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Unruly Child with Pass-the-Blame Parent


Junior Member
I can not believe some parents these days. I have a student in my first grade class who is continually hitting, pushing and calling the other students names. I have sent notes home and the parents are aware of this problem. I have even had the principal speak with the child about treating others the way we want to be treated. We have a school pledge and also a classroom rule that we focus on that states the same thing.

Well, this past week every special teacher reported that she was hitting and pushing others and interrupting their classes. I once again sent a note home and this was the mothers turnaround response.

"I read your note and have spoke with ________ about this behavior, BUT she is very sad. She is not happy coming to school anymore. She came home crying one day and said that the other students were hitting her. (The students have grown tired of being hit and some of them are sometimes hitting her back now. I do not abide by this either. )
She said that they would not play with her and were calling her names. I want her to like school and I am at a loss as to why she is so sad. I would like your advice on what might be wrong."

I have not responded to this because I could not believe she even wrote something like this. The reason the other students will not play with her much anymore is because of the way she treats them. She is totally disrespectful to my assistant and myself by talking back in an angry tone lots of time. I am really concerned about her behavior and really want to help her.

Please share any ideas that you might have to deal with this parent and also to help the student.


Senior Member
Troubled kids...

Parents only know what their kids tell them. Some kids are able to get their parents to believe anything. Maybe the school's guidence can people help her with social development issues,but if the parents don't support the programs, you won't see improvement. If you want to try a behavior modification chart, go for it. Getting the kid to buy in is the hard part.


Senior Member

I agree with the other poster...It sounds like this kid has told her mother that she hasn't done anything to provoke this behavior. I am surprised though, that after hitting and pushing others, all she has had from the school is a chat with the principal. The mother can't solve all problems that happen at school, especially if the child is lying, so the administration needs to take a more solid stance against this kind of behavior.


Senior Member
This sounds like a vicious cycle. The little girl hits out of frustration and not having any social skills, and the other kids are no longer receptive to her. This makes her more frustrated and less likely to use more positive ways of getting attention, so she hits more - which makes them more likely to respond in kind - and on it goes.

In my experience, when a kid has poor social skills and has made mistakes with a peer group, the group is NOT forgiving, even when the troubled child's behavior changes for the best. I have seen this over and over again - a kid receives a huge amount of behavioral intervention and is promised that the other kids will now like him or her and want to play. This is not the case! Kids (and adults) continue to treat that child as though she is just covering up or waiting for an opportunity to go back to the bad behavior. Sometimes it takes switching classes or schools to get a fresh start.

So it's not enough to just get the parent to fix her child's behavior. If this girl is going to fit in at all, she needs the work in the context of this group. It's not enough for her to know how to "use her words" - she has to know how to use them when the specific peers in her class need to hear them.

The other kids, at this point, probably ARE calling her names or responding to her negatively. They don't know how else to cope with misbehavior. But they are many, and she is only one. And when a group performs an action, it is much more powerful than a single individual.

The parent is right to be concerned that her daughter is sad and hates school. Her child will in all likelihood not respond to any interventions at all unless she feels welcome and safe.


and you are supposed to be wonder woman?


I have great sympathy for you. I'm not sure what suggestions dramacentral has for you, but I believe you are already "trying to work within the context of a group". I would just agree with the parent that her daughter's reaction is quite normal. Does mom like to hang around wild and disruptive people who hit her? I don't and I don't give them many chances to do so! Why do we expect kids to be any different? We seem to think it okay to allow the others in the class who have their own issues to be the golden therapist for these kinds of kids. We also often "punish" our best behaved kids by having the disruptive ones sit next to them. How fair is that?

Get the counselor and psychologist to help you. Perhaps they could have a lunch time and then invite a special friend for lunch for socialization. Mom needs to consider medication perhaps or therapy for her child. I just had a mean little girl finish up testing by a well respected psychiatrist. Mom tried to make all kinds of fancy diagnoses and the final conclusion was an unstable home situation with a pending divorce, a controlling and fearful child and a weak mom. It often isn't a mystery when we know more about the home situation.

My experience is just the opposite than drama centrals'. I find that most children are very forgiving and open to others who have some behavioral issues. I don't blame them if they shut down after being hurt repeatedly. I'd say any kid who continually opens themself up to be injured by a nasty kid has some emotional issues of their own and they need protection.



Senior Member
defensive behavior

I am not surprised. I am sure that the parent got the full story from her child, and that was probably that she is not only an abuser, but abused. I had a student like this one year. She picked on others, so they responded in the same manner. The behavior was like a revolving door: They abuse me, now I abuse them, now they abuse me...

What I ended up doing, finally, was having a class meeting without the child present. I told her nicely that she was going to go next door to the first grade teacher across the hall to help her. (She was a fifth grader like my other kids.) While the child was out of the room, I told the students that I needed to speak with them about their apparent problem with Amanda. I told them we needed to stop the on-going battles between themselves and her. They reported to me one at a time about the problems they were having with her while I listened. Surprisingly, they also sheepishly admitted that they were bullying her, even while she bullied each of them. They also came to the conclusion that things could be better if they changed their attitudes, and if they did, she would probably change hers. Before Amanda came back to the classroom, they volunteered (I didn't ask them) to write notes of apology to Amanda and try hard to be nice to her.

Thank goodness that ended the problem forever. You will need to look more closely into this situation and do something like I did. Your Amanda may be abusing others, but look for what others are doing to her, as well.


Junior Member
Thanks Everyone!

It is always so constructive to hear other view points and opinions. This is why I love ProTeacher so much. I enjoy reading all of the posts and gain useful information that often applies to a situation that I might be going through.

I am in this profession because I love children and feel "Called" to teach. I sincerely want this little child to be successful. I am going to try some of the suggestions that have been posted. Please feel free to share other ideas.


Senior Member
One thing I do in my class is have the kids rate the general friendliness of the class on a scale of 1 to 5 at the end of each day by handing me a post-it with the number on it. It helps me know what their perceptions are and gives me an opening to ask them about what went on that perhaps I didn't overhear. The correlation is very clear - kids who have friends and allies in the class rate the general atmosphere as very friendly, even if they had three arguments and got teased about their clothes. Whereas kids who got one little glance or a curt remark, but don't have friends and allies - they are the ones stewing, the ones who are apt to snap or take things too personally.

We talk about the friendliness of our class every single day. Sometimes it's a general remark - "I noticed that our score went down today - let's see if we can bring it up tomorrow" and sometimes it's a class discussion about situations or strategies that kids can use. Kids are often surprised to hear what someone else's perception was of the exact same situation. We do role plays and stories about social situations, so that we have a repertoire of skills to draw upon during a stressful situation.


Meet with the school counselor and get your student involved with social development programs she offers.

Provide extra attention to this student (be subtle) by having her carry materials down the hall (to occupy her hands), talking to her about something, mention a story about something in which she's interested, tell her how glad you are she's a part of the class today, and when she acts up, tell her you'd rather her be a part of the class than have to leave or be separated, etc.

Document every occurence of verbal or physical expression for 2-3 days at a time, and repeat every couple of weeks. See if this type of behavior is on the increase over the rest of the year. Also document your interventions and discussions with her. With these steps, you'll have hard evidence of behavior patterns to present the counselor and your principal as well.

I feel for you, I've run across this too. But with some of these steps, you might be able to curve a few potential incidences. Good luck!