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Old 09-03-2008, 12:54 PM   #1
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Default What do you do when your child gets in trouble at school?

Or, if you're a teacher, what would you hope would happen at home when you have a discipline problem at school?

I have been doing a token economy with my oldest DS, who just started Kindergarten last week. Today is his 3rd day in his new class, as he was moved to a K-1st split class last Friday due to overcrowding.

Today in his agenda, which is sent back and forth daily, he had a "straight" face (as opposed to a smiley face or a sad face). This means that he broke a rule twice. The teacher sent home a discipline code list and the things checked were Disrespecting someone else's property and Not Following Directions. Rob says that he tore a nametag off the teacher's desk, but says he didn't do anything else.

We've never had discipline problems at school before (a couple of times the teacher had a conversation with me at preschool because he did something silly and off-color), so I really don't know how to handle this. I have already told him that he gets 5 tokens for anytime he brings home a smiley face or a reward from the Treasure Chest the teacher has, so I'm guessing that to follow that, I should take away tokens for breaking rules at school, just as I do here?

My parents always told me that if I got in trouble at school, I would get in trouble at home, also. What do you think about this policy?

Penny
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Old 09-03-2008, 01:02 PM   #2
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It has been awhile since my kids were in Kindergarten, but I don't think this particular disciplinary "rule" should ever change. If we want our teachers to be effective, we must support them. When in trouble at school, in trouble at home! (except in rare occasions where it has been proven that the teacher is the problem).
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Old 09-03-2008, 01:11 PM   #3
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Mistakes can happen. I got in big trouble in the 1st grade for poking someone in the eye with a pencil. It was a complete accident. Another little girl and I were playing around when we shouldn't have. But it wasn't a fight.

I got sent to the principal's office. I got yelled at. I was too scared, and so was the other little girl, to realize that we were there because everyone thought we got into a physical fight. Both girls were sent home. Parents were contacted. I got my butt majorly whooped at home. My mom never asked me what happened. To this day we still haven't talked about it. For that quarter, both girls got an "N" for needs improvement (the equivalent of an F) for behavior because of it. I was scarred for life.

I will ALWAYS ask my children to explain to me what happened at school before I decide how to handle the situation. My biggest rule is that if they are forthcoming and honest with me I tend to be a lot more rational.

If this is his first offense, I'd let him explain it to you. Then ask him if he know what he did was wrong. Ask why it was wrong. Ask him why he did it. Ask him if he'll do it again in the future. Ask him what would have been a better way to handle himself. Then explain to him how you will handle it in the future if there is a reaccurance.

If he's usually a good kid, I'd let him off with a warning. But only you know what works best with your kid.
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Old 09-03-2008, 01:15 PM   #4
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I also forgot to add: communication is the key! Good communication with your kid and with the teacher.

Instilling the importance of a good line of communication with your child when they are young will pay off when they are old and need to talk to you.

Last edited by Consuelo; 09-03-2008 at 01:22 PM.. Reason: add a sentence
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Old 09-03-2008, 01:39 PM   #5
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Mistakes can happen. I got in big trouble in the 1st grade for poking someone in the eye with a pencil. It was a complete accident. Another little girl and I were playing around when we shouldn't have. But it wasn't a fight.

I got sent to the principal's office. I got yelled at. I was too scared, and so was the other little girl, to realize that we were there because everyone thought we got into a physical fight. Both girls were sent home. Parents were contacted. I got my butt majorly whooped at home. My mom never asked me what happened. To this day we still haven't talked about it. For that quarter, both girls got an "N" for needs improvement (the equivalent of an F) for behavior because of it. I was scarred for life.

I will ALWAYS ask my children to explain to me what happened at school before I decide how to handle the situation. My biggest rule is that if they are forthcoming and honest with me I tend to be a lot more rational.

If this is his first offense, I'd let him explain it to you. Then ask him if he know what he did was wrong. Ask why it was wrong. Ask him why he did it. Ask him if he'll do it again in the future. Ask him what would have been a better way to handle himself. Then explain to him how you will handle it in the future if there is a reaccurance.

If he's usually a good kid, I'd let him off with a warning. But only you know what works best with your kid.
Oh, how horrible for you!

Did you ever tell your mom what really happened - later on?

I will ask the teacher to try and give me some information about what happened, if that's possible.

Normally a good kid - well, that's up for discussion. He has never had a problem in school (until now), but we do have big problems at home. He is very impulsive and does like to "peel" things, so I don't doubt that he got into trouble for what he says - tearing/peeling a nametag. I'm hoping the teacher will assert herself at the beginning of the year and we won't have future problems, but I will always back up the teacher.

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Old 09-03-2008, 02:05 PM   #6
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Oh, how horrible for you!

Did you ever tell your mom what really happened - later on?
I don't think anybody but me and the other little girl ever knew what really happened. I never told my mom. I did get over it. But I did learn a valuable lesson that I am trying to apply to my own parenting techniques. Thanks, Mom!
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Old 09-04-2008, 04:36 AM   #7
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Penny -

Most definitely try to get both sides of the story - don't just base your judgement on a sticker in his agenda book.

Since he 'fessed up to the issue with the teacher's name tag (and maybe he was touching it, and she asked him to stop several times - that might be why he only remembers the name tag), talk to him about that. Why did he feel the need to touch it? Did he think that was a good choice AFTER the teacher caught him? What might he have done differently?

Just because he is now in kindergarten, doesn't mean he is always going to make logical or mature decisions. That's part of the process.

And, if you are going on token basis...if he admits that he did it (whatever) on purpose, perhaps he should have to pay back some of the tokens he received for being good earlier in the week.

OR, since it was something of the teacher's, maybe ask him to make a new one or help him write a note of apology (neither have to be complex or perfect - it is a lesson in doing the right thing).

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Old 09-04-2008, 05:27 AM   #8
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I would definitely talk to the teacher, or send a note asking for a little more detail, but would also let DS know he is not off the hook.
Something to consider on the punishment with the tokens
Happy face = 5 tokens
straight face = 2 or 3 tokens ( figure half of the five )
sad face = no tokens
OR
Happy face = 5 tokens
straight face = no tokens
sad face = he owes you tokens

This way DS knows that he needs to behave at school and at home, that there are consequences for his actions.
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Old 09-04-2008, 06:02 AM   #9
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When my DS was in K, it took a while getting adjusted to the structure of teacher and the expectations of being a "student". We had the red, yellow, green light system. Usually my DS had green, but occasionally we had yellows. The yellows were more frequent in the beginning of the year. I would talk to my son, find out his understanding of his misbehavior/offense. We always devised a plan on how to make a different choice, use our words, etc. Then I would follow up with the teacher about her expectations and how he did not meet those. We didn't punish initially, but if there were multiple yellows (we set a number like 3, I don't remember), then we had consequences at home. A priviledge would be lost or work detail would be added. The consequence would be communicated to DS before the 3rd yellow. I would say something like, "You have 2 yellows, you are having difficulty sitting at the carpet. What do you need to do differently to keep from talking to Johnny or to avoid getting a yellow, etc. If you get another yellow this week, you will be on work detail." I would give him a specific chore at that time (usually this was to pull a set number of weeds. He doesn't like to pull weeds). So, my son would understand what was at risk. Most importantly, I communicated with him (actually yellows aren't that bad). Red lights are much worse and we worked on avoiding them. Eventually, he got the hang of it and he is doing well as far as the discipline in class goes. I didn't make him feel like he was a bad kid.

One last thing. This is a method for the teacher to communicate daily to you. It's simple and easy for the child to understand, measure and see. This will allow you to help your child grow and develop into a responsible child. Keep on top of it and check it daily, and if he starts coming home with lots of sad faces, then I would be worried. But, it's the beginning of the school year and the little quirks will get ironed out.
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Old 09-04-2008, 06:11 AM   #10
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every year, my kids get one 'freebie'

their freebie gets them a little mini lecture about my expectations and their responsibilities, but no punishment.

the next misstep recieves a punishment of some sort.
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Old 09-04-2008, 06:25 AM   #11
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I am new to this as my oldest is just now in kindergarten.

What we have decided to do was follow a similar discipline system as the teacher. DD is disciplined at school, so she doesn't receive discipline at home for the same thing. Although, we do discuss what happened and how to avoid the situation next time.

They get time outs at school - basically, the first time, their name goes in 'the' book - essentially a warning. Then, they have a 1-2-3-4. If number 1 is circled, they lose 5 minutes of recess time standing at the wall; for 2, its 10 minutes; for 3, its 15 minutes; and 4, the parents are called.

DD get three warnings, then a time out. It's not exactly the same, but it works because she absolutely despises time outs, so when we tell her that she will be getting one, she immediately stops the negative behavior.
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Old 09-04-2008, 06:32 AM   #12
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My daughter is having a bit of a rough start, not in school but on the bus and I know what is prompting her behavior, yet it cannot continue.

We had a long talk with her and I made a deal with the bus driver that she just has to give me a thumbs up if DD behaved on the bus that day and after five stickers of good behavior we will go out for ice cream or a slurpee. Then we'll bump it out to seven stickers and eventually the stickers will disappear.

Try positive reinforcement.

Also I agree highly with the other posters who said communication is key. My DS had a lot of trouble with one particular girl in his classroom (they were always in the same class for about five years in a row) and she would provoke him until he retaliated and that was always when the teacher turned around and saw it.

But I would listen and hear his side of the story and most definitely he would NOT get in trouble at home if it was provoked or he had a reasonable explanation. One time he had to write lines about his behavior towards this girl so we wrote, "I will be nice to 'Annie' if she is nice to me." . . . in retrospect probably not the best solution, but while we fulfilled the punishment the school assigned it also let DS know I was on his side.
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Old 09-04-2008, 09:46 AM   #13
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These are all fabulous stories and suggestions! As a "new" Kindergarten mom, I have no idea what to expect or how to handle things, obviously.

I really like the suggestion of getting 5 tokens for a smiley face, 0 for a straight face, and him owing me tokens for a sad face. I think that would make sense to him.

I haven't talked much to his teacher, but there is an orientation tonight for parents of pre-K, K and 1st grade parents on what how everything works and what is expected of the kids, so I may be able to talk to her tonight.

As I sat thinking about this yesterday, I vaguely remembered someone on here saying that the first 6 months of Kindergarter were a BIG adjustment. I'm seeing that now, I think. I have been told that this teacher is very firm, but very loving - I think that's perfect for him and eventually, he'll figure out what he is and isn't supposed to do. I asked him if he ripped the nametag/sticker off because he was mad, or if he just did it and wasn't thinking about it. He said he wasn't paying attention to what he was doing - which is TOTALLY like him. He loves to peel things and will peel the paint off the woodwork in his room if he doesn't pay more attention - it's just kind of an absentminded habit, albeit a bad one.

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Old 09-04-2008, 09:49 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by pblair38 View Post
Or, if you're a teacher, what would you hope would happen at home when you have a discipline problem at school?

I have been doing a token economy with my oldest DS, who just started Kindergarten last week. Today is his 3rd day in his new class, as he was moved to a K-1st split class last Friday due to overcrowding.

Today in his agenda, which is sent back and forth daily, he had a "straight" face (as opposed to a smiley face or a sad face). This means that he broke a rule twice. The teacher sent home a discipline code list and the things checked were Disrespecting someone else's property and Not Following Directions. Rob says that he tore a nametag off the teacher's desk, but says he didn't do anything else.

We've never had discipline problems at school before (a couple of times the teacher had a conversation with me at preschool because he did something silly and off-color), so I really don't know how to handle this. I have already told him that he gets 5 tokens for anytime he brings home a smiley face or a reward from the Treasure Chest the teacher has, so I'm guessing that to follow that, I should take away tokens for breaking rules at school, just as I do here?

My parents always told me that if I got in trouble at school, I would get in trouble at home, also. What do you think about this policy?

Penny
My parents always told me if I got in trouble at school, I'd be in MORE trouble at home. I think its a great policy and one that I institute as well.
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Old 09-04-2008, 01:15 PM   #15
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I had some issues with behavior with my son in kindergarten as well. We would discuss what he did and what he should have done or why it was wrong to do whatever it was that he did. Sometimes he wasn't in the wrong and we would discuss that too.

Unfortunately in our case I think his teacher somehow decided that he was a bad kid and he almost always had something written on his behavior card. She also refused to move him away from a kid that I felt was a troublemaker (I had the kid over for a playdate once - and couldn't stand him - he was obnoxious, rude and blamed things on my son even when I watched him do it). Anyway, once my son was put into first grade in a different class from the troublemaker - he never got in trouble. We finally gave up on punishing him because he would have been grounded the whole year of kindergarten. What's funny is that most people tell me what beautiful manners he has and that he is such a well behaved kid so I really kind of think the teacher had it out for him.
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Old 09-04-2008, 01:26 PM   #16
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I had some issues with behavior with my son in kindergarten as well. We would discuss what he did and what he should have done or why it was wrong to do whatever it was that he did. Sometimes he wasn't in the wrong and we would discuss that too.

Unfortunately in our case I think his teacher somehow decided that he was a bad kid and he almost always had something written on his behavior card. She also refused to move him away from a kid that I felt was a troublemaker (I had the kid over for a playdate once - and couldn't stand him - he was obnoxious, rude and blamed things on my son even when I watched him do it). Anyway, once my son was put into first grade in a different class from the troublemaker - he never got in trouble. We finally gave up on punishing him because he would have been grounded the whole year of kindergarten. What's funny is that most people tell me what beautiful manners he has and that he is such a well behaved kid so I really kind of think the teacher had it out for him.

One thing I've noticed when I volunteer is that kids labelled as trouble makers get shafted a lot. The class is quick to tell on them before the trouble maker get a chance to self-correct their behavior.
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Old 09-04-2008, 01:57 PM   #17
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I had some issues with behavior with my son in kindergarten as well. We would discuss what he did and what he should have done or why it was wrong to do whatever it was that he did. Sometimes he wasn't in the wrong and we would discuss that too.

Unfortunately in our case I think his teacher somehow decided that he was a bad kid and he almost always had something written on his behavior card. She also refused to move him away from a kid that I felt was a troublemaker (I had the kid over for a playdate once - and couldn't stand him - he was obnoxious, rude and blamed things on my son even when I watched him do it). Anyway, once my son was put into first grade in a different class from the troublemaker - he never got in trouble. We finally gave up on punishing him because he would have been grounded the whole year of kindergarten. What's funny is that most people tell me what beautiful manners he has and that he is such a well behaved kid so I really kind of think the teacher had it out for him.
I think you're right about this. My step-mother has decided on her own that he is "hyper" - I don't know what that means, although after 30 years of teaching, I guess she thinks that she is qualified to diagnose him. He is not hyper. He is a boy - she raised two extremely inactive girls. She "suggested" that I TELL his teacher that he is hyper. Uh...yeah. That sounds like a good plan. Tell that teacher so that she is expecting to have trouble with him. Unfortunately, kids tend to live up to our expectations, good or bad. He's never given the teacher trouble in his preschool or pre-K classes, so I just expected (hoped?) that the same would be true for "big" school. I believe that some teachers have preconceived notions about some kids based on siblings/previous behavior/etc., and/or they let an incident or two color the whole year. I don't think ALL teachers do this - just some. I experienced this in school myself, although the opposite - I was always a "goody two-shoes" and often should have gotten into trouble but didn't.

He got another smiley face today! He said that he got a time out at recess, but that the entire class did. I didn't fully understand exactly what happened, but I figure if the whole class got into trouble for something, and he still came home with a smiley face, I'm not going to stress over it.
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Old 09-04-2008, 02:05 PM   #18
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Sounds like you got some good advice from everyone already---one suggestion I have is don't wait for curriculum night to talk to the teacher---normally they don't have time to talk individually to parents, it is more of a snapshot of the day and what to expect. I would email the teacher, and ask what were some of the things that he did to warrant a face---my school district the teachers respond quickly to emails, in fact I think they have to respond within 24 hours, but usually I never have to wait that long.
Communication between you and the teacher and your son goes along way to help him to understand what is expected of his as well. HTH
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Old 09-04-2008, 03:06 PM   #19
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Sounds like you got some good advice from everyone already---one suggestion I have is don't wait for curriculum night to talk to the teacher---normally they don't have time to talk individually to parents, it is more of a snapshot of the day and what to expect. I would email the teacher, and ask what were some of the things that he did to warrant a face---my school district the teachers respond quickly to emails, in fact I think they have to respond within 24 hours, but usually I never have to wait that long.
Communication between you and the teacher and your son goes along way to help him to understand what is expected of his as well. HTH
Oh, I did email. I asked about exactly what he did, and about their discipline system. They don't use the green/yellow/red system that the K teachers use (again, he's in a K/1 split, and his teachers normally are just 1st grade teachers), but they do get two warnings before going to the straight face. I just got a very nice email back from her assuring me that he is a good boy and that she thought he was probably restless yesterday and to not be alarmed by the straight face. She also said that he was kind and a diligent student. I wish I could get this kind, diligent student to stop slugging his 2YO brother at home!!! (But we're working on that!)

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Old 09-09-2008, 07:17 AM   #20
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Way back in the olden days when my stepbrother and I were in 5th grade (I think), he got into a short punch-fest with some kid at school (I naturally ratted on him when we got home ) and the teacher had told him (and the other kid) to write a 500 word essay on why they shouldn't hit people. I think it was supposed to start something like "I shouldn't hit a class mate because".

Anyway, we were trying to figure out how long it would take him to write it and how hard it was going to be to come up with 500 words. I had a brilliant idea. I suggested that after the "because" he put something like "he might yell".......and then write the word "ouch" 490 more times.

We did clear this with my stepmother because she had no sense of humor when it came to getting in trouble in school. Surprisingly, she and my dad started laughing and said, "why not". So, he wrote the ouch-ouch paper.

When he turned it in the next morning the teacher had to leave the classroom because she'd started grinning and had to get out before she started laughing.

Nothing was ever said again.
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Old 09-09-2008, 12:26 PM   #21
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As a parent and as a teacher, I felt that mild issues at school stayed at school. I communicated to the parents if something went wrong that day because I felt they had a right to know, but I also felt that I had already handled it and would have been upset if the parents further disciplined the kids. I think a `chat' with mom and/or dad is appropriate, but that's it.

However, for more severe issues (fighting, bullying, racist comments, defacing school property) and issues that were ongoing, I wanted parental support at home. Sometimes the support that is needed at home is the reward based on school behaviour. For example, if my son gets all of his stuff to each class, and remembers to bring home his planner, lunch bag and homework, he gets 30 minutes on the computer that night. The only real reward that teachers can give are `treasure box items' or candy. DS is too old for the treasure box, and I don't want him getting the candy (teacher doesn't have candy anyway). So, the home reward works well, and works far better than a punishment at school (like taking recess away - he has ADHD and needs the break).

Above all else, open communication is the key. Let the teacher know you are willing to help in any way and to let you know if s/he has suggestions that you can do to help with classroom behaviour. Many parents are not open to that, so letting the teacher know you are willing to support her will give her more options.
momof2stampers is offline  
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