Academically ahead, socially behind??? — The Bump
School-Aged Children

Academically ahead, socially behind???

My 6 year old is in Kinder, and is ahead of many of the kids in his class. He attends a private school and his class doing things my friends 1st and 2nd graders are doing. But he gets bored still. However, the school doesn't do much because they say he is not socially ready to move ahead. He talks in class and doesn't listen well and gets out of his seat often. While I know he's not supposed to do that, I never have behavioral issues with him at home, so I do think it is mostly boredom. He does his work and learns very quickly though.

If I can't get anything more from the school, what else can I do? I can't put him in a different school, we simply can't afford anything that costs more and since he is ahead of public school, that won't work either. So maybe challenge him more at home? And any suggestions on getting him to pay attention and not talk in class? His teacher is sweet and seems to really try but DS can be a bit head strong. His father says he has the same behavioral issues at his house. I don't understand because we have very few problems here, he's quite well behaved, but I did raise him on my own for his first 4 years so he and I work stuff out well. I don't really know how to help him when he is not with me.

I personally want to home school and I plan to with this baby as well,  but his father is 100% against it (although when we were married he was all for it so go figure) I need to figure something out because I don't want him to get fed up with school, he's too smart for that.

Re: Academically ahead, socially behind???

  • It sounds like maybe your son does well when the adult's focus is just on him (ie you and him on your own) but has a harder time focusing when the adult is not fucused right on him (ie classroom setting, possibly his dad's parenting style). While homeschooling would get the focus back on him, your son might miss out on learning the skills of self-management, you know? Maybe you could try practicing with him at home and rewarding him when he succeeds? Like, have a half hour of silent reading time (or whatever seems appropriate) where you are in the other room doing the dishes, maybe even have the TV or radio on, simulating the distractions of a busy classroom. If he completes his task in a reasonable amount of time, he gets a reward! (time with mom?)
  • Personally, if it was me, I would have him evaluated for ADHD (inattentive/impulsive).  The behavior he exihibits in school and his dad's house should be mastered by 6 y/o.  And, the fact that there is a disconnect between his intellectual and behavioral abilities leads me to believe that there is more going on there.  While he may be great at home now, that could change as he gets frustrated by not being able to control his behavior in school and with the addition of a new baby in a few months.  Since his father and teacher see concerning behavior, he meets the criteria for evaluation. 

    We had good luck seeing a child psychologist that specialized in play therapy last year when DS exhibited similar symptoms in school.  She was very helpful at getting to the bottom of things and providing us with tools to help manage at home and in school.

    DS1 age 7, DD age 5 and DS2 born 4/3/12
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  • He does just find with other kids, when the focus is not just on him in karate class he is very disciplined there, my husband and I put him in that class to help his focus but he hasn't had any issue, yet has not improved at school or his father's.

     I have ADHD (and struggle with it in adulthood as well) and I am pretty certain DS has it as well. His father won't work with me and I know that it's very important that everyone is working with the child but I've tried for 4 years to work with his father on parenting and he's just a jerk. so I am now trying to go through the court system to get something handled. Co-parenting counseling, family counseling, something. I've hit nothing with road blocks but we have a court date set for May and hopefully some things can get resolved. I am so worried that frustration is going to put my son behind. He is so smart and capable and so far ahead, there is no reason for him to struggle.It's so hard when his father (who he is with 40% of the time) won't even talk to us at all.

  • When you mentioned that he is not that way at home, that struck a cord.  Please remember that school and home are 2 completely different environments.  At home, the focus is mostly on him and there's not as much structure as a classroom.  In school, there are many other children and influences.  He is also expected to sit still and listen for extended periods of time at school.

    I have a parent right now who doesn't believe myself, my partner teacher, or the child's previous teachers about his behavior in school.  She flat out said "I don't believe it because that's not how he is at home".  

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  • It's not just at home, he isn't that way at karate, and he's done a few classes that he didn't act that way either, but he was learning something new or being challenged, so I am thinking that may be the issue.

     What I find odd is he is not that way at my house but IS at his dads. He is not in his extra classes but IS at school. I don't know what's up and it's so difficult because his father won't speak to me or work with me so I don't know how to even find the issue or help my son. 

  • What kind of custody do you have?  Sounds like you have the majority of physical custody.  You shouldn't need his consent to have him evaluated by a psychologist for ADHD.  You definitely don't need his consent to have him evaluated by the school (although, you would still need to see a doctor for further treatment).  You could even start with your pediatrician, which could help lend some weight to your concerns and get your XH on the same page. 

    The thing about ADHD is that sometimes you can really focus, like when something interests your or your having a good day (I'm sure you know this better than anyone).  But, as his school work progresses and becomes more involved, his issues in school might become more pronounced.

    DS1 age 7, DD age 5 and DS2 born 4/3/12
  • We have joint custody and must make all decisions concerning health, school, etc together. I physically have him 60% of the time.

    I have emailed the school to start things rolling there, he attends a private school that his father pays for so he has to be on board too. But I am working on it, I will be talking to his Dr as well but I cannot make an appointment without telling his father, however his father never comes to the appointments, it's always the wife. I feel so stuck. We have a court date in May, so maybe in court I can do more. I just hate waiting.

     I am really concerned that his father will want to turn to medication. He is a really lazy parent and ADHD children need active support. I am putting together some resources I'd like his father to look at and maybe it will open a discussion and we can work this out (I am not counting on it but I have hope and prayer on my side)

  • Have you talked to the school about giving him more advanced work or pulling him out and putting him in the next grade for certain subjects?  You can also look into some extra outside classes that might keep him challenged while out of school although that is not going to help with the behavior issues at his dads or school.  Have you sat down with his dad and his teachers to make sure everyone is being consistent with him especially in regard to how he is treated when he does something he is not supposed to do?  Consistency is going to go far in this siutation where he has a lot of different authority figures and he knows what he can get away with in regard to at school and with his dad and he knows you won't tolerate that same behavior.
    Jenni Mom to DD#1 - 6-16-06 DD#2 - 3-13-08 
  • imagejlw2505:
    Have you talked to the school about giving him more advanced work or pulling him out and putting him in the next grade for certain subjects?  You can also look into some extra outside classes that might keep him challenged while out of school although that is not going to help with the behavior issues at his dads or school.  Have you sat down with his dad and his teachers to make sure everyone is being consistent with him especially in regard to how he is treated when he does something he is not supposed to do?  Consistency is going to go far in this siutation where he has a lot of different authority figures and he knows what he can get away with in regard to at school and with his dad and he knows you won't tolerate that same behavior.

    If only his father would speak to me.  This has been a major issue. And he is academically ready to be moved ahead but the school does not feel he is socially ready because he is behind in behavior and ability to focus. My husband and I are working on outside classes and things to challenge him more and just hoping that when we go back to court in a couple months, we can resolve some things and get his father to work with us.

  • I am mostly a lurker here, but I had some things to add.

    First you say his is very good in his school work but he can not stay in his seat, listen and so forth.  To me this says he is not ready to move forward into another grade.  Part of kinder is learning this things.   Even my own ADHD/Austism child in a elementary PreK is learning this and getting better at it.   This would still be a problem if he is moved into another class.

    You have went back to martial arts class, he is prob focused more than because its a phyiscal activity, were his body is always doing something.


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