What do you say to a mother who says her kindergartner has never misbehaved before?
Document and gives examples
Start taking anecdotal notes and get witnesses!
Explain that sometimes children act differently for different people and then ask what type of behavioral management programs the parents have used as well as preschool or day care centers.
Tell her she is welcome to observe from an inconspicuous spot.
Invite her in or have her watch through the window.
Tell them they need to write a book on parenting, because all 5 year olds misbehave sometimes. They are still learning the rules of the world and it is natural for them to test them.
I had a parent say that to me before and it helped to have my principal sit in on a conference with the three of us and share her observations as well. I also agree that detailed and dated anecdotal notes helps.
Put in the positives though too….if you don’t, she will forever be on the defensive.
Well, get out the halo polish. That kid is not of this world.
Invite her back to reality… Kidding:) maybe she means she’s never had a behavior problem at school. Explain to her that expectations might be higher in kindergarten vs. pre k. Or that sometimes new situations can cause a child to react in a less than positive way…
Let her know that a school environment (especially kindergarten with a lot more demands) is a very different and trying environment from at home, daycare, and even 4K.
Have a teacher-student-parent conference. Tell the parent they are only there to listen. Tell the student that the parent is there to learn about what he/she does in school. Start with simple questions about the day, mainly to set the student AND parent at ease. Offer praises when appropriate, etc. When you know the time is right, ask the student specific questions about the behavior….you will know what to say! It just comes naturally to teachers. Yes, it sounds like an ambush….sometimes this is the only thing that will work! Normally, it works like a charm and the problems are soon gone.
Honestly I tell them there’s a first time for everything and aren’t they glad their child is learning to be just like their peers. Now is the time to work as a team and work on positive feedback together so their child will continue the same wonderful behavior at school as they do at home
You can use phrases like, “This is what I’m seeing at school…” And have documentation with dates and times and the behavior.
EVERY kid misbehaves. It”s a fact of life! I have a parent I am worried about because they wanted to know how often I check email during the day. Never when I have kids, and depends on what I am doing during prep time !!!!!
Tell her “sometimes children get involved in what the other children are doing, and join in on the behavior. I hope that (n) will understand that this behavior is not acceptable and decides to return to the sweet child you describe.”
I agree with Sheila, “This is what I see at school…” also, let them be aware that children will act differently in different settings. At home, is the child an only child, youngest, oldest, or middle child? Perhaps, that makes a difference to why it isn’t being seen at home. Most of the time, the parents are in denial. They think that teachers don’t know what’s going on. They think that if they deny it long it enough it doesn’t happen, but I’m pretty sure that if the behavior is showing up in school, mostly likely it’s also made a debut at home. That’s why keeping date/time events/anecdotal notes about a child’s behavior is important. Sometimes, a pattern in behavior is noted & it helps to see when the behavior mostly occurs. This helps you to help modify unwanted behavior problems.
Ask some questions of mom like, “What happens when Johnny gets frustrated at home? How do you handle it when his behavior occurs?” A lot of times parents do not see inappropriate behavior for what it is and it does not bother them or they don’t know what to do about it. It is our job to help them correct behavior at home, too.
After, I would pick myself up off the floor from laughing hysterically……
Liar, liar, pants on fire………admitting our children are not perfect is very hard. Good advice from everyone else on here!
Stay calm! Because what that Mom is implying is that You are the problem. She probably doesn’t mean too, but that’s how it makes you feel. Remain professional! You know it’s not true, no child is perfect! Make notes, if the principal has observed the behavior and can sit in on the discussion with Mom that would be great! Try to make her know that you want what is best for her child and you know she wants the same. … And if all else fails, recommend she light a candle and put it in a window facing the East, you know, to make it easier for the Three Wise Men to find this perfect child.
What’s really fun is when the parents of a high school freshman tell you the same thing.
She’s not being honest. Her idea of misbehaving is different from everyone else’s? Document what the child is doing.
That could be because no one has ever told the child “no” before. It could be true that if the poor child has never had rules before, technically he couldn’t have broken them. Sometimes the tail wags the dog in these families. You get to be the lucky one to get to educate the parent and child.
Explain to her that this is a learning situation and when anything is new it takes adjusting to. I agree with Kim- document everything and remember, for every one time you correct a child, praise him ten times more. Sometimes it is not that easy but even the little things can be praised
Act like you never heard her say that, and then ask ” what strategies do you use when he does that? What works best for you when he has difficulty in this way? What strategies would you suggest for me to best deal with this when it happens in class?” Teachers don’t need to have the difficulties acknowledged, because that leads to unanswerable questions, such as where did he learn this? Who taught him to misbehave….?
He’s doing it now, in this situation, and you need the parents to start at this place, not in the past, as they are more concerned about who is at fault, ( and they don’t want the blame.)
What kind of weird child have you raised?
Is this is the child’s first time in a situation with many children? If so, you could gently let the parent know that children often react differently when in a classroom with same-age peers. At home, they probably haven’t had 18 friends over to play at the same time, or had 18 additional 5 year olds sitting at the dinner table with them. No wonder they might act differently at school while they’re adjusting!
I tell them that it is not unusual for kids to “act out” when they enter a new school/grade/classroom. There is a different structure, different children, different teacher(s), different set of expectations.
Cindy said it well. This is a whole new place, with new experiences, people and mom isn’t there. It will take time to adjust.