Jump to content
Home
Forum
Join Us
Articles
About Us
Tapestry

Behaviour - Growing 'unrest'


trekker
 Share

Recommended Posts

We have a child in the setting who joined up about a year ago with no English and who has on many occasions protested very loudly when frustrated (e.g. by the need to share or wait a turn, or when provoked / tormented by others.)

She has also acted out physically towards others - mainly pushing, hitting sometimes (adults and children) and combined with the screaming and shouting could be quite scary (mostly the child would exclude themselves and try to head for a quiet place to vent their frustration and in doing so push anyone in the way out of the way!)

 

Anyway after a year the child is doing well with their English and is a great deal calmer than before....so I am having a lot of trouble understanding why we are getting a lot of comments about the child from other parents and saying their child is scared to come to preschool because of this child...

We never had half as many 'complaints' about her before and so when parents are coming in saying these things I am at a loss about what to say!

 

I don’t feel the child needs any extra help or attention because they are definitely improving and the better grasp of English is contributing to that.

 

I also don’t know whether to tell the child’s parents that these are parents telling us that their children don’t want to come because X scares them! I really don’t see the child as a problem at all - just loud and with a somewhat short fuse on occasions!...There are only a few physical incidents a week (a few more vocal protesting) which are actually quite minor and which other children in the group (including some of the scared ones) also display at times...

 

actually we have another child whose behaviour is MUCH worse (and on IEP) and I don’t know if children are getting the two confused or what...and then in the back of my mind there is a question about whether it is even related to the child’s ethnic origin ...though I have no evidence.

Maybe it is just a major delayed reaction I dont know!

 

What I do feel to be honest is annoyed and puzzled. Especially when some of the children are displaying the same 'minor' behaviour at times. (We dont tell parents every minor bit of behaviour we have to deal with...maybe we should!)

Whereas we have the other child who 'clashes' every day, several times a day, with other children and staff and can inflict quite vicious injuries and yet no comments have come to my attention about them!

I have asked other staff in the setting and they are just as puzzled and also agree that they would have expected the comments to be about the IEP child not this one.

 

We have implemented strategies advised by our support worker to deal with the IEP child which have been very successful across the setting

HOWEVER what do I say / do to / about these parents.....because I feel like I have , growing, group of children and parents who are not happy about this child....the parents of the child are not aware of this and although there are no 'official' complaints I feel that they are the next step if I cannot reassure parents that the 'issue' (which I do not see as one!) is under control!

 

I don't think they would be too happy with a reply along the lines of "Oh but X is actually so much better than they were last year!" :o

 

Any advice?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I feel for you Trekker, i had this not so long ago and i really felt for the mum involed, knowing what some of my parents are like i know she started to feel a bit picked on and pushed out! I won't get on my high horse about it but i would love to know how they would feel if it was their child hitting out and that other parents were being off with them

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Sorry, forgot to add, just tell the parents that it surprises you they are telling you this as she is making great progress and their child plays happy with her ( i would say this even if they didn't just to shut the parents up!!!!!!) sorry but i would. :o

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Tricky one, have you tried talking to the children by themselves when they have told their parent they don't want to come and asked them what the matter/ problem is? We do this when parents come in and say so and so doesn't want to come in because of so and so, after the parents have left. We usually find the child is just tired/ under the weather/ not feeling themselves but the parent is pushing them saying why don't you want to go, who is hurting you, who is the problem? And the child just gives the the first name of the child they think of, unfortunatley this seems to be the same name for most of the children!

 

I thank the parent for bringing it to my attention and reassure the parent I will keep a close eye on the child who didn't want to come, and I make sure all staff are aware that the parent has complained about a particular child. I talk to the child early in the session (I have Nursery and Reception) and reassure them and make sure they know if there is a problem and they are scared/ worried/ hurt then they must tell an adult immediately who will sort it out with them. I ask them during the day if everything is OK and sort out any issues, making sure they see that any problems are dealt with immediately. At the end of the day I tell the parent what they told me about not wanting to come, whatever they have said and that I have kept an eye on them and whether or not there have been any issues. I ask the child have you had a good day? Have you had fun? Who did you play with etc? and ask them would they like to come back tomorrow and they have always said yes.

 

This is a hard one and at the moment we have a child with challenging behaviour, although he doesn't lash out, he is more of a bull in a china shop type child, and we are working hard with everyone to realise he is not naughty but still learning and we need to show him what to do at the right time and he will learn. It is hard once a child is labelled by the children/ parents as naughty for them to lose that label.

 

Good luck.

Edited by heleng
Link to comment
Share on other sites

It sounds to me as if perhaps there has been a bit of gossiping outside of the setting about this child. It may have originated from one or two comments from children and has escalated over time, which is why you are just hearing about it now. I suspect that they may also be a lot of quizzing done after each session about the behaviour of this child and maybe even some thoughts and words 'planted' by well meaning parents asking leading questions. Once people start to gossip in this way and form a little group, they become much more confident and can 'egg each other on' into taking action. Like you say, at the moment it is just a few comments but if it is let continue they may well take it a step further.

 

You could arrange some circle time activities with the children focussing on thinking in a positive way about everyone in the group. Get them to think about nice things that others do and what they think each of them are good at. When the children talk to their parents perhaps then they'll be thinking about these positive things instead of anything negative! I hope you manage to nip it in the bud soon.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I sometimes feel that with children who have some behavioural issue, the other children hear their names all the time and this can lead them to feel that there might be a problem with that child, even if it doesn't affect them. I think this means they might blame that child even when they are innocent.

Jane

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I sometimes feel that with children who have some behavioural issue, the other children hear their names all the time and this can lead them to feel that there might be a problem with that child, even if it doesn't affect them. I think this means they might blame that child even when they are innocent.

Jane

I fully agree, this happens quite a lot. The parents don't help either by telling their children not to play with xx, or asking them what xx has been like today!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

it's times like this that I really want to swear. Parents make me sooooo ****** mad. My son is in yr 1, he's a wonderful little boy who loves physical play but is unfortunately a big, tall, strong, fearless boy and is still learning to control his own strength, he struggles with some of the demands made on him at school (work wise) and often comes out looking cross so other parents see him at his worse. Over the last few months I have felt increasingly alienated by the other parents and feel so annoyed with them that they feel they have a right to judge me because of their misguided "knowledge" of my son.

Sorry, I've highjacked your post but just makes me think who on earth do these parents think they are!! We are talking about children here who are learning, some may need a little more guidance than others, but in the right environment they will thrive.

I think you need to say to these parents that although you will continue to monitor their child's interactions with the other child you have no examples at the moment of negative interactions - you could even offer an positive example and say something along the lines of ... in fact, the other day I saw them do this together.

I think unfortubately when parenst have already decided that they don't like a child they will always only see the negative and ignore the positive.

let us know how it pans out

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I fully agree, this happens quite a lot. The parents don't help either by telling their children not to play with xx, or asking them what xx has been like today!

 

 

Plenty of incidents like that, I especially like it when the staff might say, "oh dear, who's made this mess?" and the children say "xxxxx did" and we say, "but xxxxx isn't here today!"

 

We have often thought it would be easier not to keep calling a child with behavioural issues by their name all the time so this doesn't get to happen, but that is difficult to do - what we do do though is try to show the other children how much we like the child with behavioural issues and when they see the adults liking them and praising them at group times, the others are pulled up a bit and we find a softening of their attitudes towards the child.

 

Also we make a big fuss of the child at the door in front of all the other parents so that they hear us talk to mum and say things like, Oh xxxxxx had a great morning he helped us do xxxxxxxxx and xxxxxxxxxxxx and made a fantastic xxxxxx or whatever!

Edited by Panders
Link to comment
Share on other sites

AAAAH!! sounds like the old "give a dog a bad name syndrome" which makes me CROSS :o

 

My daughter went through 4 years of single entry primary school in a class labelled "the naughtiest class we've ever had" Even the children in Reception referred to them as naughty year 6 by the time they left!

 

A clique of parents can be a scary and formidable thing. I'd try really hard to praise the child and send the others home with a positive image of them at the end of every day - in the hope the parents will get to hear about it!

 

Good Luck!

 

and DCN - keep smiling, honey! We won't freeze you out and are always here for you to let off steam to X

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I also find that the scapegoat child often has parents who can't or won't interact with the clique - from early on, and they are willing to accept much worse behaviour from a child whose mum is 'in the gang'. This makes me very cross, as effectively they (the parents) are bullying. (Once, just once, I was brave enough to level this accusation at a parent - in a totally professional way, in a meeting with the headteacher there as well. I was glad I did it, but it makes no difference!)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

What is the context where the parents tell you these things? If it's at drop off time, I would do a fairly curt, "I'm sorry, I can't discuss that right now, I need to focus on the children". Surely there is a confidentiality issue here, at the very least this is rather nasty gossip? I'd be tempted to tell parents that you do your best to deal with any behaviour issues, but that if they are not happy they have every right to take their child elsewhere. If you're happy with the way things are going with this child, then you shouldn't feel the need to justify the way you work just because of parental complaints.

 

From your description, it does sound a bit like there is a slightly racist aspect to this, and I think that's what you suspect?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

we have also had this in the past and are experiencing this now :o i decided to change tack and knowing that we are doing the best for all of our children and dealing with a child who has got lots of issues (too many to mention!) but when parents start to get together it needs to be nipped in the bud as soon as poss. i have one mum that was being the most vocal so after trying the usual approach of reassuring etc i decided to invite her in to 'play' for a session when said child would be there!!!! a bit brave and it could have gone either way but she came in and had a great afternoon and saw first hand that although this child was behaving in a way that isn't the norm it was all controlled and the rest of the children were all safe and happy around him, she went away and i know full well would have reported back to all the other parents that it wasn't as bad as she had imagined! just an idea, it may not work for you but it certainly quietened the tounges of some and stops you from breaching confidentiality etc.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi Trekker,

 

Have you done any focussed observations on this child's play? I think my first move might be to get all staff to carefully watch and note all of her interactions with the other children, not just those when she is protesting vocally. Some children can be quite clever about doing a bit of pushing around when staff are otherwise engaged. I'd hate to think that some of these children are genuinely scared because of events which are being missed. Sometimes we have to look very hard before these things become apparent.

 

Once you have observed her carefully in lots of different situations and are very sure that the complaints are unjustified then that is the time to start looking for other reasons why these issues are being raised. Is there another child who is causing a problem? Is there some cliquiness going on or is it racism? Can you find out a bit about social relationships outside the setting? Does this child get invited to play dates?

 

I would watch for a while first and try to spot a pattern before acting.

 

Sorry to go against the majority but I think we all need to be careful of jumping to conclusions.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Upsy Daisy has made a really good point and got me thinking about this in a whole different way.

 

It's so easy as adults to see behaviour in terms of how much better it has got and how much easier it is for us to control without considering if this is the same impression the children are getting. Children can't control another child's behaviour in the same way that an adult can, and loud outbursts can be very unsettling and scary to young children. If as adults we are unsettled by them, think how awful they must sound to a small child when the person doing it is down at their level as well and they have no idea why it is happening or way to stop it!

 

Also as Upsy Daisy said some children can be very sly about what they are doing. Probably a lot of children would come and report incidents of pushing or nastiness that's going on when they are without an adult, but it's always good not to assume that they would just on the off chance.

 

If the behaviour also used to be worse the children will have a very clear memory of that time. Could they be anxious that this child is going to 'blow' so to speak? (This might actually be a reason for not reporting snatching/nasticness etc to an adult) Unlike an adult they won't have so much experience of such behavioural patterns where there was a reason (the language barrier) and now that this barrier is being removed the behaviour is expected to get better and better. To them the fact that she is acting unpredictably by sometimes being much better, then sometimes reverting to one of her challenging behaviours (the screaming/shouting) might be more scary than the child who is always displaying the same challenging behaviours and therefore being more predictable.

 

Of course this might not be it at all, but it's always good to be 100% certain before you try to tackle it. Perhaps chatting with some of the children first and closely observing this child's play with others in the group would be beneficial. It will also allow you to make a stronger case if it does turn out to be just parental gossip influencing the children.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue. (Privacy Policy)