5 year old Behavior issue

Alicia - posted on 05/07/2014 ( 3 moms have responded )

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My son is 5 and has started acting out in school. He is doing things at school that he would not do in my presence. The teacher has communicated this with me, we even have a communication log, where she tells me how his day was, but it seem to not be working. Today he was given and in-school suspension. I do not know what that means, and I have to meet with the teacher on Friday. I am at my whit's end, because I do not know what else to do to reinforce what the teacher is doing in school. Right now all his privileges have been taken away, literally. The only thing he can do is breathe, eat, use the bathroom, sleep, do school work and go to church. I have been reading all the comments and there are mentions about children testing limits to see what the can get away with, but I am overwhelmed and much to my limit with the little patience I was blessed with. I need some advice as to what steps to take next.

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Rebekah - posted on 05/07/2014

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An in-school suspension sounds a bit harsh for the behaviors you're describing. Was there more to it?

The chart is a great idea. Be sure to choose things that are motivating to him, or else it won't work well. If he enjoys attention, be sure to give him lots of praise when he is doing well.

There is probably something to the negative attention you mention. Is your full schedule a recent change, or has it been that way all school year? Do you think he misses time with you? A sport can be a good thing, but hopefully it isn't one more thing that takes time away from you. He needs you.

I hear that you're tired. Single parenting is tough. The school staff can be a resource for you, so use them. Again, the school counselor might be very helpful!

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Alicia - posted on 05/07/2014

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Thank you for comment. The behaviors that he is showing are not doing his work in class; distracting other students, etc. He is a smart little boy, he knows how to do his work, and can do it well, he just does not want to, and has expressed to me before that he doesn't want to do his work. I can not say or think that he does not like going to school, because he has no problem getting up and going to school, he does not complain about going, he just does not do his work sometimes.

I have asked him numerous times what is the problem, why is he doing what he is doing, or lack thereof, but he never gives an answer. He loves attention, one of the reason is because he is an only child and I am a single mom, so everything has always been about him; but I have explained to him over and over that he should not try to gain negative attention, which is what he is getting now. He should do his best, so whatever attention he gets is all positive and people would want to be in his presence more, instead of being mischievous.

I spoke to him yesterday about us doing a behavior calendar at home, something quite like the one his teacher has for them in school and if he gets 8 days worth of stickers, based on reports from his teachers daily and if he does well at home, he can have one thing back, but then he came home today with an in-school suspension. I am tired. I am a single mom who works full time and attends school full time, I try to make a schedule where he has most of my time, but I do not know what else to do. I plan on signing him up for an extracurricular activity so he can exude some of that energy, that is my next step, hopefully it works.

Rebekah - posted on 05/07/2014

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Can you specifically describe the behaviors he's doing?

Its good you are in contact with the teacher, and good that you will be meeting soon to talk about what is going on. You and the teacher need to be a united front to him. However, it seems as though punishments have not helped the situation so far. If it were me, I would want to find out the context of when these behaviors are happening, if there is any pattern or discernible triggers, and what kinds of consequences are used at school. You mentioned he gets punished at home for his school behaviors, but other than the in-school suspension, what else is happening there?

Did you ask him outright what is happening at school, or why he is acting differently now? Is he upset about something? Is he influenced by other kids? Is he over-stimulated or under-stimulated when these thing are happening? (you'd use age-appropriate words with him, of course)

The other method to try with him is to use positive reinforcement. Rather than be only focused on what he is doing wrong and punishing for that, give him incentive to come home with a good report. Discuss together how he can earn back his privileges. Keep the goals short-term and realistic (in other words, don't wait until the end of the week to reward him, make it daily. Depending on how frequent the behaviors are, he can earn an incentive for having a good morning, and again in the afternoon.)

I would also utilize the school counselor.... have her/him sit in class and observe what is happening and get a third party's opinion on what is happening there, behaviorally. She may see things the teacher doesn't get to see.

Good luck at the meeting.

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