March 19, 2008,
H.S. asks from Albuquerque, NM on March 06, 2008
Son Just Got suspended...from Preschool
Hi, I have my son attending a very nice preschool program for 3-5 year olds. He has always been very active, independent and rambunctious, we could tell him a hundred times not to do something and he just looks at you and does it again. Consequences that we have given him don't do much to stop him. He has been at this school for about 8 weeks (he'll be 3 and half next month) and he has had 5 "incident" reports. Some of them are...he ripped a few pages in a book by jumping over a child and grabbed the book, they were playing. Another one was for peeing out on the playground, he had to go and he pulled down his pants and peed OUTSIDE the fence, he's 3 1/2 and potty trained about 3 months ago. Then he put the full length mirror (from the learning house) up against the wall and attempted to slide down it. He doesn't hit other kids or bite but he won't sit down and be still or listen to the teachers when they ask him to, he doesn't listen to me either. People tell me, "Oh,he's a 3 year old boy, he's ok" or "I don't know what to tell you, my kids aren't like that" So, I am just wondering if anyone else has a child like this, I guess you call him "Spirited" or "Rambunctious" but I don't know what to do!!! My husband travels ALOT and I feel like pulling my hair out and banging my head against the wall. I am at a loss and need some advice.
Hi Ileana, I don't think your response was harsh at all, it was honest and I completely agree. We do discipline him and consistently I believe. When he has been bad at school he gets his toys and tv taken away. When he is bad at home he gets time out, we have a timer we set, or if he continues the behavior he will get a spanking. None of it seems to bother him much. We have even taken away all his toys at one point and explained that it was because of his behavior. At his point the only toys he has left are his matchbox cars, and I am considering taking those away too, it's hard to take EVERYTHING away b/c we have another child. I understand everything you said, and trust me, I don't call it "spirited" either!!
So What Happened?™
It's been a while since this happened and I thank you all for all the support and encouragement. It really means alot to have an outlet to discuss these kind of issues. I have spent the past few weeks making appointments with several specialists and had a couple of evaluations done with Grey. He passed the speech, language and motor skill development evaluation with flying colors, of course this is not the area I was worried about. I also had his neurotransmitters tested and discoveres every one was sky high and the doctor explained to me that it was lik he was running on jet fuel, makes sense! So we put him on some natural herbal remedies that are supposed to help even out the neuros. This was 3 weeks ago and he has since been asked not to come back to the gym daycare now too! So, I took him to another specialist yesterday and we are trying another route. He is also on two waiting lists for occupational therapy. Wish us luck and thanks again for all of your thoughts and suggestions, they are much appreciated!
R. answers from Phoenix on March 07, 2008
I was a teaher for a few years. My experiance is that 3 1/2 year olds should not be in a class room setting especially if he doesn't have structure at home. If he is not listening at home and you put him in school the chance is not good that he will listen there. You just need to find some affective punishment for him.
I know that is probably not what you want to hear but just a thought. I am a mom of five. I have two 9 year old boys and three irls that are 8, 7 and 5. They are not perfect by any means but I love them to dealth...
J.J. answers from Phoenix on March 07, 2008
Hang in there. Seriously. I have just finished reading an amazing book called "ScreamFree Parenting". Go out and buy it today. It is short easy to read and makes perfect sence. Everone is doing there best I believe as a parent so give your self a break. But your son does need your guidance, your leadership and some expectations (of rituals and discipline). Do you speak to him at all available times like you would me. It has really helped me to talk to my daughter. Telling her all the good things she is doing, what is going on, where we are going, why she can't get into something, why we can't go outside etc. She calms down soooo much faster and simply moves on. If you'd like we can talk more.
P.S. I am 30 SAHM with 1 daughter 15 months and love to stay active.
Good luck, J.
T.D. answers from Phoenix on March 07, 2008
Okay...this is long, but hopefully something in here will help... :-D
I agree that he just might not be ready for preschool yet or maybe not full-time (not sure how often he goes). You could look into finding a preschool that only meets twice a week.
Before he goes to school every time, have him repeat the rules so he knows exactly what is expected of him... something like: "No fits,no hits, Obey Mrs. ____" (or whatever you want, but keep them simple 3-4 at most). I like to do it in a sing songy voice and have them repeat it back to me 4-5 times before we go somewhere. Then let him know ahead of time what the consequence for breaking the rules is and keep with it. For example, if your rule is to listen to the teacher, then you tell him ahead of time that he needs to listen to his teacher and if he doesn't, then he won't get to watch tv when he gets home (but make it something he REALLY likes...I don't know your son so I can't tell you what it is, but whatever you choose, stick with it...and if he doesn't break the rules, make sure you are willing to let him do it!). Maybe he might like to make a chart and put a sticker on the days when he follows the rules and that might be all the incentive he needs??? Maybe if he fills up the chart he can get a small toy???? (nothing more than a couple of dollars...for potty training, I had my kids fill up a chart and when they did they got to choose from a bag of toys (party favors from Wal-Mart...15 toys for $5, but they thought it was great!)) Work with the teacher. Tell the teacher the rules so she can practice them with him as well (often at a store if my kids start acting up, I say "what are the rules" and they repeat them and stop acting up immediately). Then ask the teacher when you pick him up if he broke the rules. If he did, then tell him that the teacher told you he broke x rule so he gets the before mentioned punishment. Also, make him apologize to the teacher for being disrespectful. The teacher will appreciate that too. Be very clear about what he did that was naughty. If he didn't break the rules, PRAISE him profusely!
I saw that you take his toys away for being naughty at school...I don't know if that is necessarily the right thing to do simply because it is not a direct consequence. I agree you should take away toys, but it should be when he has done something wrong with his toys (such as if he breaks them, they get thrown away and he doesn't get to have them anymore) so he learns that he needs to take care of his things or he won't have them. Plus, as you said, you will eventually run out of toys!!!
Also, have him play outside as often as possible to run around and get his energy worked out. I like to make up activities for the kids to do such as run to the wall as fast as they can and then come back and give me a high five. Or march around the yard with them singing "the ants go marching 1x1" and act it out. But most importantly, practice following instructions at home. Find games to play (such as memory or candyland castle) so he learns to follow instructions and if he doesn't, then he doesn't get to play. Practice having him pick up his toys, putting out dishes, picking up clothes and putting them in the laundry basket, etc.
My other suggestion is to keep track of how often you are telling him not to do things. With my 3 year olds and 2 year old, I find that the more I tell them not to do stuff, the more they do it. However, if I am ACTIVELY involved with them and tell them what they SHOULD do, they are less likely to act up. If I make them my "helpers", it gives them something to do and excites them. Have him help teach his sister how to share by leading by example. It is more work for me, but also a LOT less stressful. I also look for ways to praise them for doing the right things and get really excited about it. That way they get attention for doing good instead of primarily attention for doing wrong and they want to continue getting the praise. Such as, if I catch them calmly "reading" a book, I go out of my way to point out that they are doing a great job of turning the pages without ripping them and being a "good steward" of their stuff. We do all this in addition to consistent discipline, but I find when I go out of my way to tell my kids the things they are doing right, they are more likely to do those things and I don't have to "punish" them as much. Also, I don't know if you are doing this or not, but getting directly down to his eye level and having him sit there and look you in the eye while you are talking to him helps to drive the point home...I make my son sit and listen to the same thing over and over again until he is looking at me in the eye and can repeat it (I tell him that is what he needs to do). He learned pretty quick that it takes him much less time to listen and look the first time and he is more apt to remember it since he repeated it.
Just remember, consistency is the key. As long as you use consistent discipline, eventually it WILL work. He will learn he can't get away with stuff.
D.W. answers from Albuquerque on March 19, 2008
I have a son who is very active as well. Not violent in any way - but busy moving. I did have him evaluated and it turns out that he has sensory integration disorder - he is a seeker. What that basically means is that he will continue with movement until certain chemicals are released in his body to help him calm down. If your son does get calm after doing some 'head banging' - litterally - or spinning and other such activities, you might want to check it out with the doctor. Occupational Therapy has been great for my son and now he is doing great in school!
I.W. answers from Phoenix on March 07, 2008
i'm going to ask you a question that will hopefully lead you to deeper thinking, and you don't have to respond to it because it's rhetorical...
is your child ranbunctious or undisciplined?
you don't go into any details on how you discipline him or if/how you make him accountable for his rebellion/unwillingness to obey so it's hard to advise on how to deal with it. you say you can't make him obey and you are him mum! his first and foremost relationship with other adults is based greatly on YOUR relationship with him. how/why would he listen to others when you can't control him yourself? i think this is the key to solving the problem. he needs to learn to respect adults.
if you don't nip it in the bud you will not be able to enjoy your son's company because there will be a sense of chaos whenever he's around. tolerable maybe *for you* at 3. not so much for the next 15 years, and certainly not acceptable to those outside your home. his behaviour will have farther reaching consequences: it's started with suspension from school; before long, other parents will not ask him to come over and play because he is a bad influence on their kids and dangerous in his play habits. i'm sure this is not something you want for your boy, so you need to get tough with him and change your role to a more active disciplinarian and not let him have the reins at his age or ever. your role as a parent should be one of respect. the older they get the harder it becomes and once they hit the 11 year old marker...you may have already pulled out all your hair.
discipline is not for sissies, but it sure is worth it.
don't confuse "spirited" with "out of control". i'll be honest with you, that's not what other adults are calling it when you're not in front of them. please don't take my post as harsh, but rather turning on the light to expose an area that may be painful to go to on your own.
every time i post on discipline i make the point of reminding the mums that this is not just about today and this issue, but how you deal with it will have consequences either good or bad down the road. discipline and order is always about planting for the future of your child and reaping a sweet fruit, not a bitter one.
**H., i wanted to thank you for understanding my post, it was hard to write but too important not to, i felt it would have been a disservice to you. You sound like a mum who is willing to do what it takes and you take time to make sure he knows what he's doing is not acceptable. that is half the battle, i commend you for not giving up, and mostly for doing something proactive about it. there is nothing that makes me more sick to my stomach to see kids disrespect or hit their parents and see the parents either think it's cute, or natural, or ignore it. my suggestion is actually totally different than what seems to make sense. i happen to think that sometimes over-stimuli is what causes children to bounce off the walls, rather than having tons of energy and having to create an outlet for it. there is something to be said about adrenaline, and it is like a drug, and combating that with more quiet time and "coloring" or "reading", watching a "calm video" can be an effective way to soothe an over active child. to teach him to have times of quiet, playing with legos? what a great toy, they get to "create" with their imagination in a quiet manner. i think many times kids are actually hungry for some peace and quiet, and they just don't know how to do it or even know they need it, because the norm now is to keep kids active/busy every single moment of their lives. instead of so much outlet for energy...i suggest sitting down and teaching him ways to curb it and control it.
my kids are 19, 18 and 12. one loved reading, the other coloring, and the youngest is a legos whiz. luckily he is still so young that he can learn new skills and ways of entertaining himself, especially since he has someone who can teach him...YOu! he's a lucky boy. again, thank you for your kind reply, it was a breath of fresh air. :)
N.S. answers from Phoenix on March 10, 2008
I am a mother to 7 kids two of wich are 3 yr old boys. The advice that I wanted to give was instead of taking things away when he does something wrong, try doing reward system for the days or situations when he does something right. We tried that with one of my kidergardners, at school when he could behave aproprietly he would get a sticker and after so many stickers he would get a prize. It really worked for us, so I thought I would share.
The other suggestion I wanted to make was to tell you about these wonderful parenting classes we have taken, they are called Love and Logic. You can goggle the name, I think our insrtuctors name was Keri and the classes were in Mesa, but I think they have classes at various places.
So Good Luck, You are doing the best Job you can with the information you have, so dont beat yourself up. Something will work if you are honestly seaking .
S.P. answers from Phoenix on March 12, 2008
H.: you mention that you have a 20 month old infant and your son is 3 years. His radical behavior may be his way of getting attention; positive or negative because of his new sibling. Jealousy demonstrates itself in many ways. I agree that discipline is key but it may help to know where the issue stems from or when it started.
T.C. answers from Phoenix on March 07, 2008
Some boys can be very active and it can be very challenging. That being said it might be that he is not ready for the preschool situation yet and you might find that at four he might be much better suited to the situation. I would also consider finding ways for him to "release" his extreme energy level.
Be careful of allowing him to be labeled ADHD. Some will immediately jump to this conclusion but at three it could easily just be a maturity issue that resolves over time. Good Luck,
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