Wedding Woes

UPDATE: kid question - WWWWD? (sorry, it's long)

*Barbie**Barbie* member
First Anniversary 5 Love Its Name Dropper First Comment
edited December 2017 in Wedding Woes

So it's been interesting. We met with Wolverine's teacher just about a month ago. Her take was that it was typical 6/7yo behavior, especially for a relatively smart, outgoing kid. From a school perspective, she is ahead of where she needs to be, but the teacher didn't think it was boredom, because she'll tailor the assignments to meet the kids' current levels - e.g. give them a harder book to read. From what we've seen, it looks like the teacher has started challenging her more, and she's been putting more effort into in-class assignments, so that's a plus.

Teacher also decided to start splitting her daily report, so if Wolverine had a bad morning but a good afternoon (or vice versa), she would get positive recognition too.

She did ok for about a week around Halloween, but then early November got in trouble on the playground (poked another kid with a stick "because someone told her to" and the other kid bled - not a serious injury, but still, completely unacceptable and really dumb on her part.) This was the final straw for us. She got detention in school, so had to spend her recess in the principal's office to write an apology. We also made her write an apology at home, to both the child and her teacher. We also stripped nearly everything out of her room, and took away all of her privileges. This happened right after her birthday, so every single one of her birthday presents got taken away - most before she got to open them.

To get her stuff back, we told her she had to earn it. We made a sticker chart at home. For every 5 days that she behaved in school, she could choose 1 thing to have back. As a bigger incentive, if she got 5 days in a row, she could choose 2 things. She has 8 days in a row of good behavior at this point, which is really good. She hasn't slipped up at all since she started getting things back - so nothing else has been taken away. She did have a day or two before she hit her first 5 days where she got a note sent home, so I had her write lines as a punishment. "I will listen to my teacher." x25. If nothing else, she learned how to spell "listen" and "teacher." I also had her do extra chores.

We're also probably going to start up gymnastics again - if nothing else it will give her another outlet for some excess energy.

Things seem to be improving, and she loves hearing that we're really proud of her for having another good day - so win/win.

Also, because I'm a pretty awesome mom, I did plan a Six Flags trip for next weekend. She doesn't know about it, but as long as she keeps up with the good behavior, it will be a fun surprise.

Wolverine is in first grade, and will be 7 in like 2 weeks. She has always been a relatively smart and outgoing kid. 

We have been getting way too many notes sent home about behaviour issues at school, and are trying to find a way to get through to her that this BS can't continue. It seems to come in waves - last week she didn't have any, 2 weeks ago, she had 3 days, this weeks it's been every day. 

Some stuff is relatively minor, and not something that we can really impact (e.g. taking with her friends during a lesson/talking out of turn/goofing off) - yes it's disruptive to the lesson and frustrating for the teacher so we can sympathize, but we're not there to correct it when it happens, so all we can do is discuss at home and punish her if it continues. 
Other stuff has been more serious, e.g. throwing pebbles at the building during recess (there was a group of kids doing it), throwing food at lunch (once again, as part of a group), or pushing/hitting/kicking (from the notes, this is always a retaliation or accidental contact, so we don't have the impression that she is bullying anyone - but it's still a zero tolerance environment.). 

At this point, we're at a loss of what to do - while she will push boundaries at home (moreso verbal - taking back or trying to argue with us)  - it's not the same behaviour that we're hearing about from school. We've tried talking, yelling, punishing (typically taking away kindle/TV/DVD player and adding in extra chores) - none of this seems to be making an impact. We had planned to do a weekend trip to Six Flags for her birthday, but told her that if she got more than 3 bad behaviour notes over the first 3 weeks of October, that we were cancelling the trip. She had 3 notes within the first week, so that's not happening, now.

After reports on Monday (4 issues, mostly around talking out of turn, not listening, not following directions), and Tuesday (throwing rocks during recess), we had a very long discussion about knowing right from wrong and making good/bad decisions. She's smart enough to understand that what she's doing is wrong, but still continues to do it. We talked about consequences, and how if she was an adult that this stuff would have even worse consequences (losing a job, going to jail). We decided that in addition to the grounding from screen time, she would not be allowed to go to halloween parties this weekend trick-or-treat if she got another bad report between now and party/Halloween. Not less than 24 hours later, we get the report about throwing food in the cafeteria, and then lying about it to the teacher (the teacher saw her do it.) So Halloween is cancelled. 

We do have a conference scheduled with her teacher for next week, (and i sent her a note today) - but we really don't know what to do at this point. I know it's not a question of the teacher being really harsh, as the kid needs to do something minor 3x in one day before a note is sent home (they will automatically send one for something more severe.) 

Any ideas or suggestions? 


Re: UPDATE: kid question - WWWWD? (sorry, it's long)

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    I always had better luck with my kids when I rewarded rather than take away. I used to take away with my oldest and it just didn't work so we adjusted. I really think if they mess up and they already lost something they really wanted to do they were frustrated and acted worse.

    You could try telling her she can "earn" Halloween back by having no reports maybe?
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    Is she feeling insecure in her friendships at all? From what you've written, it sounds like everything is happening with a group. Why is she so intent on following the group, even to her own detriment? 

    I mean, she may not really *know*, but it sounds to me like that might be worth exploring, if possible. 

    And I understand your frustration. We had homework problems with Bacon continuously until this year - 8th grade. Nothing worked until she got old enough to understand that, yes, we know it's pointless, and you understand the lesson, but it still has to be done. 

    Homework isn't behavior, I know, but it can just be so tempting to just scream your head off at her because you KNOW she knows better and can do better. 
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    I was going to suggest the positive aspect too.  If you go so many days without a note you get something.  Sometimes it's hard for kids to understand if they are missing something because they just do something else.  

    I have found with M2 that lists really help her.  Can you sit down and list the things she CAN do during the day and the things she CANNOT do.  Maybe make it small enough to put in a lunch box or a pocket.

    Random thought- are there enough toys on the playground? Sure your kid isn't supposed to throw rocks, but is there enough other options?  We just replaced a crapton of playground toys because 750 kids a day takes a massive toll.

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    I think taking away a trip or activity like Halloween that isn't imminent (like that day) doesn't mean shit to kids.  You have to find out what is her ultimate currency (for DD, it's books), and eliminate that from her world.  Ask my DD - she lives a hard life with a mean mom.  I've literally thrown away the contents of her room, confiscated her books so that they are earned back or donated for bad behavior, pulled her THAT DAY from a field trip, etc.  
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    @baconsmom brings up a good point, are the people she hangs out with having the same issue?
    I would bring up that question with the teacher, and see if separating her from those who are also acting up helps anything.
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    From a learning and behavioral perspective, we all respond better to rewards vs. punishment and positive (you did this great job so here is a cookie) vs negative reinforcement ( you did a great job so you don't have to take out the trash).

    SOOOOO many hugs for you!  I could have written this a few times.

    1) I'd try to talk to her teacher to see what else is going on.   
    -Is she always with the same kids when this happens?  
    -Is she a ring leader or is there one?
    -What is the curriculum like?   How is she doing scholastically?  Is she getting bored? 

    2) Have they tried to move her from one group?   Alternate seating arrangements if it looks like she's doing this to fit in or get attention? 

    3) Can you start off with a reward system?  Instead of taking away Halloween or another event, can you tell her she needs to get a # of stickers, good reports, etc. to earn the right to go? 

    4) Finally, does the school have a psychologist?   Can you see if there's a possibility of talking with him/her to see what they think?    Is it possible that any of this is a possible ADD/ADHD situation?   
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    mrsconn23mrsconn23 member
    First Anniversary First Answer 5 Love Its First Comment
    edited October 2017
    Ugh, that sucks.  I hope the teacher has some insight for you on what's going on.  Has the school tried separating the group of food throwers and/or benching kids during recess for rock throwing and other misbehavior?  Also, if she's having this many incidents of having to retaliate because someone is getting in her space/being aggressive to her, what are they doing about that?  Is it one kid?  And if it's an 'accident', like two kids got too close while playing or something, why is that under 'zero tolerance'?  (That's why I *hate* zero tolerance.) 

    What about a reward system vs. punishment?  Like she has to earn screen time by having good days and it can be taken away for bad days?  Have you tried any progress/sticker charts?  Maybe see if she responds to taking ownership by earning her reward?

    I understand your frustration.  We went through similar things with the kiddo in elementary school.  

    We also had a ton of issues with DefConn's behavior last year, but I think it was due the fact that he couldn't see and didn't have the capacity to say that he couldn't see or understand the work, so he just fucked around and was all, "I can't!" Plus, as nice as his teacher was, I don't think they clicked and/or that she understood how to find his wavelength.  He's also stubborn as hell.  His teacher this year has found his 'level' and was the one who realized he had vision issues.  He's had very few issues with behavior.  They're on a 'silly band' system.  They start with 3 and the goal is to end the day with 2 or more (they can earn them for good behavior).  He's come home with one silly band once or twice.  He mostly gets in trouble for talking or not doing his work (because he's talking or just not doing it).  He did, amusingly, get in trouble or whistling in class. 
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    @pegasuskat - that was her first question yesterday (re: earning it back) - I think we'd both be inclined to consider it, but at the same time, we'd like to stay firm in terms of "if we tell you x is going to happen, x will happen"

    @baconsmom - honestly not sure. we'll definitely talk to the teacher about the classroom dynamic, although from what she's mentioned the past couple of days, it was different groups of kids - not all in her class. 

    @6fsn - we know that she's capable of have a full week without notes - we challenged her to try and do it again this week. other challenge was to see how many "proud" tickets that she could earn at school in one week. they get the tickets for good behavior - particularly going above and beyond - and can cash them in for prizes. we can talk about a reward system (x good days - she can pick a restaurant for a special dinner/go to chuck e cheese/etc. with smaller and larger milestones)

    @nicolegs17 agreed with ultimate currency, although we're struggling to figure that out. she's not super into toys, and seems to like her kindle best of everything. I did pull her from a field trip (the day before) over the summer because of the behaviour issues. I figured Halloween would be a BFD since it was in a week - although you may be right that it's just too far out for a 7yo to really comprehend. right now she's sleeping in the stripped down guest room without her favorite stuffed animals because fully strupping her room is too much trouble. 
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    Does your school have a counselor?  I know that when my nephew started acting out at school, and throwing stuff, my sister got him an appointment with the school counselor.  It turns out he was having some issues dealing with the family's move to a new house, and bullies at school.  He felt safe expressing that to a counselor and they have actually seen a noticeable improvement in his behavior.
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    Is she in any extracurriculars right now?  If not it might help and if so it would be my kids' commodity. 
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    Can you rehome her?  jk  ;)
    I swear, just when we think we have the parenting thing figured out they change the game.
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    I have also heard of some parents having good results by removing TV entirely.  It's not something that DH and I have entertained but we have eliminated some shows (like the My Little Pony Equestria Girls) when she started imitating them WAY too much.
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    actually, no re: extracurriculars. She was doing gymnastics through last spring, but we stopped for the summer just to give it a break. She asked to do soccer this year, but the schedule was ridiculous, and we didn't want to commit her to something when we knew that 1) she wouldn't be able to make half of the games 2) there was no set day/time for practice and games, and minimal advanced notice. 

    I also looked at Girl Scouts, but there's no troop at her school (which struck me as odd). I wouldn't mind helping out with some meetings or field trips, but i don't have time to start a troop/be a full time leader/assistant. 

    I am fully supportive of doing an extracurricular activity or sport - we just need something that runs on a set (preferably weeknight) schedule. 

    funny re: rehoming - when i went to pick her up yesterday from her after school program, the desk attendant was trying to guess which kid was mine. I told him that if he didn't guess right, i'd be happy to trade her in for an upgraded model. 

    I wonder if part of the issue is that she's kind of spoiled at home - she's an only child, so she's not having to compete with other kids for our attention/toys/space/etc. She also gets to do a whole lot of fun things (travel, parks, museums, zoos, etc.), so i'm sure takes it for granted. She's been in daycare since she was 4.5mo, so socializing with other kids is nothing new. 

    @mrsconn23 - the accidental hitting is usually a result of "Wolverine was dancing around acting goofy. she kicked her classmate by accident. i told her to calm down and stand/sit/whatever, but she continued goofing around and bumped into the classmate another time." I think the zero tolerance is bullshit because it doesn't really give kids who are being bullied a chance to stand up for themselves. But honestly, if we thought this was going on, we wouldn't be mad if she physically defended herself. 
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    CMGragainCMGragain member
    First Anniversary First Comment First Answer 5 Love Its
    edited October 2017
    I want to echo Banana.  Age 7 is often when ADD surfaces, and it can be harder to detect in girls.  (Don't know why, but it seems to affect them differently.)  It couldn't hurt to talk to the school psychologist.
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    Obviously, I'm biased on extracurriculars, but I think it's an easy place to start. My experience is that any team sport will be last minute schedules. There are so many other options though- gymnastics, music,art. 
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    @6fsn - i don't know how you guys do it with the soccer with 3 kids. it "bottles" the mind. :wink:

    I was all, "why can't they say, 'practice will be 6-7pm on Wednesday nights'? how is it a 3 hour window on every single weeknight, with one week notice? who can manage 'games may occur any time between 7am and 7pm on every saturday' from here to eternity? (ok, 10 weeks, but still) don't these people work? don't these kids have homework? don't families have multiple kids that play? don't people do stuff on weekends?!"
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    Part of the reason it's so wishy washy is they rely on parent volunteers and at least here they're begging until the last minute. Then you're at the mercy of the coaches schedule. 

    Kids get dragged to practices.  sometimes we miss games or practices. Sometime the kids have to choose between a game or a party. Sometimes the miss because mom and dad have something they want to do. 6let missed practice for the school Halloween party. Megan missed a practice so I could go to card club. You just do it. 
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    I wouldn't come close to considering ADHD at this point.  It seems like these notes are a bit on the....what's the word I am looking for.......cautious side?  

    A 7 year old should be dancing around and bumping into people, IMO.  They spend way too much time sitting down as it is.  Of course the pebble and food notes are a bit more intentional but they don't seem to be red flags of bigger problems.  

    This whole thing makes me think of the scene from Uncle Buck where he goes to talk to the principal about his niece.

    Do you happen to know how many notes other parents are getting each week?

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    @Ro041- no clue on the other parents. teacher told us at curriculum night that she has a 3 strike system each day - so first you get a warning, then she takes your folder, 3rd strike is sending the note in the folder. I think some of this does come down to classroom management - after all, what do you expect me to do about the kid talking during class beyond talking to her about it?

    I wouldn't even consider ADD/ADHD at this point - to me this is typical kid stuff, maybe a little much sometimes, but nothing to consider medical intervention. If they recommend an evaluation, we'd do it, but based on behavior at home, I'm not seeing a cause for concern. 

    I wondered if she's not feeling challenged, and as a result is losing interest and acting up. Looking at the reader that her teacher sent home, she's not giving her something challenging - the kid read it 2x and memorized it. 
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    I guess my thought is figuring out what's bugging her about school. She bored? Distracted? Has too much energy? Punishing her isn't going to do much. 
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    Have you sat down and 'leveled' with her that you are curious about what is happening and need to hear it from her perspective? I teach SIM and when we debrief, we always try and figure out where someone is coming from. "I'm concerned about the frequency of notes coming home and I'm curious about why they are happening". Ask her what she thinks should happen when she brings home so many notes.
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    I don’t have children but I want to add from personal experience that rewarding worked better for me than taking away. I dngaf about privileged being taken away (I was literally grounded from the 4th- 6th grade, had to go to bed while the sun was still out, etc) but was so competitive/ people pleaser that, had I been given the opportunity, to “earn points” or whatever I would have done it. But that’s just me, I am not trying to tell you what to do with your child.

    have you looked into karate, ice skating, or horse riding? Or something non physical like a ceramics class? When I was kid our local library offered a slew of activities.

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    I was thinking more about this last night.  My thoughts are scattered soooooo

    1. Some teachers are more about discipline and structure and will force it for even minor things- knocking into someone while dancing.  My neighbor had a teacher like that in 1st.  Her otherwise great child was getting your version of notes constantly.  Once they figured out it was more the teacher personality they stopped worrying about the classroom as much.  Maybe it's the teacher not so much your child.

    2. Conferences will be a good time to gauge boredom.  The teacher should be able to find things to challenge her though.  I found out m2 is a high level reader.  When she finishes a book she now writes an 8 sentence retelling to keep her busy.  They also have her set up with a kinder kid to read to him.

    3.Are they always in the same classroom or do they mix things up with other teachers?  If she's getting in with other teachers are they also having issues?  Mixing up with other teachers can also help with boredom in general but it can give high level learners more challenges.  Again neighbor kid was great with other teachers it was just her home teacher that thought she had a behavior issue. 

    4. The playground/lunchroom might be an entirely different issue.  That doesn't seem like a teacher management or bored student issue.  That's something I would use a reward/punishment system for.  It seems like a kid either instigating or being part of a group doing the wrong thing.  Is the teacher the monitor or do they different people? 

    5. Are you allowed to have lunch with your kid?  It might be worth going in on a Friday off just to see the way it works.  It might give you an idea what's going on. 

    6. Another thought- volunteer in the class once?  It might give you an idea about the classroom management/your child.  It would also let your kid know you are taking this seriously. 

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    @6fsn Thanks for the additional follow-ups. You made some good suggestions - and I will look into the lunch date/classroom volunteering. We're meeting with the teacher on Friday afternoon for the conference, so hopefully will have a better gauge of what's happening (and how much of it is really overkill vs. cause for concern.) They have a primary teacher, but will go to different teachers for art/music/gym/etc. I believe the kids are also mixed with other classes for some of those subjects. 

    FWIW, she didn't get anything negative from her teacher on Thursday and got a sticker on Friday for having a good day. She did have a note sent home from her gym teacher on Friday (I don't even remember the reason, it was something ridiculous.). Since she had a decent end to the week, we told her that she would be allowed to go to the halloween party on Saturday, but still no on trick or treating. We talked about a reward system, but haven't figured out what we want to do yet. 

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    Just out of curiosity, are there other parents that you can talk to?   Maybe they feel like the school has started over-documenting too.
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    @banana468 we don't really know the other parents for kids in her class. we should probably set up some play dates and get to know them. 
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    So this sounds about like me at this age. My parents basically just managed it until the school (around 3rd grade) did testing and sent me to the gifted program. Once I was actually challenged, the behavior issues stopped. 

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    So this sounds about like me at this age. My parents basically just managed it until the school (around 3rd grade) did testing and sent me to the gifted program. Once I was actually challenged, the behavior issues stopped. 
    ^^^ this is why I questioned boredom. I was in the gifted program, and would goof off if I wasn't being challenged. I was good enough to not get caught/not annoy the teachers because I never got notes sent home.
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    *Barbie* said:
    So this sounds about like me at this age. My parents basically just managed it until the school (around 3rd grade) did testing and sent me to the gifted program. Once I was actually challenged, the behavior issues stopped. 
    ^^^ this is why I questioned boredom. I was in the gifted program, and would goof off if I wasn't being challenged. I was good enough to not get caught/not annoy the teachers because I never got notes sent home.

    SIB: I was always finishing work a lot faster than the rest of the class. To combat boredom, my teacher gave me permission to go get a book from the classroom bookshelf to read while everyone else was finishing work. That worked for me because I loved reading, and didn't have to keep raising my hand for permission. Maybe something like that could work if boredom is the issue. Or you could get puzzle books or drawing paper, etc that could be used as an alternative to talking while waiting for everyone else to finish.
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    This blog post popped up in my newfeed today and I thought of you:

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