T Nation

Kid Causing Trouble at School


So I know the Nation is not the be-all, end-all of knowledge, but I was hoping that maybe some other parents have experienced something similar, and could share their strategies, since my wife and I are at a loss.

My son is apparently a bully at school. I say that sarcastically, since he is five and it's not like he's beating kids up for their lunch money. Apparently, he plays too rough for the other kids, he won't listen to the teacher since he knows she won't do anything other than talk to him in a high-pitched whiney voice about his 'feelings' and 'what he was thinking when he did _______', and he also won't listen to the bus driver, and has now been kicked off the bus twice. He's not even halfway through the school year!

He has been poking and bothering other kids, doesn't want to sit down and listen, basically wants to do whatever he wants, not what the class is doing. The teacher has been sending notes about the poking and whatnot, but now all of a sudden they talk about how he's been 'hurting so many kids', as if we were supposed to equate poking with violence or something, and now other parents are supposedly sending notes to the teacher about him hurting their kids.

I am not trying to make light of this situation. I know bullies exist, I was bullied quite a bit as a child since I was smaller and weaker than most of the other kids. But it is mind-boggling to us, since he sits through sunday school every week for two hours without hurting anyone, and he can get dropped off at a friends house for hours on end without us present, and no one gets hurt. But suddenly he gets to school and he's kicking ass like it's his job.

I don't know if we are overlooking something, or if the other kids just need to quit being little pansies(my wife's suggestion), but he not only doesn't care about the negative attention, he seems to thrive on it. He is a bright kid, sometimes I think he's too smart for his own good. He can determine very quickly who is going to make him mind and who won't. A friend of ours used to babysit him on occasion, until he started walking all over her because she wouldn't discipline. We gave her very explicit permission to spank him if need be, but she refused because she felt uncomfortable spanking someone else's child(which I can understand). So he doesn't stay at her house anymore.

I am not placing all the blame on the teacher, since I know they are really hamstrung on what they can do for discipline these days. It's not like when I was in school, and they took care of business as needed(I got paddled at least once in every grade through 7th, and I was far from being a troublemaker). The first meeting we had was useless, as I sat there watching a grown woman talk to a five year old as if he could intelligently explain the motive behind his bad behavior, and what he was thinking as he did certain things, and then asked him to sign the notes from the meeting(he's in kindergarten!). Granted, I was a little disgruntled to begin with, having been up since 6:00 the day before and then having to sit and listen to her drivel. I tried to keep an open mind, hoping it would work, but it did absolutely nothing.

So anyway. If anyone can give me some ideas on how to handle this, I'm all ears. I can spank him when he gets home, but he'll still do what he wants when he's at school(already tried that approach).




I'm sorry, I only got through the 1st two paragraphs. My thought is to take him out. He's only five years old, maybe he's not ready for kindergarten. Is your wife at home? If so just take him out.


the answer has something to do with stickers. And a calendar where you put those stickers. You should probably put the calendar on the fridge. Anytime something happens just put some stickers on or near the calendar.

Hope this helps.


Does he look like this?


slit his fucking throat


Great attitude toward 5 year olds. Yes, definitely a mystery on the origin of the problem.


Stickers?....Stickers...? Heres the solution one day when hes eating dinner or watching tv, poke him so hard in the stomach that he spits out the food he was chewing. then Talk to your kid and tell him what he is doing is wrong and he better get his act together. IF you cant do that and he doesnt respect you as a parent there lies the problem. your not teaching him descipline or you are not fit to be a parent.


That's very difficult to deal with. Stray thoughts:

  1. The teacher trying to get him to express what's going on is important. If he KNOWS what he's doing, then he can understand right and wrong (if you explain what you don't want him to do). Then you can set a series of consequences for bad behavior, and STICK TO THEM.

  2. But remember: he's 5. On the one hand, he isn't an adult and probably isn't going to remember from day to day what consequences mean to him. He's living in the moment. You've got your work cut out for you.

  3. So maybe he IS "too young" to be there. But don't see that as a criticism of your choice to send him. Point is, it sounds like he's engaging in behavior that is typical for energetic boys; sadly, schools are designed to work best with different behavior, and are not designed to work with "boy behavior" but with submissive behavior--and that's just not natural for all children.

Work on #1, but always keep #s 2 and 3 in mind. Good luck.


May I humbly recommend:

Seriously though, I think TShaw's point is the way to go.


Enroll the kid in karate. It'll give him a place to go kick some ass and learn when it is appropriate to do so.


You should put him through a savage "beat down" in the front yard. Get out the hose and make him get wet and sandy while doing flutterkicks in your driveway. That'll teach him! If that fails... Get out the waterboard

But on a serious note.... I don't have any constructive criticism. I don't have kids and you already said you spank him (which would have been my suggestion) so I don't know.

EDIT: is he an only child? If so that could be your problem right there.... Cause only children usually suck


As an aside make sure he's not getting any candy/junk or soda at school, it could be making him hyper


Make that kid go get a switch and have your wife whoop his ass.


I think TShaw's advice is the best. It's difficult for the teacher as you said to really show the kid who's boss considering all the regulations placed on the profession in a public setting. It's difficult to really convey in words to a 5 year old anything, much less the impact he's having on the group as a whole.

It's a rock and a hard place honestly. I think to really get him to understand you have to know the whole story. Maybe the kids in his class ARE a bunch of pansies. Maybe the teacher is too sensitive. Maybe your kid has the makings of a bully. Maybe he IS too smart for his own good, or maybe it's too soon to put him in that kind of setting.

Did he go to any kind of day care/preschool before you enrolled him kindergarten? Maybe the problem isn't your kid but the other kids? Are they excluding him in any of their activities? Does he have a lot of friends in the class? Is his behavior being taken out of context? It'd be difficult to get an accurate portrayal of his behavior from just one person who may have a different perspective or definition of "too rough." Does you kid think that he's being treated unfairly or singled out for no reason? That could be a reason why he'd act out at school and not at any other place.

I think it's likely to be a combination of how your son reacts to this specific environment. There's likely some catalyst within it that makes him behave the way he does, because, according to your post, if it was inherent in your son he'd act out at other times in social settings too.


Agreed, your wifes parenting skills worse then the idiot teacher your kid has. I mean seriously, if someone just told you to man up when you were getting bullied, that would have just fixed the problem right?

Honestly, I'm only 22, I've only had experience with kids really under 2 years old. However I've noticed kids respond to pain, my ex's nephew who was 5 was running around like an idiot while we told him to stop. After he slipped and bashed his fucking skull on the solid floor he came running to me. I just looked at him and said "well what did you expect, I told you not to run." Didn't do it anymore after that.

But meh, I got beat as a kid so I'd have zero problems spanking my kids.


have you tried hitting him?


Tyrant- I was bullied as a child, and no one ever told me to man up. My parents always told me to run to the teacher, which I am sure most of us remember, doesn't solve the problem. If my dad had told me to man up, and then shown me how, it might have helped.

TShaw- Thanks for the honest advice. I usually don't have a problem sticking to the guidelines we set for him, but I am gone a lot for work(military), so that puts most of it on my wife(which I will admit is more than her fair share--you know, the whole even partnership thing).

polo- He never went to preschool on a regular basis, because at the time we couldn't afford it. His sister went to both preschool and had various babysitters over the years, and has never had any issues with school(but then, that could just be the difference between boys and girls). He has also mentioned(after getting in trouble) that his friends were not being nice and making him mad, which then gets him in trouble.

I still think he is being a typical, energetic boy. The behavior the teacher has described so far has not been anything too far out of the norm. the main issue is that he doesn't listen to her, which obviously is a problem.

As for the other kids being pansies: there is one little girl who is supposedly terrified of him because, and this is coming from the teacher, 'he raises his hands like claws, and growls at her while smiling'. Doesn't touch her, doesn't do anything but make animal sounds. Am I being unreasonable?

To be fair, if there were another child terrorizing my kid, I would be there with a quickness to find out what the deal was. But if it was just a kid growling at my daughter, then yes, I would tell her to quit being a pansy.


Serious post:
You have neglected to mention any steps you have taken to put an end to this short of spanking.

Have you tried talking to him?...picking him up from school and first thing talking to the teacher. If hes been bad at school, stern talking to, reduction of privilages. If good ice cream, toy, trip to the playground or praise.

I agree that the teacher has a lot of responsibility but you have to try and help.


Sounds to me like your kid is very smart, and VERY BORED IN SCHOOL. Your kid's in kindergarten, which is a new thing to him, and it's probably boring as hell for the little guy.

Solution = Not a guarantee, but challenge him more academically at home and physically(Tire Him Out).

Don't be too mad at his behavior, he sounds like a smart kid. But for some reason, boredom in school = I want to punch other kids to pass the time.