Boys in School

A few months ago I had a terrifying playground conversation with another mom. We both have boys in kindergarten at the same school, but not in the same class. I’ve heard stories about her son being a little on the rough side.

The mother was perfectly nice and we chatted about boys in kindergarten as the boys played. I mentioned that my son had been going a little nutty at home since kindergarten started. As he says, “It’s hard to be good all day.” So, when he gets home there’s a new level of craziness that I’m not used to. There’s also a lot of discussion about crazy going ons at recess, some of which involve her son.

She mentioned that her son had been unusually aggressive at home, a completely new trait. Then she said the terrifying part, “I asked his teacher about it, if he was aggressive or wild at school and she said ‘no’ and that she couldn’t imagine him being so.”

Here’s the terrifying part, her son is aggressive at school. I’ve heard it from my son and from other parents who have seen it. I’ve seen it. She knows there’s something going on with him, she’s noticed it and asked for help from his teacher. And she’s gotten nothing, nada, bubkis.

The other terrifying part, I couldn’t figure out what to say. I know this is an issue for her son, it’s sort of why I started the conversation about kindergarten boys being wild. But I could not for the life of me figure out how to say, “Yes, the other mothers all discuss that your kid is too rough” in a helpful and non judgmental way. So, I murmured something about how maybe after they really settle in to school it will all  go back to normal. It probably will.

Today was the first day of school after winter break. After a fantastic two weeks with almost no behavior problems, grumpiness, or complaints, I sent a scowling, grumpy little boy in to the school building.

I love his teacher, he loves his teacher. He actually enjoys school. When I pick him up today he’ll be smiling and laughing and eager to tell me everything he did all day. He’ll hug and high five his friends and me.

But, tonight and tomorrow morning, he’ll be grumpy again, he’ll be wild and probably a little aggressive. He’s a smart boy who loves school, and still it makes him crazy. It makes some of his friends even crazier.

Eventually he will settle into school. He’ll worry less about “being good all day” and then his teachers can get a dose of his natural energy and enthusiasm and his behavior at home will improve. Who would have thought that one day I’d be hoping for a kid to misbehave at school!

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