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Broken School Property ** need advice
May 1, 2007
6:21 pm
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My 8 year old got mad this afternoon at school and went to hit the brick wall, he missed and hit the fire alarm box and broke the glass, he didnt get hurt but he did break school property, his teacher called and told me about it, I am still at work so I have not read the note from the school yet.

My question is..

If I have to pay for this glass do I have my son work the money off at home AND do some work around the school too?

If I dont have to pay for the glass I was thinking about having him go to the school one day AFTER school, during his time and pull weeds, clean bathrooms, what ever the school will let him do, is this a good idea?

but if they do have me pay and I have him do things for me do I still have him do that at the school? Part of me thinks yes because the damage happened at the school and he needs to learn to control himself but part of me wonders if this is overkill.
any advice would help.

even advice on what I should have him do to help pay for what he did.

Thanks
Elle

May 1, 2007
6:47 pm
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gracenotes
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elle,

I guess if I were in your shoes, I would wait first to discuss this with the teacher. What kind of consequences will he have at school? Will he get detention? A suspension? Will that be enough?

I would also have a long talk with your son tonight, find out how he feels about this. Is he remorseful? Does he care that he damaged property? Was this intentional in any way, or more impulsive, angry behavior? To me, its a different thing if he really feels bad about what happened vs. the "I don't care" attitude.

Is this an ongoing anger problem, or a one-time thing? Does he often hit the brick wall?

It does sounds like it was not a willfull desire to do property damage on his part. If he hit the brick wall, he might be in the emergency room right now. Sounds more like out of control anger.

I work in a school system with many angry kids. How is the school helping him with his anger? Is he in any type of anger-control group? Doeshe have any resource services? Does he get some kind of counseling?

If this is a pattern, I hope he is getting some of these services, if the school has them. If this is a one-time thing, maybe he has learned his lesson.

Sounds like you and the school staff need to come up with a plan as to how to deal with this. I don't know if a purely punitive approach will solve anything because it sounds like there are some underlying emotional problems.

May 1, 2007
6:54 pm
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on my way
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I agree with what gracenotes said as well. If he were my son, I would ask him what angered him so to punch a brick wall. Remind him that he could have also damaged his hand. And point out that it is okay to be angry, but there are better ways to express it, and ask him if he can think of any other ways. Ask him how he thinks he could of avoided it could have avoided it. Sometimes hindsight is better than foresight when anger is involved, but what you want to help him do is 'think' next time rather act it out and punch a wall.

I also think that if you are required to pay for it, then yes he needs to work it off at home and pay you back. And perhaps a formal apology or a letter of apology that he has to write to the principal would be sufficient.

May 1, 2007
6:54 pm
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_anonymous
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There has to be consequences for his behavior. You could consult with the school psychologist as to what they would recommend as an appropriate consequence for a child his age. He is responsible for his anger and the destruction of property that resulted from it. He chose to be angry and chose to physically act out. Anger management class would be appropriate. Depending on what the laws are in your state a parent could be held financially responsible for the actions of their child. If the school expects you to pay for it then your debt to them is satisfied and your son would need to work off the debt to you.

May 1, 2007
7:23 pm
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on my way
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I meeant to add that it is important I beleive, for him to be able to let out whatever anger is there, especially if he cannot verbalize it at this time. You may be more in tune with what may cause the anger for him than he is at this time, but having an outlet is also beneficial, a positive outlet.

We had an old army duffle bag that we stuffed and hung in the attic for one of my sons to punch (work out on). We thought this might help him. Don't think it did, but he did use it, and in a way took responsibility for his own anger at that time.

wish you well.

May 1, 2007
10:07 pm
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Thanks all..
I should add that he has been seeing a psycologist since he was 5, he is adopted, he has ADHD and other problems, the school psycologist, the teacher, and I have been working together all year trying to work on some behavior problems, his psycologist told me that he is missing the connector in his brain that tells him to stop before he acts.

the reason he got so mad is because the teacher told the class to put their books away it is time to go to the gym, he ended up taking his book with him, she told him he needed to take it back, he refused, the teacher got him to take it back but when he came back someone was in his seat, she told him that would not have happened if he would have put his book back when he was told, he started his tantrum, got sent to the time out room in the office, the teacher went out about 5 minutes later to make sure he went, he was standing in the hall ticked off, she tried to get him to talk but he got mad and punched the wall because he wanted his seat back. he hardly ever feels bad for what he did, I tried to talk to him about it tonight and he forgot what he did.. I asked what happened at the school, I got a phonecall from the teacher, he had no idea what I was talking about, (my thought is it was selective memory syndrome. LOL...) but when we talked about it he said, well, thats OK, they can fix it.. UGHHH I am so frusterated..........

dinner is over and cleaned up, so I am going down to talk with him and let him know what is going to happen with his actions, I wanted to wait until I had more feadback because I had no idea how to handle this situation. I am still not sure if what I am doing is right or not, I dont want to punish to the part where it is over the top, but then again I dont want to not punish enough and make him think that what he did is OK, it is never OK to act the way he did, but he is so impulsive. that is what we are all working on, how do I stop the impulsive behavior???

sometimes when I talk to him I feel like he does not even hear a word I say, he is out in space somewhere..

I am going to remain positive,

as a friend of mine helped me put it, he is my "spirited child" sometimes I just need advice of others to figure out what to do.

thanks again for all your help.
Elle

May 2, 2007
11:50 am
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gracenotes
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elle,

That explains a lot. Good to have more information. There are kids with similar behaviors at the school I work at.

There's really no absolute right or wrong in this situation. I can appreciate what a challenge your son must be, and selective memory seems to be alive and well in kids, haha. And, the lack of caring is so frustrating. I wonder if they really, really do not care, or are just saying this? I have no answers.

Whatever you decide, there needs to be consequences, whether at school or home, maybe both.

May 2, 2007
1:27 pm
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My 7 yr. old second grader has severe ADHD, depression with psychotic features, and is in a special class with others that have behavior problems. Mine does and acts as yours does. I have had to own up to my role and I am trying like heck to work with mine. The bottom line is acting out in that way is socially unacceptable that can lead to legal consequences such as juvenile hall and jail. Boys seem to have a tendancy to act out physically when they are angry and dont use their words to express their feelings as well as girls do. It is a boy thing. I had mine tear every thing off of all the class room walls, and turn over every desk. Just cause he was told no. There has to be consistent consequences (that is where I fall short). I am working on catching mine being good and praising him and not yelling at him. I think a lot of parents are in your shoes (our shoes).

May 2, 2007
1:49 pm
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I just went to a conference with my school. There was a man speaking there named Dennis Mitchell who spoke wonderfully about discipline, appropriate levels of discipline and proactive ways to diffuse situations. It was amazing what he said. It has totally made a difference in some of the kids that I deal with everyday (I'm a teacher, but I do use this process on my son, and it works as a parent too.)

He has a couple books out on discipline and he is currently writing one just for parents. He does not have a website yet, but his books are available on Amazon I think.

One of the phrases he taught us has helped with kids arguing about doing stuff that they have to do, but it works in so many ways:

"Is there something in my voice or something in my posture that leads you to believe that I don't mean business?"

The first time I said that in class, the room went silent. When I said it to my son, he put his head down and stopped arguing. It was like the heavens seperated and angels were singing.

Just thought that I would share this with you.

Understand about your child. It can be frustrating. Hopefully you and the school can keep working together to help him.

May 2, 2007
2:09 pm
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Wow, I like that... Is there something in my voice or something in my posture that leads you to believe that I don't mean business?" I am going to use it.. Thanks.

May 2, 2007
2:45 pm
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You are certainly welcome.

I read another book very recently about the E T A process. Are you familiar with that process either???

The E T A process is an acronym that stands for EMOTIONS THINKING ACTION.

Basically this theory says that children do not usually possess the capability to think before they act. They usually act out based on how they feel--or their emotions. The people who teach this process say that adults get so focused on getting kids to think that they overlook the point that emotions usually come before behavior problems in kids.

This process can help children understand that they have the ability to use self-control. If the parent deals with the situation thinking "feelings" instead of "what were you thinking," parents can start to see the underlying causes of the behavior and they will have a much better chance of the behavior changing.

There is another book that I can suggest to you based on the ETA process. It is called "Discipline That Works Five Simple Steps". The author is Joyce Divinyi. There are several great ideas on how to do this process with kids. Everything from asking questions to get the child to express his emotions to teaching the skills of self-control to praise when it is done correctly. It's a relatively short book--very quick read. I had tons of A-HA moments when I read this one.

May 2, 2007
3:00 pm
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I have heard of something like that, his doctor actually told me that he acts before he thinks, but it is because he is missing some things in his brain that help control that, so he gets to try harder than most kids do to try to control that. with a lot of hard work the doc said it can be done. I will pick this book up and read along with all of the other books I have been reading for me.. LOL, I hated to read when I was a kid, but these kind of books i get so interested in, I bet I am going broke with all of the books I am buying, I dont want to get them from the liburary becasue I like to look back and read parts of them.

May 2, 2007
3:04 pm
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soprano2
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At least this one is not too long. Some of those books get so long winded that I get very bored and lost.

May 5, 2007
11:25 pm
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My brother has ADD and other behavioral problems, he's been diagnosed with anti social personality disorder. When he was very young he was diagnosed with ADD and put on meds. They seemed to help for awhile then he started developing nervous ticks and very intense and violent anger outbursts. We soon learned these outbursts were due to being overmedicated on speed, after all the drugs dextroamphetamine is pure speed. Ritilin is a stimulant, and Aderall is the baddest of the bunch as it is very much like methamphetmine. When my Mom detoxed down to a very low dose he did so much better. Many parents do not understand that these stimulants doctor's prescribe for ADD and ADHD can be very dangerous. Many children that were put on these drugs as children turn into addicts because they are used to the slighly euphoric feeling that comes along with the medication. It does, I mean that's reality. My brother started off his drug using career with his prescribed medication for ADD. When I was using I used to love to take those drugs to help me lose weight and to get a energy boost. My Mom really regrets not trusting her gut enough and just believing whatever the doctor's said as gospel truth. Counseling and a lot of one on one tutoring really helped my brother learn to deal with his ADD. Medication alone isn't the answer in my opinion. My ex and my brother both had ADD and they were both hard core addicts, go figure. Years later when I started using and came across speed addicts I saw the same rage my brother had as a child on ADD meds. A little goes a long way. Oh yeah it also stunted his growth. At one point he looked like a AIDS patient he was so skinny. He was on meds for ADD and those kept him up so he was on meds for sleep, he was on upper's and downer's as a child!!! This is so common. So many children are misdiagnosed and put on these meds because doctor's don't take enough time to really get their patients anymore. Just be careful when it comes to the ADD stuff. I'm so worried about my son having ADD since it runs in my family and his Dad has it.
AQueen

May 6, 2007
12:39 am
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Isis
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I am on Adderall, and so is my middle son. Both of us have been diagnosed with ADHD- and not just by the family doctor/pediatrician. My son went through an extensive neuro-psych evaluation before the diagnosis was made.

My son also has a language based learning disability. However, he does not have any social or behavior issues. He has had great success with the Adderall, as have I.

It is a well know and documented fact that meds for ADHD do not stunt growth. Initially, it can have an effect on the appetite, but it usually subsides with time.

It is also a know fact that people with ADHD respond to stimulant treatment in the opposite way of others who don't have ADHD. The stimulant works to slow them down- not speed them up.

"He was on meds for ADD and those kept him up so he was on meds for sleep, he was on upper's and downer's as a child!!! This is so common"

No it is not so common in this day and age. Maybe back when we were kids-but not now.

Please forgive me as I don't want to come off as a know-it-all, however, I do feel as though you should educate yourself on the matter before making blanket statements on a subject that you seem to know very little about. READ: Adderall is bad- it is speed, and people with ADHD becoming hardcore addicts. Apples and oranges here- meds/teatment for ADHD does not lead to addiction and/or hardcore addicts. My husband and I are both educated successful individuals and neither of us are addicts. I am a LCSW and registered nurse, and he is a doctor.

Also, for the record, ADHD is a hereditary condition. I have it, my husband has it, hence two of our children have it.

Elle- I'm sorry for what you're going through with your son. You seem to have a handle on what to do, and I think the 'community service' at school is a great idea. It may very well be a good behavior modification tool.

S-2- great advice! Those books are awesome and I've found them very helpful in helping me help my sons.

Hang in there elle, best of luck and please keep us posted.

Isis

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