Call From The Principal

Discussion in 'Countryside Families' started by Peacock, Dec 21, 2006.

  1. Peacock

    Peacock writing some wrongs Supporter

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    I just got a call from the school principal regarding my 8 year old son. Apparently they were having reading time and a little girl took the pillow my son was using...and he BIT her on the thigh. Got her pretty good, too, I hear. Principal said it was red and puffy but didn't break the skin.

    Yowza. Now, my son is honestly not like this! He's never bitten anyone in anger, at least not since he was like 3 years old, not that it was a problem then either. He's pretty laid back, NEVER gets in trouble at school, only rarely in trouble at home. Even the teacher's reaction, the principal tells me, is that this was completely unexpected behavior for him.

    As a consequence at school, he's going to spend most of tomorrow (except actual teaching time) in the principal's office. Which is a major bummer because, as the last day before Christmas break, it's Party/Fun day. The principal says he'll let my son go back to class for the last hour or so to do their book exchange and have party treats. But he'll miss most of it.

    As a consequence at home...I don't know yet. I have to do some serious thinking to figure out what's up with him. I want to make sure my punishment makes a difference, that it's done for his benefit, not just because I feel the need to do something.

    I have a hard time with my son's discipline because he IS very good. The problems I have with him are things other parents might blow off because they're comparatively minor, but they're major for my son. Things like rudeness, fighting with his sister, not doing what I ask him to do. It's relative, though. What I consider problems someone else might consider normal boy stuff. He generally gets along with everyone, is cooperative, polite (when it counts at least), and gets fairly good grades.

    I know he's had a bit of trouble emotionally lately, though it's hard for me to say whether it's normal 8 year old development or something else. Moving was hard for him; he left behind some really good friends and though he has new ones, they're not quite the same. He fights a lot with his 10 yo sister. He's small for his age and that bugs him. He sometimes says he's not very smart and his teacher has commented that he needs to have more confidence. Yet of course I always tell him how smart he is (and many other good things), he's doing well in school, etc.

    I wonder if he's just not one of those kids that let things build up till they explode? He had a fight with his sister this morning; she's much bigger than he is and she's been hitting and shoving him. This is another problem I need to address; I'm uncertain about handling sibling issues because I never had any siblings and I don't know what's "normal".

    I told him he has permission from me to hit her back if she hits him. I told him to start standing up to her more. I told him that he has the right to defend himself against anyone who pushes him around...but...I didn't think he'd bite anyone!

    {{{sigh}}} Anyone got helpful advice? :help: I'd really appreciate it.
     
  2. Aintlifegrand

    Aintlifegrand Well-Known Member

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    Well..he certainly cannot bite anyone again..so i would address that with him. here's what i think is going on:

    Frustration. His sister picking on him, and the girl stealing his pillow was just one more thing in the line of this " feeling of everyone bullying him>" I would come down very hard on the sister and stop her from aggravating him and hitting him.

    I would also talk to him about the move and see if he is angry but holding it in from that.

    He'll be fine,. just needs to be taught how to deal with his emotions in a better way.
     

  3. caroline00

    caroline00 Well-Known Member

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    if he isnt normally a problem, why not just talk to him and find out what is going on with him. He has already been punished at school. Give him the benefit of the doubt... make a card with him for the little girl instead...

    If trouble is his middle name maybe further discipline is in order...
     
  4. WindowOrMirror

    WindowOrMirror ..where do YOU look? Supporter

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    There are several issues at play here. The greatest of these is that your child believes that there is a stimulus great enough to warrant a biting response. Barring direct life threat, this response should not be in a child's database.

    After this is made clear to the child, it seems like a discussion about where that anger is coming from is valid. Is there something deeper, or is this particular little girl especially difficult to coexist with? (If the latter is true, they will likely marry in the future, so be prepared).

    If he suffers from poor self-esteem and is "picked on", it is entirely likely that he does - indeed - let things build up until they boil over.

    As far as the sibling issues are concerned. We learn what acceptable treatment of others is from our interactions at home with each other. If something is tolerated between children in a family, this means - to the child - that it is acceptable behavior outside the home. After all, we love our family and if we can treat those we LOVE this way, what about that little tart that's just nicked my pillow?

    If you as traditional as I am - and I sense that you are - you will also add in the fact that boys should never lord their physical strength over a female. The only way a male should ever hit, bite, kick, scratch, etc a gal is if she is going to kill him, and possesses the current means whereby to fulfill that threat.

    My son had these issues at 6 and 7. He had a speech impediment and was large for his age. Kids thought he was 10 or 11 and singled him out to pick on because he "talked like a baby". He was in several fights, and we addressed the issue as follows:

    1. Clear boundaries
    We told DS that he would never throw the first blow. If he did he would receive at home punishment that made the school's action look like nothing. If someone spoke to him in a derogatory manner, he was to respond verbally. We discussed appropriate responses and witty comebacks that were not "mean" and would de-escalate, rather than inflame... without giving ground away on "honor"

    2. Girls
    He would never hit, kick, etc a girl unless she could kill him, and if he did, he would receive physical consequences at home.

    3. Fighting
    We told him that if someone hit him first, that he could fight if he chose to, and if that boy was similar in size to him, that he SHOULD fight. I man that takes a punch and walks away cannot retain in himself a sense of honor that will enable him to be a good man and father someday. I stand with Little Texas... "You gotta kick a little"

    After these talks (over a couple of weeks) we ended up with no more discipline around fighting, and one trip in front of the school board. A boy hit DS and DS hit him back... they fought and DS "won" the short fight. The school (Catholic) wanted DS disciplined, and I forbade it. The school and I fought, and I "won". I don't want my son to fight, but if pressed, I want him to defend himself... he did and I was proud of that (and it was invaluable to him).

    In short, a boy must grow into a man, but part of that is the treatment of women and another part knowing what appropriate responses are to certain stimuli. "She made me really angry" is never a good reason.

    Just my $0.02

    Ron
     
  5. kars1995

    kars1995 Well-Known Member

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    I'd also be ready to receive a call from the little girls parents. It's not my business, but I'd be really ticked if an 8yr. old (that definately knows that it's wrong to bite) bit my child.
     
  6. Loriann1971

    Loriann1971 Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I would let his sister know that she is never allowed to hit or push him ...and I would let her know it in front of him, so he feels like you have advocated for him. I would make the punishment for anything physical that she does to him really a hard punishment...something that will catch her attention, whatever that is (It really varies from kid to kid)

    I think that missing the party is a good punishment at school. When I was a teacher I noticed that a lot of times when a good kid did something like this out of frustration, it was one of those reaction things that they did without thinking and then felt so bad about it after...That could very well be what happened. Not that that excuses it, but it explains it a little.

    Is there something that your son would hate to miss out on coming up or something that you could take away that he would miss? Maybe you could make him write an apology to the girl.

    The funniest biting story I remember happened when a neighbor bit me. We were in kindergarten and after she bit my hand, her mother made her swallow a few drops of hot sauce...she said that if she was going to sting people with her mouth, her mouth was gonna sting. Not that I recommend that, but boy I sure felt vindicated at the time...lol
     
  7. Laura

    Laura Well-Known Member

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    It sounds like your son has simply had enough of girls pushing him around. Put a stop to his sister NOW! Before there is blood! Do not leave sibling stuff for them to work out themselves, this can lead to years of violence. His sister is bigger, stronger and probably smarter than him and some day, he will be bigger and stronger and he's gonna kick her butt. Separate them when it starts. It doesn't matter who started what, YOU end it, send them both to their safe zones and do not let them play together for the rest of the day.

    When your son gets home, sit down privately with him and tell him he has a problem that he needs to talk about. Listen to him. You need to help him solve whatever problem he has in the classroom. Is he being picked on because he is small? Ha, I bet that girl will never mess with him again! Missing the class party may be enough punishment, perhaps a spanking, but no long, drawn out punishment.
     
  8. frazzlehead

    frazzlehead AppleJackCreek Supporter

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    Clearly he is very frustrated if he's down to biting. That's hardly the first trick that comes to mind to get back at someone -swatting them, maybe, but biting? Wow. Yep, this one needs a good (calm) conversation about what's really bugging him. Then you need to work on some appropriate responses to bullying, harassment and frustration.

    If he and his sister are having such issues that you need to SUGGEST he start hitting her in retribution, you're gonna live an a war zone soon. Violence in response to violence just escalates the issue ... there are always nonviolent alternatives - and being non violent does not equate to being a wuss, tolerating nonsense, and allowing yourself to be taken advantage of, contrary to many people's opinions. Personally, I think a man who will walk away from a fight has far more honour than one who will return the punch just to prove he's a 'real man' ... no, I'm not trolling on that one, just my opinion.

    I would work much harder at exploring and developing assertive, non-violent alternatives to dealing with confrontation. Just because you are not violent or physically aggressive does NOT mean you are being a wuss or letting yourself be walked on.

    Try looking at some sites on 'responses to bullying' to find some ideas.

    http://www.bullyfreealberta.ca/tips.htm
    http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0012/001266/126679e.pdf
     
  9. Peacock

    Peacock writing some wrongs Supporter

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    You're right. The physical fighting must stop now. I was lamenting about the timing of this (right before Christmas break...when they'll be home for a week and a half) but really, maybe it's perfect timing. I truly do suspect that his relationship with his sister is at the heart of his issues.

    The principal said my son was very apologetic. I'm sure this is true.

    Good point. He hates to write. Not that I want him to associate writing with punishment, but it's certainly an appropriate thing to do.
     
  10. Clifford

    Clifford Love it, or leave it...

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    Call the Principal and TELL HIM that you won't stand for your son to be humiliated by spending time in the principals office during the last day before Christmas break. Either he attends class as usual, or you will be intouch with the school board through your attorney.

    I know your son bit someone, but come on. He's only 8. What is sitting in the principals office during a fun day going to teach him anyway?... other than the Principal is a jerk.
     
  11. WindowOrMirror

    WindowOrMirror ..where do YOU look? Supporter

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    The question of "honor" has both internal and external components. Internally, a boy that runs from a fight will always wonder if he has it in him to defend.. either himself OR his family when the time comes. A boy that has the courage to stand and fight in the fact of fear KNOWS that he CAN protect. In fact, that same boy may indeed be able to walk away from many fights subsequently because he has nothing to prove to himself.

    Externally, a boy who runs from fights will likely call down upon himself more attention, ridicule, and taunting as others are inflamed by his unwillignness to fight. A single instance of defense and others are far more likely to find targets in the future with softer underbellies.

    A soft side is not a bad thing to have, but a man must have a side - to show to those that are unconvinced by talk - that is awesome and fearful. A man must have a hard edge that can be uncovered when the time is right. That edge doesn't just "happen".

    Walking away does not prescribe that you must there fore be a wuss, but doing it 100% of the time does indeed mean that to others, and worse, it will convince the boy of that as well.

    Ron
     
  12. Peacock

    Peacock writing some wrongs Supporter

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    Ron/WOM/Red Devil... :) As always, I truly appreciate your well-stated, thoughtful advice.
     
  13. Peacock

    Peacock writing some wrongs Supporter

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    Are you SERIOUS??? I hope you're being sarcastic.

    If he were in Kindergarten, I might agree with you. But a third grader is plenty old enough for such accountability. I am totally on the same page with the principal and think that Rose is right, his punishment could very well have been tougher. In fact, while I was speaking to the principal, I anticipated at least a day's suspension.

    I think the only reason he didn't get suspended is that third graders probably don't "get" the whole suspension thing...a day sitting in the principal's office is much, much worse.

    BTW, I like the principal. He seems like a really good guy.
     
  14. Peacock

    Peacock writing some wrongs Supporter

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    I wanted to add that my son and his sister *usually* get along very well and have always had a close relationship. They do have a lot of interests in common, they help each other, and usually can work out their own problems.

    I think it is vital for me to make them work out their own problems. BUT yes, this physical stuff has to end.

    I have warned her about what Laura said -- one of these days he'll probably be bigger and can kick her butt. They laugh about it, but it's true.

    Ron, and others -- I agree with the "never hit a girl" rule in theory, as yes, I am a bit of a traditionalist. But I don't think it's okay for a boy to let himself get pushed around by a girl (or later, a man to get bullied by a woman) just because he's been taught not to fight back. There ARE cases where women abuse men. On the other hand, there are certainly ways for a male to "fight back" without using violent force...or teeth.
     
  15. mama2littleman

    mama2littleman El Paso

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    Just another thought. I realize that biting is never acceptable, but make sure that he wasn't provoked. If you have harped on him about not hitting girls, and the little girl is one who hides behind this, then he may have bit her because biting is not hitting.

    We had a similar situation with DS not too long ago. Got a call from the teacher, DS choked one of his classmates. Granted he is 5, but this is completely out of character for this kid. This is a little boy who is so tender hearted that we worry about him. Well, after about 4 hours of questions we discovered that the other little boy had been pulling his hair and finally had spit at my son. The spitting thing drove him over the edge. We had the teacher sit down with both the little boys the next day and lo and behold, DS was telling the truth.

    NOt that his reaction was accepatable, but there is such a thing as mitigating circumastances

    Nikki
     
  16. Maura

    Maura Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Age ten is a turning point for girls. She can now understand the idea of walking in another's shoes. Justice, what is fair. But, at ten (okay, some kids it will happen later, but it was ten and eleven in our family) she is also very focused on what is fair to HER. Every little thing is either fair to her or unfair. This means she is likely to flare up over real or perceived missteps of a younger brother.

    Maybe you need to refocus on dd and make daily time with her. Cook with her, play with her, etc. Also, observe your kids when they don't know you are. You will get a better picture of what is going on with those two siblings.

    If your son is being bullied at school, he needs to learn how to throw a well placed punch to the nose (with shoulder follow through).
     
  17. sullen

    sullen Question Answerer

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    Excuse me???????? Lib much????????
    "you won't stand for it"? puhlleeeeeese.
    as the mother of an 8 yr old, among others, if MY son bit someone, especially a girl, his Christmas would be over.
    "Attending class as usual" is how this country got into this whiny mess. (If you want to discuss this further, start a thread in GC)
    My 10 yr old got Christmas taken away for breaking 2 toys from last Christmas.
     
  18. Jan Doling

    Jan Doling Well-Known Member

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    Maybe she had really nice thighs? Does he usually ask for the drumstick when you serve chicken? :)
     
  19. Peacock

    Peacock writing some wrongs Supporter

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    Ha ha, Jan :)

    Oookay...had a nice long talk with one seriously upset little guy.

    Call me naive, but I actually believe him. He says he didn't bite her in anger...he was mad at her, yes, but not furious, just aggravated. And he had more intended to head-butt her, but unfortunately, his mouth was open and he happens to have these big front teeth that the rest of his head hasn't quite grown into yet. The girl he "bit" didn't even do anything about it...t'was her friend who ratted on my boy. I had imagined this big ugly scene with a crying, wounded girl, and that wasn't it at all.

    Of course, whenever teeth are involved...it's biting. And biting is very bad. :(

    And, of course, the only way to know for sure is to talk to the girl in question (a bit of a bully, he tells me, big surprise there). Who may really think she was bitten, who knows? {{{sigh}}}

    My son admitted that he gets a bit tongue-tied when talking one-on-one to teachers and the principal. Can't blame him. I remember being the same way. Makes it really hard to tell your side of the story. So I'm going in first thing tomorrow morning to attempt to discuss the situation. If my son is telling the truth, I don't think he deserves to miss the whole fun day, do you?

    Good grief, I hope I'm right about trusting him!

    He's working on his letter of apology right now.
     
  20. SteveD(TX)

    SteveD(TX) Well-Known Member

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    Sorry, but a head-butt with an accidental semi-bite deserves the same punishment.

    Tell him to say this next time when he gets in a fracas with a girl, and it will avoid all physical confrontations:

    "YOU HAVE GOT A HUGE SPIDER ON YOUR BACK!"

    Then he just grabs back his pillow as she starts to dance and scream. Problem solved. Oh, tell him to run away fast, too. :hobbyhors