I have two boys, they are very different; in many, many ways. The one who causes me most problems behaviourally at home, and I mean serious issues, is generally compliment at school. My other one, is just the same, no matter where he is.
It has become more apparent recently that Jelly is struggling massively at school. He has few friends and no social skills to make new ones. So when something goes wrong, he is left alone and feeling sad. He has a reputation as a ‘naughty’ child and parents don’t want their child to mix with the naughty child.
And part of me understands. I mean why would you want your child to mix with the one who still bites and hits? Why would you want your child to mix with the one who can’t sit still? Or stand in a line? Or who gets cross and draws on other children’s work or even rips it up? Who shouts out? I get it.
But I’d like to ask you; before you make that judgement, try to understand, try to discover why. I am not making excuses. I am not sharing his story, but for my little boy there are reasons for how he acts.
He has had significant trauma in his life, he is very stuck in ‘fight mode’ if you know anything about fight, flight, freeze.
He is developmentally delayed by about 2 years.
He has learning difficulties.
He has sensory processing problems.
His speech is still significantly delayed.
He has fine and gross motor skill issues.
He has hypermobile joints
When all that is put together, imagine how it feels to be in a (very) noisy classroom environment, unable to communicate, not having a place of safety, not understanding the social skills needed (developmental delay, think back to your child at 3). But he is been asked to do the same as your child at 5.
He physically finds it hard to sit on a chair. He physically finds it hard to sit still. He physically finds it challenging to be a line, he hasn’t got the core strength when there are others pushing and barging. He can’t tell another child he needs space, that everything is too noisy, too busy. So he pushes, he fights for his space, and sometimes other children get hurt.
Physically he doesn’t know where his body is. He has to see his feet to know where they are, or feel them touch something different. He needs constant feedback from the environment; sometimes he moves his hands or feet and accidentally hurts someone else in an attempt to ‘be’.
He can’t tell an adult when someone hurts him, he can only react. He is struggling to get understanding from his class teacher. She thinks shaming him will help, like he chooses this behaviour. He can’t tell someone he is cross because they have just achieved in 2mins what he has spent 60 attempting.
He can’t tell his peers that when he is at school he is terrified that he might not see me or his dad again. He can’t tell them how much he needs contact to know he exists. He can’t explain that toy pig he no longer brings to school, was a link so he knew he was coming home again.
So when your child comes home to tell you about this, or that, that the ‘naughty’ child has done, try to understand that there maybe a little more to the story. Help your child understand that some children are different and possibly they aren’t naughty but instead struggling to cope in an environment that simply doesn’t fit them.