can identify patterns in behavior and strategies that may be helpful.

Mapplelean - posted on 12/13/2011

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My son is 4 and is a young 4. He just turned 4 in September. He is experiencing some major problems in Pre-K. His first teacher man handled him and he had to be removed from her class because she has no discipline management skills. He learned how to hit, punch, bite and kick other students from other students. He was exposed to this type of lack of control for 3 months. He watched another little girl in his classroom slap their teacher twice, okay. He has been removed and placed in a kinder class. He has been throwing things, hitting students, ripping things off the walls, just out of control because he was allowed to do this in the earlier pre-k class. I think the other teachers expected him to be a perfect student when they got him because he was my kid. I had to finally sit down with the kinder teachers and explain to them that he is merely a normal little child. He will do whatever they allow him. He needs discipline and structure and that he is not use to it. I told them also, that they need to stand up to him and show them that there are consequences to his actions and other student actions. I told them that he needs to see that they are in control and that I, mommy, will support whatever the teachers decides. Once they began to limit him according to his behavior he began to notice that hey, they are serious. He had a fantastic day today. They had to ride him all day but he got to see that things are much more enjoyable with the good consequences. He saw that I am on the side of the teacher and that I will not be coming to his class during the day, but I will read his behavior folder from the teacher and I will back up whatever she decided his behavior warranted that day, good or bad consequences. I hope this was a help because I have been on an emotional roller coaster with this past teacher and her abuse of my son, to his sudden lack of control and behavior issues stemming from the lack of control he learned in his time spent ever in a classroom with a supposed teacher.

Stacy - posted on 11/20/2011

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If you are concerned, I would check with your pediatrician. As preschool teacher for the past 15 years, I have noticed that boys tend to do well in sports or karate. This gives him an outlet but will also teach him self-control. Also, be totally honest with his teacher. Let the teacher know how you feel and he/she may have suggestions as well. I hope this helps.

Trudy - posted on 11/17/2011

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i have a 4 year old daughter that she is good as gold when she wants to be then other times oh my its like a total different kid she scream and yells at us especially when we tell her no ,, family is scareing me by telling me that people are not going to like her because of how she acts . shes good tho when she wants to be and for the most part she is very polite and knows to behave in public her and my husband (her dad) and her really but heads i think its because they act so much alike i don;t know what to do any advice would be appreciated

Sheena - posted on 11/11/2011

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kids LIKE YOURS AND MY FIVE year old really needs attention; & more involvement or dedication to what they enjoy most (painting & puzzles for instance)***I DOUBT IF I AM WRONG

Elizabeth - posted on 06/07/2010

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Don't put so much pressure on yourself. As a teacher myself it is unfortunately assumed that OUR children should be the brightest, most well-behaved, well adjusted individuals on planet EARTH!! Whoever came up with such nonsense...kids will be kids regardless of who their mommy and daddy happen to me. They will make mistakes, they will struggle, they may not always be on their best behavior. Such is life and that's why it's called parenting. If anyone expects more from a teacher's child, ask them.."which handbook did they find such a ridiculous theory!" That will quiet them down. As a teacher myself, I refuse to place that pressure on myself or onto my children because its just not fair to either of us.

Robyn - posted on 05/27/2010

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i know how you feel. my son also has adhd. hes going in the2nd grade this year. the best thing i suggest that you do is to go and have him tested. the sooner that you find out the better off you and your son will be. because atleast you will know what you need to do to fix it. its haard trust me. when my son has a "meltdown" it tears me up inside. but i never let him see how bad it hurts me. i always wait till im alone then i melt myself. it takes patience to deal with a child that has adhd. and if you dont have it now believe me youll find it quick.

Erin - posted on 05/26/2010

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My son is ADHD and he had a lot of problems in Pre-school and grade Primary! I am an Early Childhood Educator and have studied all about ADHD! I diagnoses can not be made before age 6 and you have to fill out a form about home and the Teacher will have to fill one out to! If you would like you could let me know all the types of Behavior he has and I could tell you if he could be ADHD; there has to be a certain amount in each catagory to be given an ADHD diagnoses!

Janet - posted on 05/02/2010

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I have a 6 year old with a diagnosis of ADHD - first thing psychologist and teachers wanted was medication. I said NO. I went to a naturopath doctor and had some blood work sent away. It was looking for food sensitivities on a scale of 1 to 5. I eliminate what I could including cows milk and dairy. From past experiences, we also eliminate red and blue dyes. But from what I have read, yellow dye is just as bad. My son even says, "I can't have the blue gummies - they make me crazy" We eat more organic foods now and I have seen a difference in the last 3 months. He has a special chart to track his behaviour/impulsivity at school and most weeks are great.

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After reading the posts, I remembered what helped my son! Of all the things, red dye in food and drink products made him extremely out of control. It is not easy, but try to cut out anything that has read dye (and you would be surprised as to what has red dye in it!) Caffeine, oddly enough, would calm him (so, he could have Mountain Dew, but not red Kool-aid; go figure!) If I can remember anything else we specifically did with him I will post it. For the record, he is now in his first year of college, and he is an Eagle Scout, so there is hope for your child LOL!

[deleted account]

I teach preschool and what I found to work in my classroom is 'the coin system' as we have come to call it. Everyone gets a coin when they are 'following the rules' (hanging up thier own coats, asking to be excused from the table, sharing with their friends, etc.) The flip side (after they are used to the reward for 'doing the right thing') is that they have to pay a 'fine' for breaking a rule. Once a week we count our coins and the children can turn them in for something from the 'treasure box' (little things like stickers). To be honest, I was surprised how well it worked; I started using this system out of frustration with a child who was severely emotionally disturbed. Eventually they forget about getting coins and just follow the routine. Maybe keeping a chart at home and putting stickers on it for each day he "listens to his teacher" would help.
Don't worry about people having higher expectations for your son because his mother is a teacher - it is hard to teach your own children because you are so close to the situation. Just worry about being "Mom", not "SuperTeacherMom". (My own son was a terror in preschool; I think his teacher deserves a crown and a bouquet of roses LOL!)

Kara - posted on 04/25/2010

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As a kindergarten teacher who also has a son the same age-I understand the pressure being put upon you. Parents, and other educators expect that since you are a teacher you should have all the answers, it can be frustrating. The best advice I can give you is to be really consistent, set up a routine and have clear rules and consequences for unwanted behavior. In my class this year i have a few kidos who fit your son's description-and the families who are consistent are seeing much improvment in their child's behavior. Find some creative outlets for his energy can be helpful too. Be just be consistent!

Kathie - posted on 04/23/2010

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i am a pre-k teacher and its hard as a parent to want your child to be perfect....but quess what, their not. And you are not either. And our children are not angels. But it is important that the parent and teacher have a close relationship. They need to work together on all behavior problems. If the teacher is strick and the parent is weak than the circle has been broken.sorry i am writing this at naptime...This works with the parents and how they handle their child.ADHD becareful with that one...dont always think they have this. Because children are children. Sometimes its easy to just label them and give them a pill.This has gone one for many years.But if the child is ADHD then your doctor will treat it. I also had a husband and two children with it. So i can speak from exprience.

Jeanette - posted on 04/22/2010

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Hi I'm Jeanette I've been a pre k teacher for 20 years only at that age. Love them! My son also is 14 yrs old. I will tell you now my spelling is realy bad. sorry. I do agree with a lot of what the other ladys are saying. Exspationly the food additives. I just use a positve reinforment smile face creat in my class and have find it works better then time out. But every child if different and you should look up the different types of behaviou mafitis. Good luck and try to not yell. I no its hard....

Delora - posted on 04/18/2010

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I teach school as well and I think in many ways we put extra pressure on our own kids. I know I do. I deal with 20 second graders all day long without losing patience, but at home with my 2 yr old and 5 month old, sometimes I want to run, hide and cry in a corner. You know like I do that it is too early to diagnose him as ADHD it may be just being a 5 yr old boy. It's good that you are aware that his father dealt with ADHD and you are watching your son closely for symptoms. Talk to the pre-K teachers to see what they think. Even though he isn't diagnosed as ADHD that doesn't stop you from using those methods to help your child. Be consistent and come up with a plan that you can use at home and his teachers can use at school. The pressure that you feel on your child is probably coming more from you and knowing that when your child misbehaves at school, it reflects on you, but children are children no matter who their parent is. Relax, love and parent your child the best that you can and brush off the pressure. It will make you less patient when dealing with him because you will want immediate change and you know any behavior modification isn't going to give you instant results. Research behavior modifications used with children with ADHD find something that you can try and stick with it. Get everyone involved in your child's life on board and if you truly think it is ADHD then talk with his pediatrician and get rolling on doing the observation forms.

Jennifer - posted on 04/14/2010

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Gina,
Are people putting the high expectation on you or are you doing it to yourself? Something to think about. I ask because I work with special needs and I have more patience with special needs than my own kids and at times I feel bad and think if I can have patience with my students who have autism, CP, downs syndrome and many others needs why am I so impatient with those kids who do not have any special needs.

I think you are coming down to hard on yourself, have you had your child evaluated? Maybe alot of it is his age as well?Just some questions to think about. Just because we are teachers does not mean we are perfect or our kids will be perfect, I feel people forget that.

Rebecca - posted on 04/13/2010

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I would visit a paediatrician and get a definite diagnosis. Then you can work from there instead of wondering or second guessing. Also, remember that children learn by example so watching his dad behave in this way may have had a greater influence on him than you thought. Finally, just because you are a teacher doesn't mean you have all the answers! Good luck:)

Shawna - posted on 04/12/2010

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Even though there is a possibility of your son having ADHD, you shouldn't be so quick to label him yet. 5 year olds have a lot to rebel against and they will, if they can. I think you should create well-communicated boundaries, taking a couple of sentences to explain the boundary in a positive way. For example, he can only play outside if an adult is with him. Explain that this is to keep him safe. Often, children need consistency--especially in the way adults create rules (or boundaries) and how they react to misbehavior.



Who do you think is putting the high expectation on him? You or his pre-k teachers? If its them, you need to sit down and talk to them to make sure you're all on the same page with what he should be doing and what he is doing currently. Are they trying to be too nice and not being firm with him? Are you? It will take a lot of communication between you (his parents) and the teachers, but finding the middle ground and making sure he knows you're all a team may eliminate some behavior issues at school.



For some reason, people believe that teachers will automatically know how to parent, but there is a huge difference between teaching and parenting. The good thing is that you've been armed through your education with a variety of ways to deal with misbehavior and even ADHD, if you find he is suffering with it--you can find a way to help him learn better behavior and deal with his ADHD in the best way he can.

GOOD LUCK!!!!

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