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throwing fits

apple annie

Senior Member
I have a student who has somehow gotten into the habit of throwing a crying fit for everything he is asked to do. Over the past two weeks it has become pretty regular. He threw a fit when he was told to finish his workbook page before he could go out for recess. Because he had played and wasted time during class, he was not finished. He started crying and threw his head down on his desk and refused to line up when I told him to go to the end of the line instead of allowing him to cut in line like he tried to do. He threw a crying fit and missed his bus when I told him to pick up the paper under his desk on his way out the door as I was dismissing. He insisted the piece of paper was not his, even though I saw him coloring it a few minutes earlier. If he has to correct his work, (which is usually very sloppy and rushed and his answers obviously show he has not read or listened to instructions) he cries and refuses to do anything. I have NEVER let him get away with this. He has missed MANY recesses, spent many silent lunches, etc... but still he tries to get away with stuff by crying. It drives me crazy. I have tried to call mom, but no luck. Phone has been disconnected. I just keep enforcing consequences, but it is not improvng. I'm sending a note home with him on Monday, but he probably won't give it to her.

I know circumstances happen and phones get cut off, but what are parents thinking when they have made no arrangements to contact them about their own kids? The emergency numbers are no good either. On top of that, this kid, according to mom, has a serious medical condition. You might think there's a possibilty we might have a need to contact her!


Senior Member
Phone numbers

I would try to get the parent in as soon as possible. If sending a note home is the only way then so be it. It is a definite no no not to have an emergency number. Even if it is a neighbor, somone has to be listed. Tell her you have to have one for the county insurance policy deems it important.

c green


I was a cryer myself, and sometimes we don't really mean to--we just well up with tears and really can't stop. But then again...

Have you talked to this kid one on one, and told him that the crying isn't helpful, and is getting in his way? If that's not getting you anywhere, I do think you need to keep trying to make contact with his mom. Yeah, changed numbers are a nightmare.


Full Member
I feel your pain

I have a first grader who talks excessively, fidgets and does not pay attention, but when I give the student an oral reprimand to "change her (name) clip" from green to yellow, or when there is a class assignment she doesn't want to do, she responds by crying and screaming to no end! She will sit/stand for as long as 10 minutes, and absolutely no coddling/consoling will make her calm down. This happened 2-3 times last week and once today before lunch. But when I led her (by the hand) to the Asst. Prinicpal's office for her outbursts and temper tantrums, you'd have been AMAZED to see this kid stop crying. I'm convinced these students do this (at home) just to get their way; but it doesn't work for me in my class! :)

Typically I'd ignore this behavior, but it's to the point where she distracts my other students and they become afraid because of her outbursts. The other first graders look at her as if to say, "What is going on?!"


emergency number

Have you told your school nurse and your secretary that there is no way that this child's parent can be reached? I know my school nurse would not put up with that. She would drive to the house. There has to be some way that she can be contacted. Have you considered a home visit? If this is out of character, there may be something going on at home. He may be cranky because he is not getting enough sleep (maybe the family lost their home?). I would find out what is wrong. After a tantrum (when he is calmed down) I would talk to him. "John I know you weren't crying because I asked you to pick up the paper. Is something bothering you? If you tell me what is wrong, then maybe I can help. I am willing to listen if you have a problem, however you may not throw tantrums in class."


Senior Member
I have a crier too

The crying comes in fits and starts -- some weeks not at all, others almost constantly. My response is always the same. I look her calmly, say, "I know you can handle it. I'll come back in a minute to check on how you're doing," and then walk away. She gets no attention for the crying, and plenty once she calms down.

It's a really important skill to learn how to soothe yourself in frustrating situations. I talk to my kids regularly about taking a deep breath, laughing off minor mistakes, giving yourself encouragement, etc. so these are all things you can do when you feel angry or like you're going to cry.

It's going to be a long process for my crier to develop a more mature identity and coping style, but she will do it. Of course it isn't helping that she is living in a very stressful time and battling real disabilities, but I really think that eventually she will become skilled enough with her coping strategies to become empowered.