How do we teach kids self control?

My 6-year-old son can read on a third-grade level, finish long chapter books in one night and can multiply. However, he can’t seem to control himself at school.

He is not a bad little boy. He is very loving, very empathetic and always willing to share. But he is very chatty (in his genes) and is also very touchy (also my genetic fault).

In addition to his genetic dispositions, he is a boy with a late spring birthday. I like to credit a lot of the issues to that fact. (We couldn’t redshirt him though for Kindergarten, he’s just too smart to hold back. I think he would be more misbehaved bored.)

For the last two years I have spent way too much time on the phone with teachers hearing about how he is talking too much in circle time or touching other kids in line or in the lunchroom.

His kindergarten teacher was very patient and her mantra was “He will get it.” And by that spring, when his age and maturity caught up with his classmates his conduct grades were finally improving.

But here we are again, new school year, new wonderful teacher and the little guy is in trouble pretty frequently. We’re trying different carrots and sticks at home and at school. But I am frustrated. I just don’t understand why after losing TV, computer and video games for three of the last 8 weeks the kid doesn’t say “Hmm, I guess I’m not going to touch that other kid or talk in the hall.” I’m not sure how to get that decision made in his little head.

(A teacher friend suggests he’s bored and that’s why he’s getting into trouble. I’m talking with his teacher about this theory this afternoon. We’ll see what she thinks.I’m not sure he’s bored in the bathroom. I think there’s just no teacher watching!)

Michael found this story about self-control in The New York Times Magazine. It’s about a new school of thought that believes that role playing frequently and for many years as children, practicing making decision and using cues to help them remember, will help kids learn to have more self-control.

Paul Tough reports in The New York Times Magazine:

“Over the last few years, a new buzz phrase has emerged among scholars and scientists who study early-childhood development, a phrase that sounds more as if it belongs in the boardroom than the classroom: executive function. Originally a neuroscience term, it refers to the ability to think straight: to order your thoughts, to process information in a coherent way, to hold relevant details in your short-term memory, to avoid distractions and mental traps and focus on the task in front of you. And recently, cognitive psychologists have come to believe that executive function, and specifically the skill of self-regulation, might hold the answers to some of the most vexing questions in education today. “

“The ability of young children to control their emotional and cognitive impulses, it turns out, is a remarkably strong indicator of both short-term and long-term success, academic and otherwise. In some studies, self-regulation skills have been shown to predict academic achievement more reliably than I.Q. tests. The problem is that just as we’re coming to understand the importance of self-regulation skills, those skills appear to be in short supply among young American children. In one recent national survey, 46 percent of kindergarten teachers said that at least half the kids in their classes had problems following directions. In another study, Head Start teachers reported that more than a quarter of their students exhibited serious self-control-related negative behaviors, like kicking or threatening other students, at least once a week. Walter Gilliam, a professor at Yale’s child-study center, estimates that each year, across the country, more than 5,000 children are expelled from pre-K programs because teachers feel unable to control them.”

“At the heart of the Tools of the Mind methodology is a simple but surprising idea: that the key to developing self-regulation is play, and lots of it. But not just any play. The necessary ingredient is what Leong and Bodrova call “mature dramatic play”: complex, extended make-believe scenarios, involving multiple children and lasting for hours, even days. If you want to succeed in school and in life, they say, you first need to do what Abigail and Jocelyn and Henry have done every school day for the past two years: spend hour after hour dressing up in firefighter hats and wedding gowns, cooking make-believe hamburgers and pouring nonexistenttea, doing the hard, serious work of playing pretend.”

The scientists have found that there are rules to pretend play and when kids make other kids play within the rules of make believe they learn self control.

I did start trying some role playing with him last night after reading this article. I’m sure it’s not up to their standards but maybe it will help it stick in his head what he should do if someone wants to play in line or in the bathroom. I’m also going to try to have him run off some energy before he gets on the bus in the morning. She says morning time is hard for him.

So what do you think about these techniques and the concept of learning self control? Is it something that develops with time? Is it something that can be learned or is it all about maturity?

I am very interested in your thoughts on this program and any constructive ideas you have to help me teach my little guy more self control. (Please don’t be ugly about my kid. I’m thrilled to have your ideas and your help, but if you don’t have anything constructive to say just don’t say it.)

(I had router problems yesterday. So, I am giving you two blogs today. The second blog has a bunch of interesting stories I wanted to make sure you all saw. See the blog under this one.)

70 comments Add your comment

Jessica

October 1st, 2009
12:37 am

I wonder, between the all the scheduled activites and TV time, if there is enough room left for pretend play in our kids lives.

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lakerat

October 1st, 2009
7:36 am

My son has a June birthday so he was always way “younger” than most of his peers. The children’s choir director at our church summed him up at about age 4 when he said he would see our older son (2 1/2 years older than the brother) always sitting on the front row being the perfect child while the younger one was on the back row, crawling under chairs “looking for a party”!

And, he had difficulty, if you can call it that, all through elementary school staying seated and not bothering anyone – sounds a lot like the way you have described Walsh. He did settle down tremendously after about the 4th grade, so I would say that it is more of a maturity thing – we, too, should have “redshirted” (tell Michael that you can now go back to UGA ball games since you used that term correctly) at some point, but we did not and he did well both academicaly and athletically even though he was, in some cases, a full year, and sometime more, younger than some peers.

Also, it is partly the second child syndrome, coupled with being a male child, and is not necessarily a “problem”, even though, to you, and sometimes his teachers, it may seem “problematic”, if you can tell the difference! Being smart and friendly is NOT a problem, though it is difficult, sometimes, for us as parents and educators to deal with it efficiently!

Annie

October 1st, 2009
7:47 am

Instead of taking tv/videogames for a week at a time, how about just taking them away completely until he learns what it’ll take to get them back. My niece was misbehaving at school and was overheard saying she’ll lose some privileges for her bad behavior but will get them back in the end. That was the end of that – she hasn’t had tv in a month, and is showing definite signs of improvement with her school work.

BRC

October 1st, 2009
7:48 am

Theresa, I feel you. We had similar issues and on our kindergarten teacher’s recommendation, had a few consultations with a child therapist. The Dr. recommended something I never would have thought of for a child his age – strategy games. According to this therapist, games like checkers, Connect 4, or Topple can teach a child cause and effect. Somehow, the child can take the lesson of “if I move into this space, my piece will get jumped” from checkers and apply it to “if I talk during circle time, it disrupts the class”. The Dr. said that learning games that teach a child to slow down and think first before acting can help in learning self-control. We tried it, and had some success with it in kindergarten. In addition, we got some great games and have had such fun teaching both the kindergartner and the younger sib to play. (Although now, the younger sib still tries to emotionally blackmail the older one by saying “we can play checkers, but you can’t jump me because I’ll cry.” That’s a whole different issue – teaching fair play.)

With that in mind, I can see how the role playing would be another teaching tool. I’ve heard ours playing that they were going to the movies, so I’ll pipe in and say “how would we stand in line waiting for tickets at the movies?” They usually answer appropriately, then they go back to their playing and I go back to whatever I was doing. But at least I know that they know what the appropriate behavior is and if there is a problem later, I can go back to it as a reminder. If they didn’t say “stand nicely and wait our turn,” then I would have addressed it then. Make sense?

The Dr. also said that time is a great factor. I believe that you just have to give some kids time, which can be hard in a classroom setting because there are so many other kids that are affected.

Hang in there! It will get better.

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

October 1st, 2009
8:06 am

Thanks guys for being understanding and helpful. I really appreciate all the suggestions.

I will be running out to by strategy games. Boy Annie, I will have to think on it — I hear what you’re saying but I think it will completely crush him!! but maybe that would do it!! I’ll think on that one!!

Lakerat — a mom friend sent me a note last night and oddly she agreed that fourth grade things got better — hmmmm — that’s three more years!!!

Becky

October 1st, 2009
8:12 am

Our boy has this problem more than the girl..She is docile (sp) and will be still for an hour or more at a time..The boy is always wiggling and moving around..He does this more at church than school..They both do a lot of role playing..Just this past weekend, he was a bunny rabbit and she was a dog..They both drank out of a bowl on the floor and he ate carrots and she ate “dogfood”..She likes to buy the imatation crab meat at the grocery store and then calls it dogfood..

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

October 1st, 2009
8:24 am

IN church he does pretty well — he’ll sit and follow along and be pretty quiet as long as he’s not by the baby –in sunday school when he’s with other boys he’s pretty wild — although it is at night he’s just done by then –

Photius

October 1st, 2009
8:26 am

Like so many parents today, you can always take the easy way out: Medicate him on mind altering behavioral drugs!

Seriously, Annie’s suggestion is one I totally agree with and is a superb strategy.

Lori

October 1st, 2009
8:35 am

There seems to be a common thread in the ideas presented for getting kids to behave better in school. The commonality is: Spend more time with your kids at home. Pretty simple really. Kids today get no human interaction anymore. They spend all day in front of tvs and computer games. Sure pretend play can teach them real life lessons, playing games can teach them stragegies and cause/effect. But the reality is, to do these things, you are spending time with your kids. The parent a childs main educator, not the classroom teacher. It’s time that parents realize that, stop blaming others, and get on with some real parenting!!!

DB

October 1st, 2009
8:43 am

In reading the Leong and Bodrova study, the thing that struck me was that basically, what they are describing is, literally, child’s play, which is something that many kids just don’t have any more. It came pretty naturally when kids got home from school, threw their books down, changed clothes and ran back outside as fast as they could to play with the other kids in the neighborhood. In play with other children, it’s remarkable how kids tend to regulate themselves pretty well, if adults don’t hover, determined to direct every facet of their play. Children have very definite ideas of what is “fair” — and it’s always been a given that in any high school’s honor council, the kids will impose sanctions for violations that are usually far stricter than those that faculty would have imposed. In free play, kids would fuss at other kids for behaviors that irritate them, or just “take away privileges” and refuse to play with them. Also, a lot of role-play play happened naturally.

Most kids don’t have the opportunities for free play that earlier generations did. I doubt Walsh runs outside to play with his neighborhood buddies for three hours before dinner — almost no child does, today, in their tightly structured world. In an ideal world, Walsh wouldn’t have time for video games because of free play with other kids.

Another thought: I wonder if Walsh’s behaviors bother the other kids, or if it’s just the teacher? Is he really disrupting the class, or is it the teacher’s lack of tolerance for wriggly little boys? Food for thought.

I taught my son (and myself) how to play chess, the ultimate strategy game, when he was 5. I beat him almost every time until he was almost 7 — and then he finally figured out the advantages of sacrificing pieces in order to further a goal. Once that fell into place, I almost never beat him again! And the games became considerably longer as he and I would consider consequences of a series of moves.

BRC, I had to chuckled at your younger one warning that “they will cry.” I think you need to quietly teach your older child that the next time the child says that, the older one should just hand them a tissue and say, “OK, now you’re ready.” :-) Kids (or adults) don’t bother crying if it doesn’t further their agenda!

Maturity will cure most of the problems, too — try to take a long view.

Michelle

October 1st, 2009
8:44 am

Theresa, I feel your pain! LOL! We had LOTS of problems last year in Kindergarten. It has been much better this year. It started out a little shaky, but when I asked the little guy what needed to be done to help him behave better…his response was go to be earlier! And…it has helped! So, our routine is to start bath/shower time at 7 and be in bed by 7:45 and hopefully asleep by 8!

Another thing we do is utilize the “levels” at home too. If he is doing something good/bad, we let him know what level he is at! For example, if he is picking/pestering the dogs, I let him know he is on level 1-2 behavior. Likewise, I also tell him that he is on level 3-4 when he shows good behavior without being prompted (setting the table, feeding the dogs, etc.)

It has really been a rough road, so I can understand what you are going through. I have also noticed that when he has some one on one, uninterruped, mommy time, he does a lot better too! Oh, and consistency between the parents! As mommies, we want to protect our little ones, BUT, we have to be firm and give the punishment AND stick to it! :) Not just threatening with no follow through!

I have seen some changes this year, but it is SLOW going. I know when he is frustrated, it seems to be worse. Sometimes he acts out in response to feeling left out or ignored. He’s really a sensitive kid and his feelings are hurt easily. (Like you, this has nothing to do with playing in the bathroom though!)

Good luck! Hang in there!

Lisa

October 1st, 2009
8:45 am

Send them outside for good old fashioned playing with the neighbors. Get out of the house, away from the computer, tv, PS2, etc.

My daughter couldn’t keep her mouth shut. I was constantly getting calls, letters, emails, etc about her mouth.

The government schools want to make little robots of the kids. If they don’t sit still, they have ADD or ADHD, or some other stupid diagnosis, and get them on medication.

Send them outside for recess. Kids CANNOT sit still all day long……..

Single mom

October 1st, 2009
8:50 am

Theresa – I feel your pain….however my son is 3 years old and we have the same problem in class. EVERYDAY I get an email saying he wouldnt keep his hand to his self in line or during circle time. When he’s busy he is fine. She too keep saying he’s young, he just turned 3 he will get it. I will sit back and read all suggestions. Thanks for the topic.

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

October 1st, 2009
8:53 am

I do think he needs to run more and get more exercise — he has a lot of energy and you’d think i was asking him to wash the car when I suggest they go out back and play. I usually make them have some outdoor time but I think it’s going to be more physical and longer — I think a family walk in the afternoon would help with the sleep thing like we learned last week — like a mile or two — OK — all are good suggestions — Michael loves chess so maybe that is something they could work on together — Walsh is pretty smart. I bet he could pick it up —

Our bedtime is pretty early and most times he falls asleep before anyone else — he is very ready to go in the morning — this morning I made him run circles around a big pine island in the front yard before getting on the bus —

I also give him allergy medicine every morning — I’ve never noticed it bothering him but maybe it’s working against impulse control — the other option is sneezing everywhere — may have to wait until after hayfever season to see if that’s playing a role — hmmm

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

October 1st, 2009
8:59 am

Not to off ramp our discussion but a 2-grade girl has died of swine flu in Dalton!!! Very, very sad! She had no underlying health problems.

http://www.ajc.com/news/dalton-second-grader-dies-151690.html

lakerat

October 1st, 2009
9:08 am

I find it interesting that the more you write about this topic the more we find out about “external” stimuli – i.e. allergy medication – that may be playing a part in this normal behavior. Pls determine what “stimulant” may be in this med, as this could be having a direct impact.

Also, be careful about the morning “workout – if I recall correctly you wrote last year that he fell asleep almost every day on the bus trip home and had to awakened by your daughter at the bus stop. You do not want him falling asleep at school!

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

October 1st, 2009
9:15 am

the allergy med is zyrtec which they can give to babies 6 months old — it’s usually pretty benign. My girlfriend was a marketing executive for them — I’m going to call her later — I don’t really think it’s that but I also don’t want to throw it out of the equation — I think Benadryl would put him to sleep —

not falling asleep on the bus anymore — want him to be alert at school just not bouncing off the walls.

Michelle

October 1st, 2009
9:22 am

Theresa, maybe switch the Zyrtec to bedtime instead of morning! Most people that take it state that it makes them sleepy!

I give my little guy allergy medicine (claritin), but I give it at bedtim too!

JJ

October 1st, 2009
9:23 am

Theresa, a family walk aint gonna cut it. That boy needs to get outside and PLAY with the neighborhood kids. They need to run and to play and to just be little kids. Most parents don’t allow that….they want their kids so structured there isn’t time for outside free play. Don’t you remember being young? We were NEVER in the house. From sun up to sun down the only time we came home was to eat, then we were back outside again. Even in winter, you couldn’t keep us inside.

People are so afraid to let their kids out today. Just last night, myself and two neighbors were outside with four young kids. There were two little 6 year olds, and two toddlers, but they were running and running and having a grand time. OUTSIDE PLAY!!!!

That’s what these kids need. That and if Walsh is as smart as you say, get him interested in playing chess with his father. Added benefit is father-son bonding.

Stephanie

October 1st, 2009
9:37 am

All of the posters seem to agree that more time outside and free time to role play is needed. Just to throw wnother topic in here, what about President Obama’s call for longer/more school days? I personally think young children are in school too long as it is, and would benefit from more time to just be allowed to play, and be with their parents- who generally love and understand the child and have the time and patience to work on character issues…

Becky

October 1st, 2009
9:44 am

The boy enjoys building things with his Poppy..They ride bicycles on the weekends, he has a bow and arrow that they shoot..He’s always moving and doing something..We are always at the lake or in the woods hiking with them..He has now decided that fishing is the best thing that he has ever done..The girl is all girly though..Makeup, hair and cooking..She loves to fish, but is having no part of touching them..

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

October 1st, 2009
9:56 am

Michelle – that’s good idea!

motherjanegoose

October 1st, 2009
9:56 am

I am in St. Louis and off to a meeting. Great topic. I too, see kids who fall in this category.
My son and daughter were May and June birthdays and we did not have trouble with this.
We have also played games, as a family, since they were little and if you lose…you lose…that is life. So that is intersting to me. One thing I see: 78 kids who are having a great time during the sessions I share and 4 who are either out to lunch or deliberately bothering others who are near them. Seems like something is not right.

I also remember someone telling me once that the more screen time ( TV hand held videos computers etc.) children have, the more trouble they have in the classroom….not sure about it but it may be something to try!

@ HB in USA TODAY ( today) 31 million children are on subsidized school lunches and last week some teachers were telling me that they have moms ( of these children) who carry DOONEY AND BURKE PURSES….they brought it up…not me …I immediately thought of you. What is the price tag for feeding 31 million children lunch and perhaps breakfast too? HMMM.

pd

October 1st, 2009
10:19 am

Have him run laps. The idea that unstructured free time outside will help is not something I completely agree with. While every child needs to have free time, Walsh’s problem seems to be dealing with rules, so I don’t believe that giving him more time without them is the answer.

I would have him run laps and do other structured exercises. I have my 6 year old do push ups, sit ups, run laps, and other activities when he is too “keyed up” to sit still. Once he has completed the exercises, he can do whatever he wants.

Anyone who has ever played sports knows that lap running is an appropriate punishment for missing and assignment.

Jesse's Girl

October 1st, 2009
10:20 am

We are having the same issues with our son….1st grader too! He is the baby…but doesn’t get his way. He loves to play pretend…we’ve never had any gaming system other than a Wii and no one plays it! The kids get to watch one 30 minute show per day..usually after school..and thats it. So none of the issues stated above really apply to us. The Boy is just a very talkative, active kid who has said on a number of occassions that school is very boring. He doesn’t like it and isn’t afraid to tell you so. His teachers comment A LOT on his charming personality. Jesse calls him Stifler behind his back. Which makes me cringe….he definitely knows how to play up the charm though:) He gets good grades….he just gets done very quickly and then can’t sit still. So that creates boredom and then the words crap and fan come to mind:)

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

October 1st, 2009
10:42 am

Oh my goodness JG – they sound so much alike — Walsh is a total charmer!!! I watch him talking to teenage girls all the time and am thinking this is my future!!!! Last winter he had an 18 year old swim instructor that looked like Rachael McAdams and she just adored him!! he was in trouble one time when he was 4 at Rose’s field day. I put him in time out and the next thing you know 2 fifth grade girls were talking to him telling him how cute he was!!

On the boredom thing — Walsh has said on numerous occasions that his teacher only teaches the easy stuff. (I keep waiting for it to get harder) I’ve only seen one B and the rest 100s on every assignment he has brought home. He literally does 8 pages of homework in less than 15 minutes. He just zooms through and is entirely self motivated there. I don’t have to stand near him telling him to work – he just does it. There he does show self-control. He’s fairly certain he only missed one of the Cogat test last week. it wouldn’t surprise me.

I am going to talk with his teacher today about how the boredom plays a role in his loose ends.

Jesse's Girl

October 1st, 2009
10:45 am

Are you sure they aren’t related? One good thing…The Boy’s teacher was also middle daughter’s teacher. So she has known him since he was a baby. She requested him…so I know she loves him and has his best interests in mind. He’s just so dern bored.

CC

October 1st, 2009
11:03 am

Definitely consider the suggestion about switching the allergy medication to bedtime. I am not a parent, but as a school counselor, I have learned that some medications (such as asthma medication/inhalers) can cause children to be more active/inattentive. He sounds very bright and he may very well be bored if he thinks that everything is too easy. He may need some enrichment activities to extend the regular curriculum. Maybe the teacher could assign him to be a helper of some sort, either a class helper or a teacher’s helper. If he’s a good reader or really good in math, maybe the teacher would consider allowing him to serve as a buddy or peer tutor. Is there a possibility that he may be gifted and should be evaluated to see if he qualifies for gifted services? I would ask the teacher when you meet with her.

ATL06

October 1st, 2009
11:21 am

My son falls into this category. He is extremely intelligent but gets bored very easily. He just turned 9 in August and he is in the fourth grade, he is always the youngest in the class. He did okay as far as behavior up until last year and then his 3rd grade teacher ended up not showing up on the first day of school. After about three weeks with a sub I think that they pulled his teacher out of a retirement home and put her in the classroom. The only way to describe the class was sheer pandemonium. Fast forward to fourth grade his classes are split between 2 teachers English/ Social Studies and Math/Science. He loves one teacher cannot stand the other. The second week of school I went in to the school to see how he was doing the teacher that he likes told me that she understands and she’s willing to work with him and that he asks some of the most amazing questions. The Teacher that he doesn’t care for when I met her I was immediately taken aback her disposition is horrible and my son now says that she just does’nt like him (which I think is true). I am at my witts end the next step is to arrange a conference with a mediator. The funny thing is I recieve emails or calls from his other teacher updating me about his progress never anything from her.

Zaboo

October 1st, 2009
11:25 am

jack5656

October 1st, 2009
11:33 am

Seems to me you first have to determine if he is actually in control of his actions or not. On one hand you say that he’s genetically disposed to be chatty and feely, which would imply that the other kids in class are at some genetic advantage over Walsh and therefore he’s really not responsible for these problems.

On the other hand, you say he does fine in church when you and Michael are there.

Ask yourself this…if Michael were in class with him everyday, would he still have this problem or would an authority figure that he knows will lay the smackdown on him shape him up in school? If you think the hypothetical “Michael in class” scenario would solve the problem, then I think you just have a discipline problem with Walsh, regardless of how smart and/or bored he is. I mean, let’s face it, 6 year olds aren’t sitting quietly through church services because they’re taking it all in and introspectively making sure they listen so they can have a fulfilling afterlife. I stayed quiet in church so I didn’t spend the rest of the day cleaning the garage. I’m 39 now and can’t remember one church sermon of my adolescence. Sorry…went off on a tangent there.

If you don’t think the ‘Michael in class” hypothetical would solve the problem, then you just might be right about him being too advanced for his grade. Maybe you should ask to let him skip a grade or put him in a private school where they can challenge him to a degree he deserves. Still, if he’s genetically disposed to this and he just needs to let his DNA evolve to a point of appropriateness..then you might just have to wait it out because its way beyond your control.

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

October 1st, 2009
11:36 am

I am really really appreciating all these constructive thoughts!!!

anonymous

October 1st, 2009
11:45 am

Hi Theresa….been a while since I looked in. Ask Michael what he and you would have done when he put the paperclip in the electrical outlet in 8th grade electronics class in Naples, shorting out the entire side of the class. I remember the teacher (Mr. Magnanes, maybe was his name) with a really scared look on his face telling Michael “you could have killed yourself”. In the same class, he was party to using a soldering iron to make a quarter about 300 degrees, then throwing it down the table to watch the face of an unsuspecting kid in class pick it up. We also used to switch all our names for sub teachers and try to get in trouble so that our real teacher would be pissed at the wrong person when he or she got back. Or the time we threw flaming paper airplanes out of science class and the teacher closed the windows of our un-air conditioned class during the hottest part of the school year. If memory serves me correct, he was also an active participant in a pretty big food fight at the happy horseshoe (nickname for our school). I could go on to some other stuff that Mike pulled, but really the point is that maybe the apple just hasn’t fallen far from the tree.

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

October 1st, 2009
11:50 am

I’ve never heard any of this in 17 years!!! I’m shocked — i knew he got into a lot of fights but never general mayhem —- hmmm we may have to discuss that as well — hmmm — very good info! thanks!!

HB

October 1st, 2009
11:54 am

Theresa, for allergy medication, you may want to look at other options. I take Zyrtec, but for the first month or so it made me sluggish. Even taking it at night I would hit a post-lunch crash harder than I do without it, so it wouldn’t surprise me it it affected a child’s impulse control a bit. I don’t notice any side effects from Allegra or Claritin, but they also don’t work as well for me (Claritin does nothing at all). Are nasal steroid sprays, like Flonase, safe for a child that age? I wouldn’t think those would cause any sleepiness/restlessness, etc.

anonymous

October 1st, 2009
11:59 am

fights must have waited until GA. That’s the one thing I was actually never witness with him. He was the funniest guy we knew, god help you if you got into a battle of wits with him, he destroyed people in that arena…given that, it’s amazing that I never did see him get his ass kicked, he certainly deserved it on many an occasion! There was more than one in his circle of friends who found it slightly amusing that a kid of Philipino descent with no ability to keep a wiseass remark to himself was being transferred to deep south, bum$%@& Georgia.

penguinmom

October 1st, 2009
12:16 pm

My husband and I both remember being bored in school and getting in trouble because of it.

My husband, who is not an incredibly chatty person, used to get in HUGE trouble in first grade for talking too much. It was because he was soooo Bored. He also was in trouble for not completing his seat work. They finally sat him in the principal’s office with a month’s worth of seat work. He finished all of it in 30 minutes. Personally, I always had teacher’s who had extra ‘fun’ challenging work available or were willing to allow me freedom to go beyond what they were doing in class. One teacher let me finish the literature book at my own pace and then move on to the next grade level book.

We have a child like this as well. This is one reason we home school. It seemed a little pointless for him to go to kindergarten when he was capable of doing 2nd grade work and reading on an even higher level. If his teachers won’t provide challenges learning wise, you’ll need to supplement his learning to keep him from getting lazy.

If he is having the most trouble in the morning, it is possible that is when they study something he really understands (like math or reading). He will have the most trouble when they are doing something way below his level. Hopefully, the teacher will be willing to work on providing him with challenging work at his level.

The one thing I have a problem with is that you seem to want to take blame for somehow passing these ‘bad’ traits on to him. Unless you suddenly became God, you were not responsible for which genes/traits or personality he got. God made your son the way he is for a reason. God obviously gifted him with a high level of intelligence. God also seems to have given him an outgoing personality and a high level of energy. Those are all wonderful gifts that will serve your son well in the future. Stop piling blame on yourself. Instead continue to focus on how you can help him develop those gifts towards whatever path God has laid out for him.

just a question

October 1st, 2009
12:23 pm

If God has the plan laid out for him, what difference does it make where he gets his education or how he does? I mean, if GOD has laid out a plan for him, I don’t think being chatty in class will trump God’s will. But then again, he might be in a REALLY good school.

SJ

October 1st, 2009
12:36 pm

Theresa,

Hannah used to take Zyrtec in kindergarten, but I noticed some serious behavior issues when she did (very unusual for her). She was defiant, more weepy, just very out of control. But she really needed the allergy meds. I told her doctor, he switched her to Allegra. More expensive, but the behavior issues went away, literally overnight. Not that she is perfect (!), but it truly made a huge difference. We continued to use it even when we had to pay 100% out of pocket. Sam’s has very good prices on the liquid Allegra.

Sheridan

HB

October 1st, 2009
12:45 pm

Isn’t Allegra available as a generic now too? I know the Rite-Aid equivalent of Zyrtec cost a little less than my copay did when it was prescription.

Zachs Mom

October 1st, 2009
1:23 pm

You always hope that they learn self control. It is har having a 9th grader who is bi-polar who struggles with that issue on a daily basis. He is enjoying his new school and the staff has been very good at working with him. If you think that it is frustrating when a 3rd gaders can’t sit still…what do you do when they are older?

Zach will tell you that he WANTS to do well. He just can’t sit still. He has all of the great letters after his name…ADD ADHD ODD ect. I know that it is destracting to his teachers and to other students and he feels bad. We have tried all different kinds of “solutions” but non works for very long. Usually he spends more time trying to sit still instead of learning what is being taught.

Does anyone have any suggestions?

Abby

October 1st, 2009
1:44 pm

Is Walsh alone with the acting up in class or does he have a partner in crime? Kids often act up with encouragement from their peers. And while you’re obviously struggling to find a solution maybe said partner in crime has parents who believe their child can do no wrong and there’s no discipline.

Some parents (not all!) will always take their child’s side rather than believe they are capable of doing anything wrong and dealing with the situation.

New Stepmom

October 1st, 2009
1:58 pm

I was always the chatty kid in school, so I can relate to that, but I did know when to shut up. I have found that my step child who is 10 has some of the same issues that you describe in Walsh. I think her issues have to do with having no unstructured free play and no brothers and sisters who will tell her to go to you know where when she is driving them nuts. Everything this child does is structured and formatted and she has no ability to fight her own battles or understand boundaries because there is always an adult at her activities to lay out the ground rules. It has been a struggle for me, because I think she should understand a lot more of this stuff at her age than she does and having her only 30% of the time does not allow for a paradigm shift.

I have found that when issues arise with my step child, asking her questions about her actions so that she comes to a conclusion of why her behavior was inappropriate on her own helps her “get it” better. When she crosses boundaries in situations with us, her teachers, and her school mates she has a very hard time understanding that it is not her way or the highway and working through the scenario with questions that lead her down the path of why it was wrong but her getting to the conclusion on her own has been our most successful way to deal.

I agree with JJ get kids outside on their own with other children and only make sure they are safe. Do not interfere-it will help tremendously. Also, since my step child has gone off of inhalers almost completely her behavior has improved. I would definitely check on the Zyrtec.

FCM

October 1st, 2009
1:58 pm

Not everyone with a child on medicine is looking not to parent their child! A child with ADHD that severe is painful on themselves, their parents, their siblings and others.

I purposely wrote Theresa via email rather than on the blog because of just the stupidity being spouted here.

Yes, some parents out there might just use whatever (Ritalin, Adderal, there is another I forget that begins with a V).

Yet if those are used PROPERLY on a child who actually has ADHD you do NOT get a zombie robot. You get a child who behaves normally and guess what, I have never had anyone who knows this child say “Hey, you put on her meds right?” Most just say, WOW!!!! She has really grown up/matured.” The best of all is to hear “I really am thrilled (Susie) is here, she is such a help, so polite, and good at entertaining herself.”

Huh????

October 1st, 2009
2:06 pm

**FCM**, I don’t see where anyone said anything along the lines of what you griped about in your comment; maybe I missed something, so you’ll have to point it out to me. The only medication mentioned from what I can see is allergy medications. Other than that, all the comments seem to be pro-exercise and discipline/punishment for bad behavior. Just wondering what prompted your comment and if you’re reading the same comments I am?!

Jesse's Girl

October 1st, 2009
2:06 pm

I hear you FCM. If there is a med out there and as a parent you’ve done all your research on it…then get it for your child if it will help them be the best they can be.

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

October 1st, 2009
2:11 pm

penguin mom you made me cry —- Sheridan — I will try the allegra –

jack5656

October 1st, 2009
2:48 pm

Something I find interesting in response to that study, and it’s complete speculation with no scientific basis…back in the 70’s, I distinctly remember walking the mile or so home from school when I was in first grade, but it was ok because I had my brother with me…he was quite the protector being in 3rd grade and all, but sometimes I did it alone. After school while waiting for my parents to get home, we were a half mile to a mile away playing with the other neighborhood kids riding bikes. No parental supervision for any of us, hell we didn’t even wear helmets. We’d go on our way, playing in the streets and woods with the only rule being that we had to be at the dinner table by 6:00.

If the posters on this blog represent an accurate sampling of society, that kind of hands off parenting would be viewed by a great many people as reckless, if not down right negligent.

Think I’m wrong, remember the public outcry when that lady in NYC had her 10 year old son navigate the subways home alone. It was a leading story on the Today Show (and yes, i know that the Today show is not a pilar of journalistic objectivity, but you get the point.)

Honestly Theresa, et al, can you even fathom Walsh getting home from school in 1st grade and him walking out the door, saying he’s going to play with his friends down the road but he’ll be back in time for dinner and you being ok with not seeing him again until dinner? From what I gather in this blogosphere, it would take a convention center of parents deciding EXACTLY where their kids would be, who they would be with, what parents would be responsible to ensure they were playing nicely, what parents would bring snacks, and emails confirming the entire adventure days in advance.

Could it be that what Walsh and the other 50% of unruly K-gardners need is not more attention from their parents telling them they are playing dress-up or else, but less attention and allowing their kids to explore their world on their own terms? I’m inclined to think parental fear is what it really robbing kids of their childhood’s and the findings of the study.

BRC

October 1st, 2009
3:07 pm

Zyrtec totally makes me loopy, so I’m really hesitant to give it to my kids. The prescription nasal sprays have been much better for us. Even those I administer at night.

@DB – I tell the older one to always play the best game possible and if the younger one doesn’t like it, oh well. That’s another lesson learned there too – not everyone can win all the time – which was addressed in a previous blog.