Do you discipline him when he behaves this way? It sounds like discipline is in order.
Yes I take away his privileges and I make him either write a sentence stating what he did wrong and that he will not do it again, or I make him work on extra Math homework sheets for an hour. He has lived with me most of his life but this year he is staying with his Dad due to a change in my schedule at work. This was not an easy transition for him and I know that he is missing me a lot during the week. (I have him every weekend). I don't know what if any discipline his dad is giving him during the week.
Hi there. Oh, I'm so sorry to hear your little guy is going through this. I know it is easy to just be mad at him and want to discipline him for this and yes, I do believe in setting firm boundaries but I think your son and you would be better served to look at the big picture. To me, he exhibits behavior that indicates he has low self esteem. For whatever reason, mixing with his peers does not come naturally with him.
Here is my suggestion, to help him with his friendships. Rather than focusing on punishing him for the behavior---- help him learn new behavior by practicing with him. Thing of someone that you can invite over. Plan a play date and hang out close by to see how your son handles it. Then 'teach' him how to interact with peers. This may sound odd to do but some kids do need this extra help. My own son did. We role played and it really helped him get a better feel of proper dialogue between friends.
Oh, and I just read your second post that you are no longer living with him. Of course, that is VERY upsetting to a child and his 'stable' life is not feeling stable anymore. Please understand that this indeed would contribute to acting out. And perhaps the negative attention at school is his way of protesting this change to his life.
I would change the situation back to his being with you even if it costs you something in terms of job and school. He's at a vulnerable age and I would certainly think my son at 8 would be devastated to have a major living arrangement change happen.
I do think you can help him via playdates in which you intervene if things aren't going well and switch directions for him by getting them involved with something else and then after the play date having a recap of what went well and what didn't. Spoon feed skills he needs to have with others such as waiting his turn to talk (yes, we role played this), using the right voice volume, etc.
As he does this with one child a few times, then look for another child to have over. This interaction helps build his confidence and gives him peer practice that it sounds like he needs. Busy or not, make time for this kind of thing.
Having a friend outside of school will help him be better AT school with peers. And as his social skills improve, kids at school will respond better to him. Is this a new school too since he is with his dad now? ugh, that's really hard.
I wish you and your son the best of luck.
I second specialmom's suggestion that you should re-arrange your work so you do not have to be away from him all week. It sounds like it is wrecking things for him emotionally, and frankly as the mom of a nearly-7-year-old I could see that would happen. I can't imagine how he would take it if I were gone five days a week from his life. Money isn't everything, can you not do something to change this situation at work?
I agree that he needs more mom, and more social time with small groups of kids.
I see you have him involved in piano and singing - do either of these activities involve other children? If so, that's great. If they're solitary activities, I think it's good to do things he excels in but he still needs lots of practice being around other kids.
Have you sought out a children's theater group in your area? In my experience, children's drama and theater groups will have many kids who might be good friends for your son.
Good thoughts from the above posters.
A real important question. Was he having this trouble last year? If he was, then the recent change in where he is living may not be the major problem - although I am sure it is a strong concern. If he was not having these problems at school, then it is very possible that the recent change in where he lives does have something to do with what is going on. And actually that might be an easier fix then if he has been having these problems for more than several months (something like ADHD for example).
A suggestion I do have is to stop disciplining when you are only seeing him on the weekends. Discipline (well, really trying to change his behavior) has to be immediate and constant to be effective. The school is the place where this should be happening. Now his father should be involved in practicing with him at home about allowing not interruptions, etc. And, of course, you could also do this on the weekends with him. But, I would really work on spending quality time with him. If he is interruptive or disrespectful then definitely deal with that when it happens. By the way, how do you even find out he has been bad at school?
Its kind of pricey, but you might want to check out "Don't Feed the Monster on Tuesdays!: The Children's Self-Esteem Book" ($18 on Amazon), It might be helpful.
Hope some of this helps. Now if he has been doing similar things last year then we definitely should have another conversation. How are his grades doing - especially in math?
Leaving aside his behavioral problems, I note that he has many of the talents and personality traits of a performer. Have you considered professional acting, singing, and dancing lessons for him? If he finds satisfaction in the performing arts, he may develop more sociable behavior, as well as find his path.