Playground Problems

Today’s problem comes from Sarah from The Puffin Diaries, if you have any helpful suggestions please comment below……

CYMERA_20140305_152029My son, who is nine, is having problems in the school playground. He doesn’t like going to school at all, and often refuses to go. However, the school have been really supportive and implemented lots of strategies that help him through his day in the classroom. It seems that outside of the structure of the classroom he finds it very hard to deal with any level of confrontation, or what he perceives as confrontation. He gets himself into fights with other children, often lashing out and using aggressive language. He then finds it difficult to listen to those in authority and will be rude to those who are trying to help him.

He also struggles to see any incident as it realistically occurred and is convinced that everyone is against him.

The school have, for his own safety and to lessen the possibility of major fallout, taken the decision to keep him in at playtimes. My son really hates this as he sees it as a constant punishment for his behaviour, and in a day that is often very hard for him, playtime for him is the best bit. I’m really drawn because he has had better days when he doesn’t go out but he is very sad about not being allowed out with his friends. 

Has anyone had similar problems in school and have the school managed to implement any strategies that work?

4 thoughts on “Playground Problems

  1. Pickle's Mummy

    Obviously we’re not at school age yet but thought I’d try and help. This situation sounds really hard and it sounds like something needs to be sorted other than keeping him in. Two questions:
    Does he get angry immediately on going out?
    Does he have some really good friends?

    If he doesn’t get angry immediately I’m wondering whether the teacher/TA who stays in with him could possibly go out with him and just keep an eye on him without it being obvious. Then he/she can intervention as soon as anything starts to happen. In that way it won’t escalate and he may get that chance to calm down and carry on. Hard work for them maybe but if they’re staying in with him anyway what’s the difference In being outside and observing.
    I was also wondering if he’s got some good, close friends whether they’d be willing to stay in with him so it doesn’t feel so much like a punishment? Probably not ideal but just an idea.
    You and the teachers have probably already tried talking to him and explaining things so I’m wondering whether teaching him another tact might work. I don’t know your boy and this might be way out but I was thinking something like child yoga/meditation that he could use in the playground to step back from any situation and be able to take those deep breaths for example. You could even say to him that he was learning these skills to become the bigger person and not fight which might empower him in a different way.

    All that is off the top of my head so apologies if it doesn’t help. You’re In a tough situation and so is your boy. I hope you manage to find an answer and a good solution to it.

    Sending love xx

  2. Fiona Smith

    My daughter was very much the same but at an earlier age and for her it was because of the lack of structure and bouderies. For her keeping her in would have only fuelled the situation confirming to her she was as bad as she thought she was. A stratergies that worked well for my daughter was placing her with a buddy a child a lot older than her just on a friendship basis not as a role model as once again this would have given her the message that she wasn’t as good as others. When she was a little older she then went on the infants play ground to play with the little children giving her a sense of positive responsibility.
    Hope this helps

  3. Sezz

    I can understand why he hates being kept in. It’s highlighting his behaviour and alienates him from his friend. However, if this is what the teachers feel is best, could he be given a job to do so that he feels valued? Does your school have Playground Buddies, usually year 5/6, to help initiate play with other kids who haven’t got anyone to play with – if so, could your son be buddied with one of them for a while so he knows who he’s going to play with outside and also what he is going to play?

    Pickles Mummy’s idea of child yoga/meditation is also good – is there a TA who could help here, perhaps using the Ladybird Relaxtion book, and do the relaxation just before playtime with your son and indeed any other child who wants to do it?


  4. Robyn C

    I’m going to offer something drastic: Can he change schools? As a child, I went to a small private school, where I just didn’t fit in. I begged to go to public school, but my parents wouldn’t hear of it. Because all of the kids knew each other, and had since 1st grade, I was miserable for 8 years. I am firmly convinced that, if I changed schools, I would have been more able to find people like me, and change my image, which, in turn, would have changed my behavior, as I wouldn’t have had to be the same person everyone at the old school expected me to be.

    Maybe your son needs a change of scene.


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