My two boys are 5 and 6. They, have been having behavior problems at their summer day care center. The six year old in particular has been acting in an inappropriate manner. These problems are escalating. At first he either refused to follow or ignored directions (such as getting out of the pool, etc.) I understand that this is relatively normal, but despite our best efforts his behavior has not improved In fact, it has worsened. He began running away from the group and pulling temper tantrums. We were concerned of course and were working hard to help him understand that one of the natural consequences of misbehaving is that you don't have as much fun. Then he started hitting people. First he got into a fist fight with another child. Another time he tried to knock someone down. The last straw came when he was put in time out (again). He refused, and then HIT AND KICKED THE COUNCILOR. They had to send him home. I told him that he was grounded from TV for two days. He threw a fit. That's not the major problem. After I calmed down I sat down to talk to him. The conversation went like this:
Me: "Devon, why did you kick the councilor?" Him: (reluctantly) "I dunno, I just did". Me: We don't hit other people. Do you know why?" Him: "nooo" Me: "please try and think of a reason OK?" Him:"Ummm because it's bad" Me: But what makes it bad? Him: Because I'm not supposed to. Me: What does it feel like when someone kicks you? Him: I don't like it Me: Why not? Him: because it hurts Me: So how do you think other people feel when you kick them? Him: *shrug* Me: Do you think that they like it? Him: *shakes head* Me: Right. They don't like it. It hurts to get kicked, right? Him: *nods* Me: So we don't kick people OK? Him: *nods reluctantly* Me: Why do we not kick people? Him: Ummm...because I'm not supposed to. I wanted to tear my hair out.
Later I tried a different approach. I asked him to describe his normal day. Not only did I want to get a clearer picture of what had lead up to the incident I honestly wanted to know how he spent his day.
Me: "So, what do you do at day camp?" Him: Ummmmm... Me: "Well, what is the first thing you do when you get there?" Him: play basketball... (With some coaching "and then what do you do?" I got a pretty good grasp of his schedule.) Me: So what happened today? Him: Nothing... Me: Your teacher told me that you were in time out. Him: Uh-uh! Me: You weren't in time out? Him: Well, you see I didn't get to go swimming because I threw my towel in the pool. People who don't get to go swimming have to play on the grass. Me: So you played on the grass? Him: No...Yes! Me: He also told me that you kicked him. When did you kick him? When you were playing on the grass? Him: No, I was in time out. Me: I thought you said that you weren't in time out? Him: *No answer* Me: so what did the councilor do before you kicked him? Him: *Shrug* Me: did he put you in time out? Him: yeah... Me: Why? Him: I just did Me: were you angry? Him: yeah Me: what were you angry at? Him: You see, the other day we went finger painting and I painted a plate and then we went to lunch and I went back to get my drink from snack but I swam to get it and then Ewan started crying and...etc... Me: This happened today? him: No, the OTHER day. Me: so what happened today? Him: Nothing. I was good today. Me: You're telling me that you were perfectly good today *?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?* Him: *Happily* Yup! *Pause* Can I watch TV? Me: no, you're grounded. Him: But I want to watch TV! *Tantrum*
What do I do? What can I do? He won't tell me the truth, he tries to hide it. I guess he thinks that it will make me more mad at him. I try to explain that it won't make me mad but it will help me to help him feel better and won't want to kick people anymore. He's like "Yes ma'am" and nothing changes.
My boy is hurting. He's hurting others and hurting himself, but I can't figure out why! All I can do is punish him, but that doesn't solve the problem. It's as if he's actively TRYING not to understand and he shows no interest in solving the problem whatsoever. I hug him and tell him that I love him very much and that I miss playing with him. Unfortunately I have to ground him because he can't behave. Lets try to think of things that will help you...and he changes the subject.
This post is already too long, but I don't know what else to do. He's going to a Psychologist on Wednesday to get tested for stuff like ADD and Depression, but what can I do in the meantime? We're both miserable, and I don't know how long I can take that.