Friday, November 14, 2008


Here's some of K's antics today...

Mommy, we are going on a trip and I want you to pack my clothes. We're gonna bring our toys to everyone around the world (can you tell they just dedicated the operation christmas child boxes at school?). But we're not going to just leave them there, we need to bring the kids back here for a sleepover and we'll adopt them so they can still play with the toys later. Is that ok? Can I wear this?

Is today tomorrow? Because I want to go to "H's" birthday party.

Oh man, Brianna and Emma, I just finished cleaning up all those toys and now I have to do it all over again! (with no prompting, he then started cleaning back up the bin of toys that yes, he'd just picked up 5 minutes prior! Sometimes the kiddos CAN be a big help....)

On another note, Kristopher has been having some behavior issues here lately. It's like he's become a different kid in the past 2 or 3 months. He's transformed from being respectful, kind, and generally a good kid to being mouthy, mean, and making me say to myself "WHERE DID THIS CHILD COME FROM?" a few times a day. I'd love to think that it's just a phase and he'll grow out of it. I'd love to think that strong discipline and strong love will bring back our 'old Kristopher'. I'd also love to think that it's his age and all kids go through it. I might even say it's his still adjusting to new siblings. But I know better.

I know that the behaviors I'm seeing are the same ones exhibited by some of the kids in his class at school. And he's catching on. Fast.

Let me start this with a disclaimer: Kristopher goes to a private preschool at our church right now and I don't find fault with the program AT ALL. I like his teacher and aide, I like the administration, there's nothing that I would ask for them to do differently. There's no easy fix to stop the behaviors from coming home. There is NO ONE AT FAULT with the school for his picking up these behaviors. It's simply that he's at an age where kids' behaviors are EASILY picked up. And I'm so very tempted to just keep him home despite how much he LOVES SCHOOL.

Earlier this week I had the thought that went something like this... he didn't do these things before starting school but now slowly, as he's 'warmed up' at school and made friends, he's gotten worse, and worse, and worse. Some days I just want to home school him because after a few days away from school with some strong discipline, he IS different. He DOES go back to his sweet self. Then he goes back to school and it starts all over again. So what do we do? It's a good school, good teachers, even good kids! It's just that kids will be kids and there are some (everywhere...) whose parents aren't as "strong" as we are on discipline and issues of the mouth... and hands...

I will not just look away when my son walks out of the room being mouthy to myself or to Mike and thankfully he hasn't done it to anyone else to my knowledge. I will not allow him to hit, kick, push, or take things away from anyone else either. To me that's called bullying and just because the other kids are smaller doesn't give him any rights above them. I will not let him throw things, lash out, or be verbally unkind to anyone without him expecting a consequence for that action.

I also know better than to think that taking away all of his toys, computer time, tv time, and every other activity under the sun will make the behaviors go away. Yes, some at a time, but not ALL. Because a bored child is a child IN EVEN MORE TROUBLE. And there's no question in my mind that he will act out more if he doesn't have enough things to do.

One day earlier this week I posted about K's behavior and what we did as a result. Then on Wednesday we had another issue. K had first stacked up a ton of blocks on the glass coffee table. I told him once that it wasn't allowed from another room. I told him a second time that I was coming to check on him (both times he replied and I gave him ample time to make the right decision before going to the living room). I finally did go in to find him walking out of the living room to the playroom to get MORE blocks and he KICKED EMMA on his way through simply because she was between him and the blocks! I was fuming!

K was told to sit on the couch for quite some time and in the mean time I called Mike. I don't make consequence decisions when I'm 'hot' and I knew this was one that needed Daddy input on what the consequence should be. K ended up being told he'd be going to bed early with no story and that he had lost privileges for the day. He was given a piece of lined paper with his name written on it to practice writing his name on. Then another paper with uppercase letters. Then another paper with lowercase letters. He didn't think of this as any punishment, but it meant he was in a VERY structured situation and he was doing something basically by himself with me guiding him and checking in on him. His desk is in the family room right now and he was to be IN IT and working on this. By the time he'd done those three things it was about time for the kids to have ST and he was allowed to play (an academic website) while they worked with ST. Mike brought home Chinese food (since after all this I hadn't cooked...) and the kids ate while the last person finished up ST. 6:00 and he put on pajamas, sat and played quietly for a little bit, and 7:00 he was in bed. It turned out to be an ok evening, but man oh man...

I don't like having to take away his ability to play freely and interact with his siblings. In fact, right now he and Brianna are in his room playing nicely... but this attitude, the disregard for others, the mouth running off, it's just not something that's going to stick around.

Any thoughts? Advice? Been there done that and wrote a book I should read? Complaints that I'm too hard on my kid? Whatever you got, go for it... I'll hear you out (but as always please be respectful!) I know there are seasons for everyone and kids especially go through times of testing. It hasn't been constant with K, it's been a week or two here and there it just seems like each time it comes up it's worse than the last.

The hardest part is that I think if I decided to keep him home, we wouldn't be having this trouble... yet he LOVES school and quite frankly he does great while he's there, enjoys the social time, is learning what he should... it's just his attitude that needs adjusting.


  1. Hang in there!! It's a phase!! My Chris was a "stinker" as a 4 & 5 year old, but I don't know what it is, but once he turned 6, he's been the sweetest kid ever. His swimming teacher had even said that was her experience with boys - once they turn 6, it gets a lot easier (and then I guess they'll turn 16 and it will get a lot harder!!)

    I totally took away toys, treats, etc. -- do what works!! (I remember carrying a yelling 4 year old over my shoulder thru the zoo to get back to the car because of his behavior. He kept yelling "I'll be good now, Mom" - I got A LOT of smiles and "been there/done that looks" from other parents).

    Again, hang in there!!!

  2. Be consistent! That's what I keep telling myself, so I guess I figure it will work for you too! LOL
    I, too, had a very tough day yesterday and called my husband to discuss our situations...I had problems with a few little people yesterday! The benefit I have with my kids being home with me all the time is that I can be consistent all day, and work constantly on character issues. It gets hard sometimes and we certainly go through phases, too...and that's when I realize I haven't been as consistent as I should have been. Oh, our little sinners!!! :-)

  3. i think you are doing the right consistent..always. I don't think taking him out of school is the solution. Just let him know his behavior is unacceptable, which you seem to be doing... good luck. I have 3 girls 8,7 and 5 and we deal with the sassy attitude all of the time. I always tell them that they are teaching William ugly ways and he copies everything they do YIKES!

  4. Hmmmmm....

    Some ideas. If he mouths off to you or Daddy, or says something mean to a sib, you can take away all sweet food for a day. No juice, no candy, no cookies, no dessert, nothing sweet at all. I tell my kids when they ask why no sweets:"What you said to (name) was not sweet, it was bitter. I will not put sweets in your mouth today when you have said bitter things".

    Another angle is to give a chore to make up for saying mean stuff, accompanied by:"I want your hands to be at least as busy as your mouth has been".

    For not following directions, I do practice time. I unexpectantly interrupt a fn activity/playtime and have the child practice the previously disobeyed direction several times over. That is done a few times over the course of the day.

    Hope this helps, feel free to ignore LOL.

  5. (Sorry this is so long, but lots of ideas came to mind - drawing on my long years of working with kids here)

    Yep, sometimes they pick up toys - and sometimes they pick up attitudes!

    Despite your concerns about this latest phase, it sounds as if Kristopher is being exceptionally helpful around the house, and I am in awe of Brianna's achievements. Way to go!

    I agree that five can be a very self-centered age - I think it has to do with figuring out just who you are, when you are suddenly a big kid in some ways (kindergarten!!) and have acquired lots of new skills - but are still little in other ways, even though you don't want to be and try to act as grown-up as possible and distance yourself from what you consider those "babyish" ways.

    Having three younger siblings compounds the contrast, since Kristopher is striving to be the "big boy", yet is still a little boy at the same time. He has to "act big" in his own estimation to distinguish himself from the younger ones, and also to separate himself from the less-mature part of himself.

    Alas, his less well-behaved classmates can be enticing role models, since they obviously get away with stuff at home that is certainly off-limits to your children, and no doubt Kristopher hears all about such exploits at school. Such kids probably seem very attractively adventurous and independent and daring to him, and those are likely to be qualities he wants for himself.

    Is it possible that another child is teasing Kristopher about helping to care for his siblings? Calling him a babysitter or a nanny or something similar? Kids can latch onto the most ridiculous things when they're trying to separate themselves from early childhood.

    So...what to do?? How about some special one-on-one time with his dad, a sort of big guys' excursion for ice cream cones or another treat and a little shared conversation? Nothing accusatory...just lots of praise for Kristopher being such a good helper and how much he is appreciated, and how nice it is when family members help each other. Not too much emphasis on "you're such a big boy now", since that expectation seems as if it is a little scary still for Kristopher.

    Have his father ask him about kindergarten: do kids help with clearing up and other tasks there (like he does at home)? Who are his school friends? What are they like? Why does he especially like them?

    What do he and his friends do at recess? Do they ever make up games (imaginative play - acting out stories)? Who gets to be Superman (or whatever powerful character is featured)? Is it always the same child? Who decides who plays what role?

    Then dad could share some stories about HIS childhood.

    If it turns out that one classmate is especially admired by Kristopher but has behaviors you don't want him to emulate, a word to the kindergarten teacher might be in order. Perhaps a unit on friendship and consideration might be in order, and perhaps the teacher could discretely redirect Kristopher towards more likely companions.

    Another idea would be to invite the problem child home for a play date, so you could observe the dynamics and perhaps offer a sage comment or two (i.e., "in our house, we say thank you", or, "in our house, we don't push each other"...)and similarly redirect play that veers off-track.

    But again, most of it sounds like Kristopher is just being five!

    Hope things settle down...

    Susan in Ky
    Cousin to Two from Ukraine

  6. I hear exactly what you are saying. I homeschooled up until last year because I was very ill and could not homeschool the children. We put them in public school and we are seeing exactly what you are right now. They LOVE school so we let them go back this year, but it's proving to be tougher. We have very firm boundaries, limits and disciplinary actions. I think you are doing a good job! Keep it up! One thing that helped us was consistency! And sometimes, quite frankly, that's hard to keep up.

  7. I have been there, done that, and for the most part am still in it!! My main suggestion would be not to worry yourself about whether or not this wouldn be happening had you kept him home. We can't shelter our kids from the outside world (as much as I would like to sometimes...ok, most of the time), we just have to ensure we do our best to instill the best morals in them and give them the tools to know how to behave out in the "big world".

    My son was also a very sweet, well-mannered kid, until he went to school. Then it seemed all of my hard work raising him to be that sweet, well-mannered kid all went in the toilet. I know I can't protect him from the real world, I need to help him know how to survive in it and make the right choices.

    We had a big lesson in this just the other day. Nolan can be very challenging at home, but at school he is VERY anal about following rules and listening to other adults. And I mean anal to the point that he has gotten very upset and cried when he couldn't follow the rules in a situation that was no fault of his own. It was such a silly thing too...but it really bothered him. Anyways, this past week I got a note home from his teacher saying that he had behaved very inappropriately a few times in class that day. I won't get into details, but I was horrified!! I honestly never thought I'd see a note come home with him for bad behaviour at school..a place where he is ALWAYS on his best. We talked about what he did and why he did it, and he told me his friend had told him to do it. He knew it was wrong, but his friend kept telling him to do it so he did. He had a big lesson from us about making his own choices and peer-pressure. He lost all tv and video game game priveledges for the night, wasn't allowed any kind of "treats", and was to go to bed at 7:30 (normally he goes around 8:30 or 9:00). Well, the early bedtime really backfired on me as he was up at 4am the next morning! LOL. I didn't expect him to fall asleep then, I just thought he would read or something.

    Anyways, I got off track. Like others said, be consistant, keep teaching him the proper way to behave, and he will learn. He will also test you, that's part of being a kid...but hang tough

  8. I know that my opinion as a single woman doesn't really count but...I'm a *huge* homeschool fan. Most of the families in my church homeschool for the purpose of being *the* voice in their childrens lives. It is a true sacrifice but one that we believe is very important.

    What does Mike think?

  9. All I can tell you is from my own experience. Similar situation with Joseph, but he went throught, preschool, Kindergarten, and 1/2 through 1st grade! ENOUGH!

    I pulled him out and have homeschooled him since. UNFORTUNATELY he has kept some behaviors, or I should say reverted, d/t divorce, alcoholic father...etc. But I am very tough on him, but also very loving. We don't let him away with much, but do offer Grace on occasion, but let him know it and only if it's for something that didn't hurt another.

    Saying this, I do regret keeping him in school that long. I'm not saying it would have been different, I don't know that, but I just wish I had trusted myself sooner that I could homeschool him. I was going through an ugly divorce, very poor health and was a "new" christian.

    Once my faith in Jesus became strong and I surrendered to Him and knew that I was to homeschool my kids. I will be homeschooling Jonathan and Anah as well. Just my two cents for what it's worth.

  10. There is a website that has a lot of good tips. The link is

    I don't agree with everything on it but one thing we picked up is the concept of "Tomato Staking". Essentially the idea is that just like tomato plants need to be tied to a stake to grow strong and true, the same with your kids. When a child is "wandering" then you tell them that they must need some time with mom or dad to learn how to act. The child then stays right with you - I mean RIGHT WITH YOU while you go about your day. If you are in the kitchen, they are next to you helping or playing quietly right there with you. It has really made a difference for our kids when they start to struggle with lots of little misbehaviors that are hard to pin down.

    Let us know what you end up doing and how it works!

  11. I don't have kids here on earth. But. I did work in a church preschool/daycare setting. I can tell you that we were pretty strict, did our best to avoid kids learning "naughty" things from eachother. But, invariably, about a month after a "new" child would start, their behavior change and escelate. A lot. I can also tell you that the parents who stayed consistent saw this taper off after another month or two.

    In other words, in my own inexperienced opinion, you're doing things right and your little guy is exhibiting totally normal preschool behavior. Doesn't make it "right" - just normal.

  12. Do the benefits of Kristopher being in school outweigh what you see as the drawbacks? What do you most want Kristopher to be learning right now, and is that what he is learning at school?