social skills for school success

Tamara - posted on 06/26/2012 ( 2 moms have responded )




I have a six year old son in year one at school this year. He will be turning 7 in a couple of weeks.
It hasn't been the most enjoyable start to formal education. He is very bright child who can converse with adults but seems to according to the school have "no social skills" when it comes to peers.
I have been in quite an extensive meeting with the class teacher and the school psychologist today where, putting forward what I know of how he feels about school, I was met with some opposition.
I believe my child is being bullied yet the teacher was pushing for me to admit he was the bully. There have been 9 cases this year (and we are only in the first semester) where he has received lengthy timeouts of 80 minutes each time for hitting children. He doesn't exhibit such behaviour at home.
At home we have two children to raise, my eldest was also badly bullied in year one (in this same teacher's class) and nothing was implemented by the school until last year when she was in year 3.
I certainly don't want a repeat situation because she has gotten to the point of accepting her fate of "having no friends".
My son can have a conversation, request and answer requests, give compliments, greet appropriately, ask questions, listen respectfully and then answer whilst remaining on the same topic but will politely change the subject. He is working on not interrupting during conversations. He does all this with adults.
The disturbing part is that school thinks he needs an aid! Because he is 6 turning 7 and they feel he hasn't pushed past the social skills level of a kindergartener - 5!
I am equipped with knowledge in child development and as his mum have made every effort to cover all bases in order to have him ready for school. This includes social skills.
If a child doesn't know how to use social skills with his peers how will he learn from his peers if they are techniquely still learning also? Isn't this where us parents step in?
I don't get it. I am really confused. I feel as though they are using my son's occasional outbursts of frustration to put him in the "too hard" box and give him an aid because they can't cope!
I have told the school psych no to an aid but I have given her strategies (fancy that a mum giving school strategies!) and requested him become part of a friendship group at school in order to learn at school how to deal with peers.

Does anyone have any other suggestions as to how to help my child get over this hurdle and get the school off of our backs?

Any at home type programs I could implement? I need something for my own sanity to get started. I want to nip this in the bud so that he can reach his full potential which the teacher is saying he isn't doing academically well - when he is obtaining the average. What was she expecting? A genius?

I am also making an appointment to see my GP in order to obtain a referral. I want peace of mind that my child is fine. I also want to show school that they are the ones who are unnecessarily jumping up and down over my child.


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Tamara - posted on 08/26/2012




I took my child off the the doctor and guess what? He is fine! There is no need to enlist such a ludicrous thing as a social skills aid for my son as he doesn't need one. Instead we have him in a friendship group involving a few other kids in his class and this will help him to feel stronger when dealing with moments of difficulty in the playground such as when he is teased and bullied and not believed by the teacher.

Yes my child may be experiencing social skills issues presently but I can safely say that I have the doctor's back up on this as well as another doctor and my counsellor along with a legal person that will all back me up in saying my child is not the one with the problems and he is not causing the problem. HE doesn't have special needs and I am not doing him a disservice by not allowing the aid. He doesn't need and aid and I am rejoicing because it just confirms what I have known all along - that we are experiencing issues right now with some children who think they can laud it over my son and take advantage of his vulnerabilities and he will be just fine once the school gets their act together and stops trying to stick him into a box he doesn't fit into.

One happy mum to know that for once a parent can rule the day and be happy to know that conviction in what she knows about her child wins out against departmental authorities thinking that they can tell me how to parent my child. They will get over themselves eventually and we can live happily ever after!

♫ Shawnn ♪♫♫ - posted on 06/26/2012




Obviously your child is having problems with socializing with his peers, because he's hitting them. It doesn't matter if he's a prodigy, it doesn't matter that he's precocious. He is used to dealing with adults, because he's mainly been in the company of adults his entire childhood. He is not used to dealing with his peers, because they aren't adults.

So, first, address the hitting. If he's doing it, there's a reason, and you need to find out what. Once you track that down, you can address it.

Precocious children are a joy, I know, I had two. But, you also have to realize that your precious baby can, conceivably, be someone else's nightmare to deal with. I'm sorry, but it's true. And, if the school is suggesting an aide, they are trying to help your child adjust in a quiet, non confrontational manner. An in class aide will be able to address situations AS THEY ARISE. Which is the important part when dealing with a precocious child. Basically, your son is socially advanced beyond his peer group. He needs to learn to interact with is peer group without acting out, which I'd bet is directly connected to his frustration that those kids aren't operating on his level. by you refusing that in class aide, you aren't helping the situation. The situation needs to be addressed in the venue that it occurs in, not in the home.

Now that I think about it, you seem a bit confused as to what you actually want. You don't want him to have an aide with him (?), you do want him to be put into a "friendship group" where he can learn to socialize with his peers, but you don't see how he can learn socialization skills from other children his age, as they are "still learning" as well...Um...that's the way we learn things! EVERYONE learns constantly. You were allowed to learn at your own pace, with your peers, and your peers helped you learn. How is putting him with other kids his age who are "still learning" going to be detrimental to him?

The appointment with your GP is a good idea. I also recommend you write a script so that you can address your questions calmly, and in a rational manner, rather than accusing the school of being "all over" your kids.

Having spent years volunteering in my son's schools, its my experience that these types of children (mine included) were in need of some in class attention, and peer socialization time. The in class attention is generally provided by an aide to the child, who can gently redirect if the situation becomes volatile.

Oh, and again, just in case I didn't say it before, the school is not out of bounds for keeping a child that is prone to lashing out and hitting other children away from the children he's beating up on. Yes, that CAN be considered bullying. Especially if he's hitting because the other children didn;t do what he wanted. You HAVE to address the entire situation, NOT just the parts that you deem are detrimental to your child.

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