D.B. asks from Philadelphia, PA on April 18, 2011
6 Yr Old Behavior Issues
My DD is 6 yrs old and in kindergarten, for the past 6 weeks or so her brhavior has gotten out of control: notes home from school, not listening at all. She is now on a behavior chart at school. It has been suggested to me by friends and her teacher that she should be evaluated for a behavior disorder. I thought she was just testing her limits and seeing how far she could go?? She has been corrected/punished for her behavior but does not seem to care. Any advice or suggestiond would be greatly appreciated
S.K. answers from Los Angeles on April 18, 2011
I think Theresa is asking some great questions. If I may share, please watch the wording that a teacher or administrator may use. For example, "her behavior has gotten out of control," might look like hitting and hurting others. I am not hearing that. We would not want anyone to inappropriately and prematurely label her. Perhaps something indeed recently happened and we just need to put or detective hats on to evaluate a bit.
Please know though, that should you want a therapist or psychologist to do an evaluation, you are under no obligation to share that info with the world. Rather, if anything useful comes up, having that knowledge as well as potential tools/techniques to best help can be specifically shared with the school. Good luck and good for you in reaching out. S. K., MFT
1 mom found this helpful
E.F. answers from Pittsburgh on April 19, 2011
I would be popping in at school at different times to a) see what is going on and b) keep my daughter on her toes. You don't want her to get a reputation as a troublemaker, nor do you want her labeled as something she is not. Make sure that you are present enough that you know what is going on.
I know a lot of parents who have seen amazing changes in their child's behavior with a change in diet. Make sure she is eating nothing but the healthiest foods-- absolutely no sugar, or artificial flavors/colors. No juice. No processed foods. I'd fix the easy stuff that may be preventing her from listening before I moved on to serious behavioral remedies...
T.N. answers from Albany on April 18, 2011
Hi D., what is her behavior like at home? Have you noticed any changes? When you ask her about the problems she's having a school, what does she say?
Also, have there been any recent changes in her life?
D.S. answers from Allentown on April 18, 2011
Your DD is now being labelled a problem child from what I am reading in the text.
You already know this: Your child will behave like what is expected of a behavior problem child.
The adults have to change their attitude about the child before the child will change.
I read where you stated that the child is corrected/punished at home. What does the child do to get corrected/punished at home? What are the corrective/punishment measures that you use.
Knowing this will give me an idea of what to suggest.
Just a thought.
N.G. answers from Dallas on April 18, 2011
I've noticed that every year, around this time, my daughter (now 7) gets 'spring fever'. I just have to tighten the rules around this time and it usually subsides in a month or so. She gets in trouble for not listening at school more, etc.
Only difference is my daughter DOES seem to care, she shows lots of remorse when she gets disciplined at school, so that may be something, but I think that jumping right into a behavior disorder seems hasty. She's only six, it's spring, she might just be getting the end-of-the-year restlessness.
Tighten the rules, make sure she knows her boundaries, and if it's just not working, then take further steps. I wouldn't jump right into that thinking, though.
A.J. answers from Williamsport on April 19, 2011
Ugh. Teachers who double as doctors. Out of control how? She spits out her food and rips out her hair and violently attacks other kids and vandalizes and tantrums and screams angry profanity at the teacher? Or she's pushing boundaries and not listening and having an attitude? Don't let the teacher scare you into the doctor's office.
If you know that your daughter has had a happy loving environment from birth with healthy food and lots of sleep, clear boundaries and good discipline, and her consequences have always been firm and consistent for wrong actions, and she is still totally out of control despite her home environment, only you can know this and consider an evaluation.
If there is any way her home life can be made more positive as well as more firm and consistent with calmly administered consequences based on her choices to do wrong things, then you can probably improve this.
My daughter started pushing some boundaries half way through kindergarten. The teacher said it was normal for kids even if they usually have excellent behavior, they start to feel comfortable with their surroundings and influenced by others and push limits. We let her know I had eyes in the class and EXACTLY what would happen if she was caught being disrespectful, and the warning sufficed since she's never had a reason to doubt it, we've always followed through firmly, and she has no disorders.
If you feel your daughter is testing limits, you probably know best. If you feel her consequences have been super firm and undeniably so dire to her that she would strive at all costs to avoid them, and absolutely consistent, then she may have a disorder. If you suspect she hasn't cared much about the consequences (spirited kids aren't phased by toy removals and time outs, not sure what you use) then you could firm up and compound things. Give and immediate firm consequence as well as removing stuff and letting her earn it back AND doing some chores etc. EVERY time.
Good luck, so many factors are at play, go with your gut. Hopefully your daughter is healthy and the doctor doesn't need to be called in.
T.H. answers from Philadelphia on April 20, 2011
If your friends are also suggesting it, not just the teacher, then there may definitely be reasons to have her evaluated. If consequences yield no results, it may very well be that the behavior is something she's not able to control because of some other issue. I would rather look more into it now and find out one way or the other if she needs extra help and does have any real problems then for her to be labeled and judged a trouble-maker for something that may not be her fault. You also don't want to look back next year (if she's still having problems) wishing that you had done something sooner for her. I wish that my son had gotten help sooner (his issues started in Kindergarten also) - the younger they are when a problem is found, the better it can be addressed and helped. My son seems to be very rude, disrespectful, and defiant sometimes; but it's because of his anxiety and Sensory Processing Disorder. For instance, the art teacher asked him to sit down a couple times after the kids came into the room. He just told her no and refused without communicating that the desk looked dirty (he has OCD also and dislikes germs and dirty things). If someone doesn't understand him and his issues and that he can't communicate them well, then they are just going to think that he is being rude and defiant. You don't want your daughter to continually be punished for things that may be out of her control which could really affect her self-esteem. I hope that you find the help/answers you need!