Friday, October 8, 2010

New round of parenting anxiety

The vision in my head as I went to sleep last night:
A small square box.
Scott, the teacher & I trying to make him fit in it.
Tommy trying desperately to fit in it.... but not knowing how.

We are determined to instill in him that inappropriate behavior at school is unacceptable and will result in a consequence at home.
Consequences at home for misdeeds at school are meaningless to him. He does not see the connection. He just thinks we are mad at him.
He is surrounded by poor examples in his class.
He has no ill-intent.... he's just reacting or trying to be funny.

Modified/intensified behavior plan.
Transfer to another school.

If we can train him to behave the way he's supposed to in school... he won't be Tommy anymore.

"God made him just the way he ought to be" is what the ladies at church are always telling me. Do you reckon God is going to take all the phone calls, go to the conferences with the teacher, and get him through elementary school?


  1. Hey there Phoebe!!! Sounds like those 'wits' are at their end dealing with the intersectionality of the situation.

    My inclination (again, please don't substitute this for 'water'--I don't own a kid) would be to (take a deep breath) read your post. There's a lot that you say and from a completely interpretive standpoint (i.e. word choice) I wonder if your goals might be achieved from a gentler approach--with yourself! I know that being 'IN' school (i.e. having to attend tomorrow...and the next day) implies urgency but to 'instill' implies gradual. Instill actually implies 'infusion' and that doesn't imply 'teaching' or 'demonstrating' --actually, instill is a good word for what we hope our unspoken example 'implies' but kids don't necessary get that WHEN--as you said, he is surrounded by POOR examples (his own age). And since I'm in Los Angeles and NOT in your house ('cause I might deserve a slap after I say this) um, but you did say "he has no ill-intent...he's just reacting or trying to be funny" which I'm most certain you are instilling--'cause you're funny!!! Right? C'mon I wrong here?

    Don't be afraid. He's feeding off the anxiety that he WON'T do it right and knowing that punishment awaits, well, it becomes a game of hurt me because you love me. Learn 'him' because you love him and inspire him with the right kind of discipline.

    What were your ideas for a 'modified/intensified' behavior plan? It's interesting I was just trying to remember how I was able to keep my antsy under-stimulated ass seated during some of those early years and I specifically remember being allowed to 'work ahead'. Behaviorally, I know it sounds funny but have you and Scott designated certain times for certain behavior at home and then role played through the disrespectful behavior or is it primarily proceed directly to 'jail'? From what little bit you have shared you have two very bright little guys--the former with a bit more unexpended energy than the later. Both seem very keen on reason and role play and I think that comes from you...possibly double if Scott is ANYTHING like you. I'm guessing your best path to empowering them is with both of those tools as your ally! Big hugs and much support from my safe but oh so opinionated corner of the country!!!

  2. Ooo oo oo...this just, literally. [I love lame book jokes and when my Amazon gets delivered!] So, I probably won't get to reading it for a few weeks but it sounds like a good book: "Mind in the Making: The Seven Essential Life Skills Every Child Needs" by Ellen Galinsky. First on her list: Focus and Self-Control (Daniel son) [Ok, I added the last part...but might be worth the price of admission.] Not to spoil the ending but next is Perspective Taking, Communicating, Making Connections, Critical Thinking, Taking on Challenges, and Self-Directed Engaged Learning. A lot of 'meat' but, again, I don't know if it's all filler.

  3. I may have said this before, because I preach it A LOT...but seriously--HAVE HIM TESTED FOR FOOD ALLERGIES. You'd think you'd know if your child was allergic because surely their heads swell, or they vomit blood, or they stop breathing? WRONG. There's a range of reactions, some of which are internal only and can CAUSE some "overactive" type behaviors. My daughter is 16 and I only just found out she has a list of allergies---that have now caused some auto-immune problems because I/she never knew. Most insurance companies will pay for the testing--don't get the skin tests, get blood work done.

    AND...I really love what CJZ said above---it's a process to teach our kids how to "do life". The more stressed you are about it the more he will feel like a "failure". Yes, we have to teach our kids how to behave, but at the same time, sometimes our kids really are square pegs trying to be forced into round holes. Do you want him to be HIM, or one of "them"??? Kids learn in different ways--schools typically teach in one way only.

    Good luck to you. :D

  4. Thank you, Dana! You are right on with the allergy thing. He was diagnosed w/ egg & peanut allergies at age 4. Completely a behavioral reaction to these things. I'm thinking strongly that we may need to re-test to see if things have changed since then. Thanks for your wise words. And... Run Like a Mother!

  5. Has anyone observed him in class other than the teacher?