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7 year old, first grader aggressively hurting classmates

I'm at a total loss here.

History: My son, Bo, taught himself to read at 4 years old. Before entering kindergarten he could to basic math story problems (addition/subtraction) and even some basic multiplication. That was a LOT more advanced than anything that was taught that year. As a result he would act out aggressively and even hurt a couple kids over the school year.

1st grade: we started the year with a GREAT teacher. She had been teaching 4th graders the year previously. From Sept-Nov there was not one phone call home telling me that Bo had hurt anyone. We moved in the middle of November and things have been going backwards like we're back in kindergarten again; only now he's bigger and can cause more damage.

I DON'T want to go through another year like the last one. Both my husband and I were bored through school because we weren't challenged. We DO NOT want that to happen to Bo. The school is trying to tell me that the academics have nothing to do with his acting out, but I'm not so sure. If Bo doesn't want to do something he'll do one of three things: 1) He'll flat refuse to do it, 2) He'll half*ss his way through it or 3) He'll get aggressive.

How do I nip this aggression in the bud before he gets the wrap of a bully? We're in the process of setting up and appointment between parents, teacher, principle and school councilor.

At family get-together's he's usually off playing with the older kids. He's also reading at about a 5th grade level.

Edit 1: Sat down at a meeting with his teacher, principal and a school shrink yesterday.  We all agree he's a super bright kid, just not so much socially.  The shrink is going to observe him in the classroom, and on the playground to rule out autism or asperger's. I guess there's a HIGH percentage of asperger's in this school.  IF (more like when) my son winds up in the Principal's office again he's also going to sit in on that to catch my son's thought process.  I also found out at that meeting that my son scored in the 95% for the initial testing for the Highly Capable (Challenge) program.  He'll be testing this Saturday the 12th for placement.

Edit 2: He took the HiCap test a couple days ago and said it was pretty easy. We won't find out until around spring break the results.


Asked by Rosehawk at 9:38 PM on Jan. 28, 2011 in School-Age Kids (5-8)

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Answers (12)
  • That was a LOT more advanced than anything that was taught that year. As a result he would act out aggressively and even hurt a couple kids over the school year.

    Being advanced does not make kids aggressive- I do not buy into the whole he acts out aggressively because he is bored mentality- they are separate issues- bored kids may be disruptive and wiggly-but aggression is an issue all on its own-

    Challenging children are hard to parent and you need to accept that its going to take a lot of hard work, clear boundaries and consistency to change the behaviors. The good news is that as a teacher, I can tell you that behavior problems in first grade are pretty common and kids eventually get it and come out of it OK- you just need to find what works for him and be consistent.
    Please do yourself and your child a favor and stop using his academic gifts as a reason for aggression- CONT

    Answer by soyousay at 9:49 PM on Jan. 28, 2011

  • Look at each issue on its own and address each one on its own. It will all be fine with a little hard work from everyone and some patience.

    My son was a wild one K-2 and I had to practically sit on him to get him to mind- he is in 6th grade and although he still has that wild streak-he is no longer out in the hallway for blurting out in class over and over again ;)

    Answer by soyousay at 9:51 PM on Jan. 28, 2011

  • As an educator, I find positive reinforcement very helpful- and not being stingy with consequences. Maybe the approach to getting him to do work needs to be changed. If he is bored, maybe he needs to be skipped up a grade. I did it when I was in the first grade and I turned out fine. It might have to do with the move, maybe he needs to communicate with someone about how he's feeling? If he gets aggressive, of course something needs to be done as well- no special privileges?
    Good luck, hope you guys can work things out :-/

    Answer by LishaBee at 9:51 PM on Jan. 28, 2011

  • Pros and Cons to both being the oldest and the youngest-just remember-he is only 7 he has a lot of growing and maturing to do- I would not worry that he is a bully for life because he is aggressive at 7-
    Some of my roughest first graders end up being the most well behaved second graders in the bunch- consistency and team work is the key-work with him, the school and your family to help him find other ways of dealing in social situations that do not include hitting- you could start with "You never lay your hands on anyone in anger-EVER" some kids need it spelled out in black and white- have zero tolerance for hitting- give him strategies for dealing with it- walk away, talk about it, do some push ups, whatever- just don't put your hand on anyone in anger-EVER.

    Answer by soyousay at 10:11 PM on Jan. 28, 2011

  • My son is a black and white kind of kid- we have to have very clear rules or he just doesn't get it- really- I tell his teachers, if you want him to be quiet-just say "be quiet" no explanations- when you try to explain that talking while the teacher is talking is rude-he thinks its negotiation or excuse time-
    Challenging kids are exhausting to parent-but they are a joy too!

    Answer by soyousay at 10:14 PM on Jan. 28, 2011

  • I don't think his being aggressive is due to him being bored. I would bring him in to the doctor to see if it could be something wrong..or maybe check his diet. Sugar does strange things to kids. He definitely needs strict consequences for bullying though. You want to nip this in the bud.

    Answer by bookmommy at 10:38 AM on Jan. 29, 2011

  • That is kind of the way I'm leaning LishaBee, he missed the cut-off in the school district by 6 weeks when we started kindergarten. All the advice I'd received at the time was to wait an additional year so that he would be one of the oldest in his class. Now I'm wondering if that was the best choice for HIM.

    Comment by Rosehawk (original poster) at 10:00 PM on Jan. 28, 2011

  • I agree the boredom is not the cause of the aggressive behavior. Being bored is not a license to misbehave in school.


    Answer by maxswolfsuit at 2:18 PM on Jan. 29, 2011

  • okay behavior -- clear rules. Postive expetations and TEACHING what to do. BUT>... boredome DOES lead to acting up. (there's a reason for the old "idle hands saying") and if they are trying to say one has nothing to do with the other then they are focusing only on the child in a neg. way and not in a "what can we do to improve the situation for him"
    Its and interaction b/w the learner and the environment.
    Part of it can be for you to DEMAND they evaluate him for a "gifted" program and that they set up curriculm changes for him. Also to work on POSITVE behavior (give him a behavior to DO rather than the one they don't want).
    The best way I've had that put to me is : If you are just trying to get rid of the neg. behavior (throwing books) then ok you take away the books. Great now he won't throw books but you've left it up to his imagination as to HOW to get what he needs (in this case it was attention) instead REPLACE

    Answer by MamiJaAyla at 8:49 PM on Jan. 29, 2011

  • Also, can you get in touch with the teacher with whom he did great and ask her how and what she may have done that made such a difference.
    I'm going through a very sim. situation. P.S. is he being straight up aggressive... or playful (that's what's going on with us - he wants to play but .. you CAN'T USE YOUR BODY and that include picking someone up etc esp. if you are pretty much the tallest in the class)

    We're supposed to be an RTI district but the AP pretty much told me that b/c he was academically fine to ahead it didn't apply ... I don't think so!!!
    She's out of luck I just did a FAB/BIP training and since I work for our district I looke up the manuals on line and WILL be going in to explain that the WHOLE POINT was to do something BEFORE it became a bigger issue... not wait until.
    so I sympathize.

    Answer by MamiJaAyla at 8:54 PM on Jan. 29, 2011