Son Getting in Trouble for Talking Too Much

Updated on February 06, 2013
S.J. asks from Cherryville, MO
22 answers

Our 8 year old is a very bright and very well-behaved boy. He really is such an easy kid. You tell him to do something and he does it right away for the most part. He is the type of kid that when out in groups, people will comment on how well-behaved he is. It is just his personality, very laid back and sweet. But he is also your typical impulisive 8 year old boy. He has tested gifted at school, but they do not have a gifted program. Instead, they have hired out for a teacher to come in and work with the gifted students (3 including my son) on a weekly basis.

I bring up the gifted part because our boy is currently getting in trouble for talking in class. It happens about once per week that he will get his "stick moved down" (they have a system where your stick is moved down if you misbehave) due to talking when he is not supposed to be talking. When asked why by us at home, he claims he is almost always done with his work early and gets bored, so he begins talking. While this is probably true, it needs to stop. Yesterday, he got into trouble for talking over the teacher. That is the reason for me writing today. (She was giving instructions to a task, he had a question, instead of waiting and raising his hand, he asked his question).

He has very little impulsivity in other areas. Like I said, he is usually the most calm kid of the group. So I am not concerned he has ADD or anything of the sort. I just need to know what your thoughts are on how serious this talking issue is. I remember getting in trouble CONSTANTLY for talking in school, much for the same reasons my son gives. And I don't recall my mother getting too angry, although she was somewhat strict with me and expected good behavior and good grades, etc. And I turned out OK! =) So how serious should I make this? What type of punishment do you deem appropriate? We have already grounded him for one night from all electronics, etc, and have had stern talkings. Apparently those aren't working.

For fixes, we have sent him with things to do while he is "bored" and waiting for the rest of the class to finish their work. We send items such as little puzzles, books to read, etc. He loves doing that kind of thing, so it does help. But we are still seeing a once a week stick movement due to talking. Let it go? Punish?

When we have PT conferences, the teacher cannot say enough good things about him - except for that he does need to work on talking. While I don't want to make it seem as if we expect perfection, if his teacher says he needs to work on it, he needs to work on it. Trying to find a good way to balance.

Thanks moms!

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So What Happened?

ETA: No, never called in over this. Good point, Sherry.

@ Tiffany - we have talked extensively about solutions. He has come up with many ideas, as have we. We simply haven't noticed an improvement even after utiilizing all of the ideas. That's why I am here now.

@ Rose - the teacher will send home a note on his A+ report card that he is doing beautifully - he just needs to work on talking. This type of note has come home about three times now. The reason I know about the weekly "stick moving" is because he brings home a weekly sheet and if he has a stamp, it means he didn't have his stick moved down that day. He gets about 3-4 stamps per week. And if he doesn't get a stamp, it is due to talking. Hope that makes sense.

Featured Answers



answers from Washington DC on

My dd is very social and very bright, but she loves to talk. The teacher used to always send comments home about talking in class... she has gotten better over time. This year, she hasn't had any comments about talking in class and she is in 4th grade. They do finally get more self control as time goes on. But, you can't change their personality. Honestly, I think more social kids and more social people do better in life because they can carry on a conversation. So this isn't really a bad thing, they just need to acquire self control.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Kalamazoo on

Sounds like my son!
Does he like to draw? My son comes home with little drawings all over his papers that he does after the work is finished.
I don't think it's a big deal, he's learning......and, noboby's perfect so if this is his worst problem - no biggie! :)

2 moms found this helpful

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answers from San Francisco on

Let the teacher move the freakin' stick!

Really, I don't believe he should be punished at home for occasional talking at school. If moving a stick is the teacher's solution, and it works, let her move it.

I absolutely disagree that you should be punishing him at home. If he's only talking once a week, he's a thousand times better than this class of 11th graders I've been teaching.

According to the educators, the teacher is supposed to have activities ready for "early finishers" like your son, not just let him sit there bored. She also is supposed to have a consequence in place for talking.

Give your son back his electronics, and ask your son to remember not to talk when others are working in class. Controlling kids is the hard part of teaching, but it's supposed to be up to the teacher.

10 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

Have you been called in for a meeting about this? If not the stick moving is enough. If it is to the point where you get called that's a whole different thing. But a stick moving once a week is actually really good lol. I have had the stick move several times in a day. Let the natural consequence happen. Usually teachers have built in privileges / consequences he will figure it out.

7 moms found this helpful


answers from El Paso on

Not sure how to curtail the talking when he's finished and bored if sending him with other things to do hasn't worked, but I have an idea on the interrupting the teacher with a question. See if you can get him to write down his questions as he gets them, that way he 1) won't forget it and 2) gets to "ask" without interrupting. Then when the teacher is finished talking he can raise his hand to ask the question he wrote down. Don't know if it would work, but it's a thought.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Columbia on

This sounds like normal behavior for his age and level of intelligence. As it isn't happening often, I wouldn't get too wound up about it.

Just continue to stress the importance of there being a time and place for everything. Practice being quiet at home on occasion, where he is required to engage in quiet play while you are watching YOUR show or reading a book. Practice quiet on car rides or in other situation where he talks incessantly.

There is no magic wand. Kids like to talk. Smart kids really like to talk. So work on when talking is okay.

Best of luck!

C. Lee

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

I think you should leave the punishing to the school. In our old school they had some kind of stick system like that, and if they got to a certain level there would be consequences (missed recess time, having to write something on why they should make better choices, etc.). Most of the time in that school the kids would start to "punish" the kids that had issues by not associating with them, which I disagreed with. At our current school, my son is not gifted, but very chatty. His teacher takes recess away (which makes it worse imo) and if they have 3 strikes over a week, they miss their incentive on fridays. What I have found works best with my son is positive reinforcement. If he has a good day he gets stickers, and after so many stickers he gets a reward from us. I do think that talking is normal for 8 year olds though. Your teacher may want to consider changing seats around

5 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

Honestly to me, getting in trouble (which at this point is only having the stick moved, which is a warning, right?) once a week for talking isn't that big of a deal. It doesn't sound like it's affecting his learning, or others' learning, or the teacher, other than having to remind him with the stick.
I was a talker as a kid too (my kinder teachers called me very "sociable" lol!) and it's something I grew out of as I matured. I imagine your son will as well. Don't punish him at home, let the school continue to guide and discipline his behavior there.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

I think he is probably fine. He knows his stick is moving. You could try a good reward for nonstick moving (ha! A Teflon Day).
You could tell him what I told my gifted son.

The less you talk the smarter you look.

Its a paraphrase from the Bible. I think Soloman knew what he was talking about.

Our GT classes were called gifted and talented classes. I like what one mom called it Gifted and Troubled! Sometimes the have their own trouble!

5 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

Last year in 3rd grade, the only complaint the teacher had about my son was his impulsivity-- drumming on the desk, humming during quiet time, and speaking out of turn. It was a constant struggle
for him. But he had a great year, got along great with the teacher and learned everything he needed to. I asked about the issue at the beginning of 4th grade and he said its under control. Some of it is simple maturity, he will grow out of it and better manage his impulses.
The rest of it is strategies, which it sounds like you are both trying to find solutions, I would only add that you practice at home. Be more aware of taking turns to talk and don't let him interrupt you there. And pretend to be in the classroom and teaching, have him practice raising his hand, crossing his fingers, writing down his question, whatever he needs to do to remain quiet in that moment. It'll be ok, he'll get it!

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

Let the school handle the discipline. My son is a visual learner, so doing social stories - basically creating a comic strip of the behavior, how it's a problem for teacher/class, and what to do or not do really helps him. Maybe it'll help your son see HOW the talking causes problems even though it makes HIM feel better.

Brainstorming with the teacher may help with solutions. I know my son's teacher appreciates me working with her to solve classroom challenges.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Atlanta on

I think getting in trouble for talking once per week is pretty good! I'm pretty sure I got in trouble for talking out of turn a lot more often than that!

4 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

I am a firm believer in not punishing at home for most behaviors that happen at school. Let the teacher take care of the "punishments". We also have the stick system...overall it does what it is suppose to.

Keep doing what you are doing S.. He is a very bright and well behaved young boy. Talking is such a mild "offense". He will grow out of the impulsiveness...mine did! (now 13)

I know when my boy was younger the teacher talked ADD/ADHD. We didn't go that route..we knew our boy and he wasn't a problem at home or at we saw that he COULD restrain his impulsiveness. We just chatted with him about our expectations, how disruptive it is to the teacher to have chatter going on in the classroom, and we made a behavior chart. Every day we would have the teacher give us a quiet thumbs up or down at pickup. It it was a thumbs up then he put a sticker on the chart at home. After 5 stickers, he picked an outing to do with us. If it was a thumbs down then we would simply say, "Tomorrow is another day. I know you will try harder."

This constant monitoring really helped a lot. Oh..and the fact that the teacher recognized he was ahead of the class and made arrangements for him to go to the grade higher periodically throughout the day.

Keep praising the good in your boy. The teacher sees the good in him also. Remember we are looking to have well rounded kids that can adapt to different situations in life...not just kids that can shut up on demand and sit like zombies for 6 hours each day.

You are doing great mom!

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

I agree with what most everyone else has said. Leave the discipline to the school. But I also like the idea that, if he can go a whole week without getting his stick moved, maybe you can take him out to ice cream or something.

Another thing I'd suggest is asking the teacher if she can make each class assignment a little more challenging for your child? Find a way to provide more depth so that they will take him longer. If, for example, an assignment is to write three sentences, have him write three paragraphs.

Or see if he can maybe be a teacher's helper. When he's done, have him help his classmates who are having trouble. That way he can be talking but in an appropriate way.

He sounds like an awesome kid.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

Could the teacher work with your son and try a visual cue before she moves the stick down? Maybe something which doesn't truly interrupt her, like patting her lips/mouth with her fingers, or putting up one finger when he starts to speak? I wonder if a visual warning sign would be enough to stop him before he continues to speak.

I'd also work on a nice 'something' to look forward to for each week he can have *no* 'stick movement'. This is indeed his challenge to overcome; I would work on giving a positive on this one instead of punishing. The loss of the special treat/item/outing on the weekend *would* be the consequence.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

I guess I would reiterate that he needs to be respectful of his teacher in class and not interrupt her while she is talking. Just a quick reminder of the rules would be enough in my mind. In our school, we have something similar to the stick system. However, a kid doesn't get a "consequence" (e.g. missed recess, write apology note) unless it is moved more than once. I think of moving the stick once as a reminder to stop talking. I think if he stops talking after his reminder, than I wouldn't harp on it too much at home.

As far as what to do while he is bored... Have you asked hime for some ideas? I remember being incredibly bored at times in school. If there is a subject he is particularly interested in, maybe he can have some advanced work to do on his own.

Good luck!

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Rochester on

The way you explain this, is seems like part of this is the teachers fault for not giving him more to do. I realize she's got her hands full with other students, but if he's consistently done with his work ahead of time, he needs to be allowed to have more work to do, or at least a book to read! Suggest this to your son and his teacher and see if they can work something out.

I certainly don't think you need to punish him for this. Whatever his teacher is doing is probably enough, and you can just continue to reinforce that he needs to raise his hand before speaking, not shout out, and realize that even though he is done with his work, others aren't.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

As I read the So What Happened section, I thoought : "Well, why is the teacher telling you about ocassional infractions?" Is it because you are asking her? Is it because she wants help? You have tried talking him through this, so now it's time for the teacher to use a natural consequence for each ocassion of this. A minor consequence each time can be very helpful to make him aware and responsible. It might be 5 fewer minutes of a choice activity that the teacher has each day. Also, does the teacher have a signal that she uses at the beginning of the behavior? If she raises her finger, tilts her head, touches her hair, whatever she chooses, and he stops immediately, no consequence for now. But I would still recommend that if he continues to even begin to interrupt, it would be very helpful to have a small consequence each time. This will really help him be aware. Meanwhile I think the teacher also needs to have meaningful lesson material available for him and other students, when they finish earlier than others. This is just part of good teaching.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Jacksonville on

Have you tried discussing with him how his talking affects the other people in his class? You and I will instantly recognize that being finished with something does not entitle us to distract others who are still working on their task, but a third grader may not think of it.
Just having an arbitrary rule sometimes is less effective. If he is generally a polite, thoughtful young man, then remind him that refraining from talking while the other students are still working is good manners. It is rude and unkind to disrupt students who are still working. It may give him a different way to think that helps him control it.

Also, while getting his stick moved once a week or so isn't something you want to see, it really is all that is needed, if you ask me. Do you really expect your child to be perfect? Of course not. And so he will sometimes get his stick moved due to his weakness--talking. His teacher suggested working on it, and you are. But there is no need to make a bigger deal out of it, than it is.
I wouldn't punish him at home for it. However, if you'd like to implement some sort of positive reinforcement, that is something that would make sense. And extra at home, for extra effort at school...
If he goes a week without his stick being moved, then he can _______. If his stick is moved... no punishment. But no bonus, either. Just be careful that you don't end up with a situation where if he talks on Monday, he says, "oh well, the rest of the week won't matter." or something. LOL

You might ask the teacher if she would consider using a "code" that she can use to remind him to be quiet, without having to actually call him out. But, really, it seems like that is what the stick being moved is all about. There is no punishment attached to the stick being moved, right? It is a warning.
If he is getting it moved multiple times a day, then you have an issue that needs more serious attention, but that doesn't sound like what you have described.
Good luck.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Kansas City on

Both of my daughters have been tested as gifted and they both got in trouble for talking in class! Like your son they would finish their classwork quickly and then start talking. In their opinion they had nothing else to do :). After speaking with their teachers we worked it out that they would have the girls pick out special long term projects to work on when they were finished with their regular work early. Occasionally they also helped their peers who were struggling with their work, or read a book they kept in their desks. They need to stay challenged or they are bored and sitting quietly after every assignment isn't any fun! Reach out to the teacher- she should be able to help you! There is no reason your beautiful boy should keep feeling badly about his stick moving on top of feeling bored in class every day!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

what does he suggest?

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Amarillo on

I don’t think its something you should be too concerned about. He’s not disrespecting his teachers he just feels he has to be heard….Actually he’s got a strong personality and later in life that’s going to be one of his many strengths. As long as his grades are good and all I wouldn’t care about the stick going down

1 mom found this helpful
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