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Jennifer
Jennifer, School Psychologist
Category: Parenting
Satisfied Customers: 397
Experience:  Collaborative parent consultation on everything from modifying behavior to child development.
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I have 4 kids ages 14 girl, 8 boy and a set of boy twins 6

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I have 4 kids ages 14 girl, 8 boy and a set of boy twins 6 who just started kindgergarten last September. We have been struggling with our twins getting used to kindergarten and following rules and directions. We have had a hard time with our youngest twin with screaming etc a hitting others when they aren't following the rules. Well to make a long story short he has made a 100% turn around and doing great. My older twin who is normally happy and go with the flow has seemed to regress and now been acting up and seems like he has a lot of anger and unhappiness at school, with such simple things as tag in gym class and when he's tagged out he throws a fit for the rest of the class and not listening to the teacher and also hitting other kids if they don't listen to him. I also have seen him really butting heads with other boys in his class and trying to "please" them by bringing them toys so he can play with them. So needless to say I need some tips or help on what direction to go. My husbands way is extreme and sometimes is verbal or evening a spanking threat and we do take away his games etc. And mine is talking too him but sometimes I feel our boy is not listening or hearing us. Any direction or help would be greatly appreciated. Thank you
Hello and thanks for using Justanswer.com!

First of all, I'd recommend getting in touch with the school counselor and/or school psychologist regarding the kind of support they might be able to offer. There may be a social skills group your son could participate in. The school psych may also want to do a Functional Behavioral Analysis to look at where these misbehaviors are coming from. People (including children) only do behaviors that work for him. The school psych would analyze what usually happens right before and after 1-2 problem behaviors to try to identify what he's getting out of it. Sometimes it's a matter of peer / teacher attention, sometimes it's simply needing a break. There are many possible motives for behavior. The idea is that we want to find an acceptable replacement behavior that meets the same need. This information is often used to guide a behavior plan -- clear guidelines that outline what happens when the positive behaviors are displayed (rewards of some kind) and what happens when he misbehaves. It's well organized and written for the child to understand -- the focus is typically on one specific behavior at a time. Parents often choose to participate in these plans by rewarding good days at home as well. Rewards don't have to be big -- a sticker, pencils, control of the remote for 1 hour, choosing a favorite food for dinner and playing a game with a loved one are just a few examples.

I'd also recommend you check out a book called "Love and Logic: The Early Years." It done a nice job explaining a parenting theory that relies heavily on logical consequences, clear / consistent discipline, and really helps to keep feelings from getting hurt and parents from feeling stressed. The website has a lot of examples of the type of strategies this philosophy utilizes (www.loveandlogic.com).

It's not unusual for kids to go through phases behaviorally. Kindergarten is a huge adjustment for 5 and 6-year olds. The structure and demands are very different from what they're used to and they're asked to absorb everything from daily routines to early academics while tuning out the excitement found in a room full of other children their age. Feel free to contact your child's teacher to request a meeting with him/her and the school counselor / school psych to see if you can work as a team to address these behaviors. I wish you the best of luck!
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