5 year old that acts like a 2 year old!

Discussion in 'Kindergarten' started by christine89, Nov 2, 2011.

  1. christine89

    christine89 Companion

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    Nov 2, 2011

    Hi
    So one of my Kindergarten boys is extremely immature. He will often just talk when I'm talking or others are talking. He's given many warnings and just continues. He also can't keep his hands to himself. By the way, he will also smile and think the things he's doing are cute when they certainly aren't. Anyway, sometimes I send him away from the carpet back to his desk when he's disruptive and this is the point when he turns into a 2 year old. He won't go so I take him there myself and he basically just throws a fit. He's been like this for weeks since the beginning of the year and it's just really getting old fast. I know he's really immature but does anyone happen to have any advice for managing these behaviors? And yes, I do praise him for good behaviors but then when the negative behaviors come up and I have to talk to him about those, he gets very angry at me and uncooperative.
    I'm going crazy every day so I'd appreciate any and all advice.
     
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  3. EdEd

    EdEd Aficionado

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    Nov 2, 2011

    When the negative behaviors occur, do you prompt the alternative (positive) skill before addressing the bad behaviors and assigning a consequence?
     
  4. christine89

    christine89 Companion

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    Nov 2, 2011

    If you mean praising the positive behaviors that others around him are showing, yes I do. For example, I might call attention to another student who is sitting quietly and is attentive. Usually the others will fall in line with this, however it never seems to affect his behavior and he just keeps on being disruptive. Another thing that seems to be happening more and more daily is he won't keep his hands to himself, gets up in classmates' faces, and is just plain disrespectful towards them.
     
  5. EdEd

    EdEd Aficionado

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    That's definitely a good strategy (proximity praise), but I was talking about something more like this:

    Child: (Talks out without raising hand)

    You: Tim, I love when you answer questions! See if you can raise your hand, and I will call on you.

    Child: (Raises hand)

    You: Thanks Tim - what is the answer?


    So, you're not praising someone next to him, but you are prompting him to do the right thing, then reinforcing him for that. In the case above, there was no "artificial" reinforcement added - just him getting what he wants. However, you could also offer a token, piece of candy, etc. if there were no natural reinforcement.

    One side issue above is that you can't always give him what he wants - in the case above, you won't always be able to call on him. A couple of thoughts on this:

    - You'll have to start off giving in a lot more than expecting delay of reinforcement, so be prepared to call on him a lot, give out a lot of reinforcement, etc.

    - If you can't give him what he was seeking with the initial behavior, consider giving him some other form of reinforcement (e.g., candy, token). Also, let him know that he may not be able ot have what he wants now, but may be able to have it soon (e.g., can't call on him this time, but next time you will).

    One other consideration - remember that whatever skill you are expecting, make sure you've taught it to the point of mastery. You may even have to go over the steps of the expected behavior at the actual "point of performance" - so, with keeping his hands to himself, you may have to remind him to fold his hands, put them in his lap, and look at you. You may have to keep doing this for a while, and may feel like he's just not getting it. Don't give up on the skill instruction/prompting phase, though - some kids just take a lot of repetitions, like with math or reading.

    What do you think?
     
  6. Rich Games

    Rich Games Rookie

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    Nov 3, 2011

    Give him a responsibility even if it's to stand at the front of the line and demonstraight to the rest of the class how to stand and walk sensibly. This works for me sometimes, maybe give him a few responsibilities and see what he responds too.
     
  7. Silmarienne

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    Nov 3, 2011

    Consistency is key, too. If you let it slip just a few times, he'll go right back to whatever it is he wants to do. You may have to spend a few days where EVERY time he talks out of turn he goes immediately to time-out (if that works for him; or there may have to be a different consequence). If you are having to "take" him then maybe it needs to be stepped up so that you are taking him somewhere else (P's office?) where he doesn't want to be.
     
  8. EdEd

    EdEd Aficionado

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    Nov 3, 2011

    The only issue here is the assumption that he "wants" to do the wrong thing - if it is a skill deficit, then consistent punishment (or any punishment at all) won't work. Not saying that consequences aren't part of the picture, but with a child new to a structured group setting who isn't consistently demonstrating knowledge of the skills expected, I'd err on the side of skill instruction, prompts, and reinforcement for prompted skills first, using consequences only there were overt noncompliance with even an attempt to use the skill, if even then.

    In general, though, I definitely agree - if consequences are used, they need to be used consistently.
     
  9. christine89

    christine89 Companion

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    Nov 3, 2011

    Wow! Lots of advice! I definitely try to be consistent with the consequence because I tend to believe more in consistency than trying new things. It just seems lately that his behavior is getting a lot worse. There's an enormous lack of respect for me, his classmates, and other teachers. He will talk back to me and other teachers and will hit, push, and constantly bother other children. Another thing that has been happening when he gets to his desk or "time out" he will make a lot of noise and end up being louder and more disruptive than before. At this point I have to take him out of the room to the office (principal's office is not there but he still doesn't like to go there and it's a more effective place for him to calm down.
    Also, I'm wondering whether or not I'm doing the right thing when other students tell me about things he's done. If I talked to him every time something happened, we'd never get anything done. So sometimes I just tell the person that told me not to worry about it and I address it later. However I'm starting to feel like I'm sending the message that it's ok for him to do these things. Of course, I don't dismiss every complaint about this student, just some of the less severe ones. Today he actually yelled at a classmate trying to deny that he had hit her so I'm starting to get extremely concerned.
    Sorry this is a huge ramble. :)
     
  10. christine89

    christine89 Companion

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    Nov 5, 2011

    Thanks for the great advice. I made my principal aware of some of the behaviors this child is showing and that they seem to be getting worse. She first asked me if any of the other students have been able to ignore these behaviors, which they haven't been able to do. So her suggestion is to focus on one behavior and do a sticker chart with him. I plan on focusing on keeping his hands to himself first since that seems to be the biggest one I see. Hopefully I get some success with this method. The thing that troubles me a lot is that he will say a lot that he doesn't like anyone, they don't like him, almost like it's a reason for disrespecting them.
    I guess we'll see how things go. Thanks!
     
  11. kpa1b2

    kpa1b2 Aficionado

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    Nov 5, 2011

    Sounds like one of my kinders! His behavior has been getting worse. I'm thinking that his behavior is due in part to what we are doing in class. Things have been getting harder and he's just not ready for it. I too do a lot of praise & reinforcement.

    Yesterday though he hit a girl in the eye. So he was sent home for the remainder of the day. This is the 2nd time he's hit her. His parents think it's because he likes her. Umm, still can't hit her.

    Next week is parent/teacher conferences, so we'll sit down & talk than.
     
  12. AMK

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    Nov 5, 2011

    Has he been in school before? Make sure you are documenting everything about his behavior and communication with the parents. I def would try and play up any good behavior you see in him. The sticker chart might be ok but he might need an immediate reward
     
  13. christine89

    christine89 Companion

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    Nov 5, 2011

    Conferences were last week and I guess the preschool that he was in last year was not very structured. That preschool was in another town so I don't know anything about it. But I guess if there wasn't much structure in the preschool, it's probably as if he hasn't been in school at all before! For part of the day we are combined with the preschool (free play and calendar time) and in the beginning of the year I would tell Kinder to line up and he would not line up because he wanted to be with the PreK. There's definitely lots of immaturity.
     
  14. mccwen

    mccwen Comrade

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    Nov 9, 2011


    Wow! He sounds exactly like one of mine. The boy in my room is also technically homeless. He is living in a long-term facility with his mom, and 3 other siblings. (He's #3 in the line-up.) We are not getting any support from mom. She talked a good talk in the beginning but now she no longer answers phone calls from the school. Apparently the older brother is also a handful.

    All I can add is hang in there. I came to the board looking for ideas as well.
     
  15. christine89

    christine89 Companion

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    Nov 9, 2011

    Yeah, things just don't seem to be getting better. We've started the sticker chart focusing on one behavior at a time (currently we're focusing on keeping hands to himself). I'm not having 100% success, but some improvement. However he still is just very angry at the other kids, calls them names, and is basically doing everything but touching them. Consequences (time outs, time in from recess) do not work because things just never change. I'm hanging in there but it's just hard to see these behaviors continue. At times I feel almost powerless because a lot of things I try just don't work.
     
  16. AMK

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    Nov 9, 2011

    is there a guidance counselor that can step in and help? are his parents now aware of the name calling and his anger? he is probably frustrated at others b/c of his lack of maturity he does not know how to communicate.
     
  17. AMK

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    Nov 9, 2011

    also if you are doing a reward chart he might need the reward to be immediate...if you sit through this story and not disrupt and raise your hand you earn.....
     
  18. EdEd

    EdEd Aficionado

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    Nov 9, 2011

    Were you ever able to try the alternative skill prompting?
     
  19. christine89

    christine89 Companion

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    Nov 9, 2011

    I've used it a little but it's hard to use that in every situation. I've found it useful in the talking out of turn thing. However I'm struggling to deal with the keeping hands to himself and verbally abusing other students (both of which have become big issues lately). I'm doing the sticker chart for hands (3rd day with that today, he earns about 1 sticker a day) and i talk to him a lot about the name calling and choosing more respectful words, which doesn't seem to work.
    I should also add that yes, his mother is aware of the anger and name calling. While I was talking to her, she asked if I saw it as an ADD type of situation. I've never been completely sure about this and I don't think I ever could be sure with any student. However, we are looking at getting him tested.
     
  20. EdEd

    EdEd Aficionado

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    Nov 9, 2011

    Yeah, it can be time consuming, but you can also just take a "one sentence" approach - prompt with a sentence, then follow through with either reward of alternative behavior or whatever else you'd do.

    Sticker charts can be helpful, but that level of reinforcement is really low (and therefore not likely to provide a lot of effect), which signals one or more of a few issues: 1) the expectation for performance may be too high (e.g., good for too long), 2) you may need to catch him being good more often and deliver reinforcement more often, 3) he doesn't have the skills you're expecting (meaning you'd be treating a skill deficit as a performance deficit, which doesn't work), or 4) he needs more assistance/support in performing the skill (e.g., prompting, coaching). In other words, the sticker chart may be helpful on some level, but you may want to consider other things as well.

    If you were going to consider other options besides the sticker chart, I'd start with what he's trying to get out of the hitting behavior - is he trying to initiate interaction, defend himself, grab things he wants, hurt other students?
     
  21. Grammy Teacher

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    Nov 9, 2011

    I never use sticker charts because they don't teach anything in the long run. The first thing I would do is focus on getting his parents to take him to an expert and find out what is really wrong with him. There is a reason and until you find out the reason, there will be little progress. Just been through this and found out the child is autistic and needs one on one all day long.
    Until you find out what is wrong, you need to keep the other children safe. Do you have any help? An aide? He needs to be kept away from other children until he can be trusted around them. It is not fair to subject the other children to this treatment. Have him stay at the table with activities, and if he doesn't stay where you tell him to stay, start taking away recess time. It's called consequences and recess is effective in teaching that you mean business. NO rewards for bad behavior and don't water it down or he will be even worse not knowing if you mean he can behave just some of the time and hit/pester kids some of the time. NO tolerance for his behavior is the answer and he doesn't need stickers when he does some little thing right.
     
  22. EdEd

    EdEd Aficionado

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    Nov 9, 2011

    I definitely agree about getting to the bottom of the issue - very critical. Not sure I agree about the comments on rewards and punishment.

    The theory behind the sticker chart is to "jump start" newly learned skills that don't yet have natural reinforcement. So, teaching new skills for keeping his hands to himself may not seem that fun or important to him, so the sticker chart is used to increase the behavior until it becomes learned, and natural reinforcement experienced.

    In addition, there are some things that just aren't fun to do, and most of us in life are under some sort of sticker system - whether that be paychecks from a school district or poker chips for raising your hand in class. Positive behavior by a 5 year old in a group setting may just not be naturally/intrinsically reinforcing or natural, and may require some sort of artificial reinforcement system.

    In terms of the "no tolerance" policy, the question is really whether the expectation of "no tolerance" is developmentally appropriate. As an extreme example, consider a no tolerance policy prohibiting any form of off-task behavior by a child in 1st grade. It is essentially psychologically/biologically impossible for a child to remain focused 100% of the time. A "no tolerance" policy wouldn't make sense because the expectation would be beyond reason for a child of that age (and probably a child or adult of any age). With young children, minor physical aggression is common as kids haven't yet learned how to handle all of their social needs with more complex language often required in the absence of physical means. With children who have a very low level of skill development related to alternatives to physical aggression/instrumentation, expecting 0 occurrences of undesirable behavior is not appropriate, and will lead to frustration of the child, ineffective and overuse of punishment strategies, etc.

    This isn't to say that physical aggression should be permitted, but the alternative is not a 0 tolerance policy (which often implies punishment as a mandatory response to the behavior). One thing you mentioned that makes a lot of sense is preventive strategies to reduce the instances where the child would engage in physical aggression. By removing these triggers, the behaviors are reduced - not because of new skills, but because the challenge just doesn't come up. An analogy would be a child who throws temper tantrums when presented with multiplication problems. One solution is to teach multiplication, another to teach responses to frustrating academic assignments, and another to just not give multiplication problems. The latter solution is only temporary, of course, but an important step if the child needs time to work on component skills before being given the end task of multiplication problems.

    All of that is to say that both reinforcement and punishment have their roles in behavioral intervention, but both must be used appropriately and in combination with other interventions.
     
  23. christine89

    christine89 Companion

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    Nov 9, 2011

    Thank you for voicing your opinions. I certainly agree that the chart isn't working and I wasn't completely in favor of doing it. When I brought these issues to my principal, it was her suggestion to do the chart and focus on one behavior at a time with it. This decision was made based on the fact that he doesn't seem to improve on his behavior when there are consequences. To me it's almost like he's going through the motions of sitting in from recess. He'll do his time, say what he did wrong, say things he'll do differently, and then doesn't act upon these words.
    Parents are involved in the situation and as I said before, we're planning on getting an assessment to see what's going on with him.
    I also must say that things have gone further than little minor aggressive behaviors. For example, a child was poked yesterday in the eye by him. His reason behind this? "I didn't want him to look at me."
    My hope is that we find something out to help him when a formal assessment is done.
     
  24. Grammy Teacher

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    Nov 9, 2011

    EdEd I know where you are coming from and don't mean to give you the idea that I totally disagree with you. It's just that in 21 years of teaching 4 and 5 year olds, I have met every possible situation you can imagine.
    No tolerance is especially successful in a classroom where other children are being hurt physically and that is "all" I am referring to when I say, NO tolerance. Not being focused is not the problem. It's the physical contact with children who don't deserve this treatment.
    Again, get to the bottom of the problem with the help from experts and in the meantime, keep the other children safe.
     
  25. Grammy Teacher

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    Yes, I have a child like this right now. Sounds "exactly" like him. He will punch another child in the stomach while walking by. When he is talked to about his behavior, he will state what he did that was wrong, apologize and before the day is over, he will do something just as vicious again. His parents are finally taking him to a psychologist to see why. This will be an interesting journey.
     
  26. EdEd

    EdEd Aficionado

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    Nov 9, 2011

    I certainly agree as well that safety is a huge concern, especially considering the last comments about the behaviors being more than just minor acts of physical aggression.
     
  27. ash_sk8s

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    Nov 9, 2011

    Gosh, sounds like one of my 3 year olds! Definitely frustrating behavior!
     
  28. Grammy Teacher

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    It is frustrating for the other children who are being nice. It's just not "typical" of children this age 5 going on 6,) is a time when there we should see progress in children learning to control their impulses. It's a red flag that something is wrong.
     
  29. christine89

    christine89 Companion

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    Nov 11, 2011

    Update-Yesterday I basically dropped the whole sticker chart thing since I truly don't believe it works for this situation. I had a talk with the whole class about respecting each other since I got an email from a parent saying that her child has been saying that all my boys have been calling her names (turns out, it was only this child in particular who was calling her names). However, he seemed to be listening very intently when I was talking about this. I also read the book "Billy Bully" to everyone. The behaviors were still continuing throughout the day but I'm hoping that he's really starting to understand what his behaviors mean. We are still planning to do an assessment meeting for him, but I somehow feel like the discussion I had with the whole class really spoke to him in some way because he was very attentive and perhaps will think more about his behavior. Either way, it feels like it was a good step in the right direction.
     
  30. ACsMama

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    Nov 17, 2011

    Sounds like a student I had last year! Seemingly random acts of aggression, very little impulse control (and yet extremely bright!), and consequences/rewards had very little impact. He could articulately explain why he was missing computer lesson/recess/swimming/free time/etc., would get very upset about missing it, and would be able to tell me what he should have done differently in the situation, and yet would repeat the behaviour again and again.
    I tried a sticker chart type of situation, and it failed miserably.
    I tried a book "Calmly Snail" that I found on the internet, and even when he could recite it word-for-word, he still wasn't putting it into practice.
    Mom was very supportive, but very hesitant to get him tested, and the problems are continuing in first grade this year. I strongly suspect something on the autism spectrum, but unless Mom gets him tested, he'll never get the help he needs :(.
    Sorry this is so long, and I don't really have any answers except to encourage you to get to the root of the issue ASAP, but I feel your pain!
     

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