boy problem

Discussion in 'Elementary Education Archives' started by Steph-ernie, Mar 9, 2007.

  1. Steph-ernie

    Steph-ernie Groupie

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    I've got a fourth grade boy who is pretty immature. (in many ways) He has a bad habit of holding himself "down there" when he's talking to someone. He does it frequently while talking to me, and it's very distracting. Today our school had field day, and afterwards the kids were called up front to accept ribbons. I noticed him holding himself while he was front and center in front of everyone! I haven't talked to him about this yet, even though in my opinion, 4th grade is old enough to know better. After today though, I think it has to be addressed. My question is, who would be the right person to have this discussion with him? Me, a female teacher, who he knows well, or our male principal? I work in a small Lutheran school, so a nurse or counselor aren't options. I thought of the principal because I thought it might be easier coming from a male. I really kind of dread asking the principal to discuss this with him, but I think it might be best. What do you think?
     
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  3. srh

    srh Devotee

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    Do you have a male teacher in a close grade level? I would hesitate to ask the principal, only because it might come across more as "wrong" to the student (you know--authority figure and all!) than simply "inappropriate." As frustrating as it can be (I teach Kinder, and both girls and boys do it!), it needs to be addressed as "inappropriate" versus "wrong" in my opinion. It's a very touchy subject (honest, until I typed it, I didn't plan to say it ;-D) and I think a male is the best option, but a teacher is better than a principal!!
     
  4. kinderkids

    kinderkids Virtuoso

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    Could you speak to the parents about your concern?
     
  5. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    Make a brief statement when alone about it being inappropriate in public and something about needing to wash his hands (make up an excuse). Then make him wash his hands every time. You don't need to say why in front of people necessarily (though they may catch on). Then he will get tired of washing his hands after a while. I know this would work on grade 1-2, but only you can gauge if it will work for his age/personality.
     
  6. Steph-ernie

    Steph-ernie Groupie

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    Thanks for your opinions ... the only male teacher at a close grade level teaches fifth grade, and probably wouldn't be a good choice. He's a much older man, and I just can't picture it happening with him! I could talk to the parents, but I almost never see them, so it would have to be either in a note or a phone call, and I'm just not sure it's a situation that warrants that. Maybe so though.
    cutNglue, your comment about washing hands made me smile because I've started doing this whenever I see a kid with his hands in his mouth or picking his nose. I just simply tell them, "go wash your hands".

    Anyone else care to weigh in? I guess I'm just feeling awkward about this, so I'm still not sure what the best tactic would be. Thanks everyone!!
     
  7. jojo808

    jojo808 Comrade

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    I would talk to him in a matter-of-fact way, not making a big deal, just kind of an fyi. "Mark, I notice you holding yourself several times a day and that is not something you want to do in public." Since it is a habit, and probably done without thinking, he needs to replace the bad habit with something acceptable. Brainstorm some ideas to replace the bad habit. Like, instead of holding himself, he can hold on to his pants/shorts (on the side, though, not the front!)
     
  8. ellen_a

    ellen_a Groupie

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    This is a good idea (replacement behaviors) as is the handwashing.

    I would talk to him myself (I've had many a conversation like this during my years in special education)--but, even if I didn't expect the parents to have that conversation, I would DEFINITELY tell them what is happening at school. As someone said, this is a delicate topic, and I try to make sure parents know how I'm addressing delicate topics so there isn't any drama later on.
     
  9. teacherintexas

    teacherintexas Maven

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    Call the parents and ask them to talk to him about it. I would think the boy would be mortified if his teacher spoke to him about his private parts! He probably doesn't realize other people see him do this.
     
  10. Steph-ernie

    Steph-ernie Groupie

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    Ok, good idea about talking to him about holding the sides of his shorts instead of the front. I guess you are right also ellen, that I should let the parents know the conversation took place, just to keep things from getting twisted around later.
     
  11. Grammy Teacher

    Grammy Teacher Virtuoso

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    I have a 5 year old boy who does this constantly and it is just plain driving me insane! Whenever I see him doing it I say, "LET GO OF YOUR PANTS!" He is getting the message. It is GROSS.
     
  12. h2omane

    h2omane Comrade

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    coming from a male teacher, I agree with a previous post that he probably doesnt realize he's doing it. Most boys will reach down and scratch, rub, or stretch their crotch area of their pants for a second because they find that doing it for longer is not a cultural norm.

    If he's doing it all the time, I would tell the parents to track the behavior at home, and at bathing time see if there is any swelling, or inflammation. I worked in a daycare where a boy was constantly, and i mean constantly holding his crotch due to inflamed foreskin.

    Ask the grade 3 teachers that had him last year, if they noticed anything. If not, then he might be growing in the pelvic region and this might be causing discomfort. If he is wearing brief underwear, try switching to boxers. it might be too tight, hot, rubbing in the crotch.

    Basically:
    boxers = freedom,
    briefs = restriction

    As I said before, he probably is unaware that he is causing this much attention.

    When is he not holding his crotch? can you increase the activities that cause him to release his grasp more often?
    Good luck,
    Mr. Skinner :D
     
  13. Proud2BATeacher

    Proud2BATeacher Phenom

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    I had a student who constantly held himself. Whenever I saw him hold himself I would ask him if he had to use the restroom, he would say no but would subconsciously let go of himself. I guess I must have asked him one too many times one day and he finally asked me why I kept asking him if he had to use the restroom. I just told him that he was holding himself and when I see him holding himself I think it is because he has to use the restroom. I then told him that if he wants me to stop asking him if he had to use the restroom, then he has to stop holding himself. It worked :D !
     
  14. bonneb

    bonneb Fanatic

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    I had to address this more than once in first grade! My conversation was very matter of fact. "Do you know what your private area is? The area covered by your bathing suit, yes. It is a special and private place that only you or a parent or a doctor can touch or look at. When you keep your hands touching your private area, everyone around you looks at your private area. Since it is a special and private place, you really don't want everyone looking there right?" Then we would come to an agreement on a signal I could give to remind to keep hands off the private area. It worked pretty well with some kids. Absolutely talk to the parents. You want them to reinforce you on this. I thought of putting the scratchy side of velcro on the sid-waistband of the pants, and the child would rub that instead of the privates. You'd need the parents onboard for that. And they will want to check out the area to see if there is a rash or too-tight underwear. I actually had a child who told me his shorts were squeezing him and looking at the waistband only, they were about 2 sizes too small!! Poor kid. I had to call home to tell the parents. fun!
     
  15. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    When my brother was little, he had a habit of forgetting to zip his fly. My mom would let him know he was "getting a sore throat." No one else knew the code, and it helped a lot.

    I use the same code with my son. Maybe you could use something similar?
     
  16. scheina2

    scheina2 Rookie

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    I would bring it to the parents' attention and let them address. Now a days, it's better to be safe than sorry. You don't want to be accused of saying or doing something that could be taken out of context. even though we all know that is not your intent.
     
  17. becky

    becky Enthusiast

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    Mar 11, 2007

    Jeannie had a 5 yr old friend who did this all the time. I once said to the dad ' J might need a bathroom break.' The dad was nonplussed and said ' Naw, he always holds his *****.' It was as though he thought it was perfectly fine.
     
  18. h2omane

    h2omane Comrade

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    And the father of the year award goes to... :D
     
  19. ABall

    ABall Fanatic

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    For my boys doing that is equivelent to the pee pee dance, I remind them to go to the bathroom, but If I were the teacher I'd probably mention it to the parents. If its something he does because he is nervous give him something else to hold when he has to speak in front of the class.
     
  20. Grammy Teacher

    Grammy Teacher Virtuoso

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    What is worse are the grown men that think it's o.k. I say tell the kids to let go of themselves and leave it at that. No need to elaborate to them. Tell the parents if the problem continues because it could be their laundry detergent or too tight clothes. Regardless, it's gross and poor etiquette.
     
  21. h2omane

    h2omane Comrade

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    I agree with Aball - give him something else to hold.

    if he's holding anything else it wont be his crotch.

    Good Luck,
    Mr. Skinner :D
     
  22. moonbeamsinajar

    moonbeamsinajar Habitué

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    Okay, has any one thought about all the rap singers and other entertainers who grab and hold themselves there? Why is that?
     
  23. bonneb

    bonneb Fanatic

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    They are exhibitionists??
     
  24. Grammy Teacher

    Grammy Teacher Virtuoso

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    No one has any manners anymore. Anything goes. IF my kids would have gone around like that I would have put girdles on them.
     
  25. Tigers

    Tigers Habitué

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    I just have to ask?

    why are so many people offended by this behavior... He's nine, he'll be okay.

    I think that the best method is to mention something to his parents, because infections are common enough (letting the parents decide whether or not they take on the issue is best). If you choose to go any route besides this... I guess I would suggest a non-chalant version of the "do you have to go to the bathroom?" approach.
     
  26. Grammy Teacher

    Grammy Teacher Virtuoso

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    What bother me most is that it doesn't bother you. NO one said the boy won't be "o.k."The problem lies with lack of teaching appropriate behavior in public places. Too many men grow up thinking it's o.k. Well, the sooner they learn it's not cool to pick at their private area of hold onto it, the better.
     
  27. Tigers

    Tigers Habitué

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    Most boys do learn that it is not socially appropriate. But many parents and teachers making such a fuss over the issue with a "ewww that is gross mentality," will make the poor boy think that his peni5 is a dirty thing. I think a boy holding himself all the time is a clue that there may be an underlying problem. So, I suggest talking to the parents.
     
  28. TeacherShelly

    TeacherShelly Aficionado

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    To add another wrinkle to the question Tigers asked, is this really a Boy problem? Maybe considering what an appropriate reaction would be to a girl holding her private area in public would be will help take some of the stigma out. I'm worried that an approach that shames him will leave an unnecessary negative impression about his body. Society is full of embarrassment about our bodies, I know, so maybe something non-judgemental will help him more. Say in private, "I see you're holding your private areas. It's not ok to do that in public." and gently move his hand away.
     
  29. TeacherShelly

    TeacherShelly Aficionado

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    Being a 9 year old who holds his crotch does not mean he is going to be a man doing the same thing. Treat him like a boy, not a man.
     
  30. kinderkids

    kinderkids Virtuoso

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    I still think talking to the parents is the best option........haven't changed my mind at all.
     
  31. Grammy Teacher

    Grammy Teacher Virtuoso

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    I would talk to the parents as well, but meanwhile, I have a told a boy in my class not to do that and he has quit. Simple as that in this case. He is 5. A nine year old should not be doing it at all in public places. Neither should a nine year old girl. They should have learned this etiquette by now. Like anything, if it is let go, it becomes a habit(as is the case with the boy in my class.) It is a matter of hygiene as well. I don't like to think of someone picking at themselves down there and then holding that child's hand or having the other children hold his hand. Talk to the kid and talk to the parents.
     
  32. TeacherShelly

    TeacherShelly Aficionado

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    I agree with you, grammy, completely on each point. I just think kids want to be acceptable and aren't trying to be lacking in etiquette (not saying you think otherwise, either). If they know it's not ok but do it anyway, they must have a reason. Shaming them would be beyond the last resort for me.
     
  33. Grammy Teacher

    Grammy Teacher Virtuoso

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    And just as I would tell a boy not to pick his nose, I would have no problem telling him not to hold his crotch...and then I would talk to the parent if he persisited because it could be an allergy to detergents or clothes not fitting properly. Will he grow up to be an adult and still be doing it? I see way too many men still doing this and adjusting things down there. It's rude to do in public.
     
  34. Grammy Teacher

    Grammy Teacher Virtuoso

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    Of course you wouldn't "shame them." Telling them it's not good manners is not shaming them. It's teaching them. Letting it go would be wrong and there could be a lot of teasing and shunning if it continues. Kids are cruel about things like that.
     
  35. TeacherShelly

    TeacherShelly Aficionado

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    me, too.
    Yes it is rude to do in public. Seeing grown men do it does not mean this boy is predetermined to be one of them. Gently teaching is what I suggest. Your idea of telling him not to do it sounds good to me, especially if no judgement (eww! you're gross!) is implied.
    Does that make sense?
     
  36. TeacherShelly

    TeacherShelly Aficionado

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    Holy cross post, Grammy Teacher! I will now stop assuming your idea is to tell him he's gross. I take it back. Do over?
     
  37. Grammy Teacher

    Grammy Teacher Virtuoso

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    No, one would never give the child that impression of "EW THAT'S GROSS!" The word "gently" comes into play here.
     
  38. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    I'm not sure I would move his hand. The action might be mis-interpreted when he tells the story (even in the context of "what happened at school today honey?") and it could become a problem!
     
  39. Grammy Teacher

    Grammy Teacher Virtuoso

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    Changeifcareer, that's the trouble with emailings...we only have words to write and when you can't have that two way conversation, hearing of one another's voices, it's easy to assume things! No problem.
     
  40. Grammy Teacher

    Grammy Teacher Virtuoso

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    Oh man! No I wouldn't move his hand either. But this thread is getting waaaaaay out there!
     
  41. bonneb

    bonneb Fanatic

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    Mar 15, 2007

    It isn't just a boy problem, but much more common in boys. It isn't that it is dirty or eeeeeeeeewwwwwww - it is a private area that we don't call attention to in public. Plus, when kids get to a certain age and haven't learned this social skill, they will be teased and ostracized - it does creep out the other kids who have learned social etiquette. Hard to believe, but all through high school algebra I sat next to a boy who masturbated with a ruler during almost every class! I didn't know what to do or say. The teacher ignored it. I bring it up only because it is in the same category - not acceptable as social behavior and causes problems for the kid.
     

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