What should I do with a disrespectful child?
By Debra Collins, Family therapist
This year my 6-year-old is repeating kindergarten at the request of her teacher last year who said that although her skills were developed, she was "not emotionally ready" for first grade.
While last year she enjoyed school, this year she claims she doesn't. On the second week of school, I got a call from the principal's office saying she had been sent there for the first time ever for discipline. I was told that she did not listen to the teacher for three times in a row and on the fourth direction, she yelled "No!" back at the teacher.
What can I do to support my daughter treating her teachers with respect? Is it possible she is bored with the repeat of curriculum?
Common factors in determining a child's "emotional readiness" for kindergarten are age and previous preschool experience. Children start kindergarten at different emotional, behavioral and academic levels. It can be helpful and appropriate for children to repeat a grade based on a variety of issues that can include both academic and "emotional readiness." Regardless of the reasons, how the retention was explained to your child is the key to ensuring that your daughter does not feel that she has failed or is being punished by repeating.
First, make sure you and the teacher are giving your daughter the same explanation for her retention and that it is understandable to a 6-year-old. It is also important that you convey a positive non-punishing feeling about her retention.
In order to further support your child, consider the following: Have a good understanding of what is meant by "emotional readiness." We can assist children in maturing by having clear behavioral expectations. The teacher should construct a behavior plan that you and your child understand and that is within the range of age-appropriate behaviors. Behavior plans have a higher success rate when the teacher, student and parents have participated in setting and maintaining the goals together.
Does the school counseling program have a social skills group? If not, do they have referrals in the community? Social skills groups can help children strengthen appropriate coping skills, problem solving and peer interactions.
How is your child doing academically? Are any interventions needed?
Having a clear plan and strategy for your child's retention can help lessen everyone's anxiety and increase your child's school performance.
Advice from our experts is not a substitute for professional diagnosis or treatment from a health-care provider or learning expert familiar with your unique situation. We recommend consulting a qualified professional if you have concerns about your child's condition.