Manipulative 6 year old, what do you think?

Discussion in 'Behavior Management' started by srfjeld, Dec 1, 2009.

  1. srfjeld

    srfjeld Companion

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    Dec 1, 2009

    I have a little girl in my class who is VERY clever. She constantly has to have the last word/sound and can NEVER be trusted to be alone.
    Here is just a sample of some of the things she's done:

    1. (takes advantage of any/all time alone) was allowed to get water in the hall and upon taking a big drink, spit it all over a wall.

    2. I had the kids put their heads down for 2 minutes with a timer saying I'd restart the timer if I heard any noise, she all of a sudden started fake coughing very loudly.

    3. Always talks out, even if she's trying to let me know she's "already doing something I expect" before I've told the class to do it.

    4. Upon telling her she was going to lose all recesses the next day, she told me she probably wouldn't be at school the next day...

    The list goes on. She has interrupted so much that I actually told her to "get out" of my class.

    Obviously the girl want attention, no matter what kind. It doesn't matter how much good attention I shower her with (as she starts out good each day but something happens to her after lunch).

    Yesterday was the last straw. She yelled, in front of the whole class, that a boy in class called her an a$$hole. I calmly had her come out into the hallway along with the boy and asked if what she said was true, the boy hemmed and hawed so I sent both of them to the principal (he knows her all too well). Upon their return I was told the girl would be staying after school for 30 minutes (with parent approval) and I was to send a note home with the boy. I wrote the note and explained to the boy that he was to give it to his mom (here I should say he's still emotionally very young). He seemed confused so I further asked him what he said to her and why. He said he didn't have any idea what was going on. So, I asked her again and she said he never said it. UGHHHHH!!!! So, I took the note from the boy, apologizing to him for not believing him to which he thanked me through tear soaked eyes. This all happened in the line out the door at the end of the day.

    The parents are fully aware of her behavior and say she's been testing them since her terrible twos and they don't know what to do with her either.

    I'm DONE! Today I'm going to tell her I've lost ALL trust in her. She will have no recesses today, she's not to leave the classroom alone for anything, she's losing her line-leader privilege for the rest of this week (that's her job this week and she was really worried about losing it) and she's losing her show and tell. She will have to earn these things back through good behavior.

    Is this too harsh? Or not harsh enough? I just don't know what to do anymore... she really doesn't care about any punishment but I've never taken everything away from her. I want her to understand that lying and getting other people in trouble is absolutely unacceptable!

    Any other suggestions?

    Thank you,

    Stephanie
     
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  3. wrice

    wrice Habitué

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    Dec 2, 2009

    yikes! lots going on here.

    I'd set a goal to extinguish one bad behavior at a time. Maybe focus on the back talk, and get the parents on board. Anytime she speaks out, have a calm, consistent, stern, direct phrase like "Susie, the rule is not to talk back, I need you to say 'yes teacher' then stop talking." If you can get the parents to reinforce this at home, that would be wonderful. The next time, repeat the phrase, then give her the consequence of sitting in the back of the room. Keep upping the consequences.

    Try to catch her doing good, and praise those actions. Early in the class, get her to distribute papers, and after she helps give her lots of appreciation. When she acts out later on, give a scowl, but don't acknowledge it much. Have her help you clean out the aquarium or something similar so she knows how to relate to you in a positive way. Hopefully she can progress toward getting attention for good things instead of misbehaviors.

    Otherwise, if things escalate there should be counseling and a behavior contract or behavior management plan with clearly expressed expectations and the threat of expulsion.

    Good luck!
     
  4. srfjeld

    srfjeld Companion

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    Dec 2, 2009

    Thank you, Wrice. I guess I should have mentioned that I give just as much positive praise (if not more) as negative. Every single day she comes in and does a great job until the afternoon, then it's as if a switch has gone off. It's as if nothing registers with her. As soon as you're done reprimanding her, she will nod her head or say, "yes teacher" and immediately change the subject in a happy demeanor. It's really, really weird. I even talked with her mom about it yesterday and she said the same thing happens at home. Her mom has called a therapist that came highly recommended (which is GREAT) but apparently there is a very long waiting list (not so great). Dad is upset b/c he thinks her behavior is no big deal so there's some strife in the home about her. When he came to pick her up after her detention the other day, he just shrugged his shoulders about it. At least one parent is on board.
     
  5. wrice

    wrice Habitué

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    Dec 3, 2009

    Oh wow! That is a vital observation about the timing of her misbehavior, sorry I missed that statement in your original post. There can be a number of medical explanations for an unbalanced biochemistry that is causing her to act out. I'm not a doctor, but I do think being diabetic, for instance, could cause her blood sugar to be out of whack after lunch, and the resulting sugar overload could be putting the devil into this formerly sweet 6 year old. An allergy to food items, problems with pituitary or adrenal glands....

    Sounds like you're doing pretty much all you can do. Keep a log of her behaviors and the timing and see if you can note triggers. See if you can start to predict episodes then give diversions preemptively like walking a note to the office or returning some library books. If she's consistently riled up from recess or PE or something you may need to do some yoga style deep breathing and calming exercises with her. Keep in close contact with mom, seems like she is a good ally. Sounds like dad needs some help in dealing more actively, not putting his head in the sand.

    That's about all the thoughts I have, sorry again you're having to deal with this, but I am glad she has a good side. Just keep imagining what a wonderful breakthrough it will be when her troubles are all sorted out. Hope for a good meeting with the therapist. Hang in there!
     
  6. I Am The Future

    I Am The Future Rookie

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    Dec 13, 2009

    Maybe instead of taking things away from her, you could try positive reinforcement. Give her a "list" of sorts of things that she has to do to earn privilages, such as handing out papers, being line leader, etc. Give her a different goal each day, and a few assorted good behaviors she has to show to get them. Or even give her things she can do to rectify her bad behaviors (If she talks back, she has to say she's sorry within one minute. If she's mean to someone, she has to write an apology note to that person.). It would just be a good place to start if taking away things from her isn't working well enough. This is the plan that was set up for my younger brother with Bipolar Disorder, and it worked pretty well.

    And another thought on the lunch: Is it possible she's being bullied during this time?
     
  7. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Dec 13, 2009

    I agree wtih wrice-- mention what you've noticed to mom and dad and suggest a blood workup.

    And I would be incredibly hesitant to ever throw a 6 year old out of class unless he or she posed a physical threat to classmates.
     
  8. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

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    Dec 13, 2009

    I completely agree with wrice's suggestion for a medical check up. My middle son was diagnosed with diabetes (type I) because we were searching for a reason for his off the wall behavior. His pedi suggested keeping a behavior and log and we noticed his behavior go off the wall after meals, but particularly after high sugar/carb meals (pizza, pastas) or having just fruit for a snack. We did the blook work and it turned out he was a borderline type I diabetic. Had we not noticed the behavior issues, it would have not been diagnosed until his pancreas deteriorated even farther and we would have risked a serious diabetic coma. There are quite a few medical issues that manifest in behavior issues. This is something that definitely needs to be brought up with her doctor.
     
  9. srfjeld

    srfjeld Companion

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    Dec 14, 2009

    Thank you guys for your input. I will definitely speak with mom about the blood work. She's looking everywhere for answers as well. I've also been thinking about giving her more jobs. I noticed her helping a child one day last week, which honestly could go either way, and I saw that she was genuine about it.
    We are doing a classroom activity on Friday which I invited all the parents to and when I asked her mom whether she was going to come, she said her daughter did not want her there. That made me want her there that much more. Mom's really got it tough.
    As far as her being bullied, she's the one who is more likely to bully. So, no that's not a problem.
    And when I had her leave my classroom, I take her to second grade to sit or to the principal. I've done it 3 or 4 times now, doesn't do much good but at least I can teach without her driving me and the other kids crazy.
     

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