As you may recall, I was having some problems with my son’s school. He’s not being challenged. He’s bored most of the time. As a result, he has begun a set of behaviors that have truly driven his teacher crazy.
I warned her…
Each day he comes home I ask him how his day was; and he tells me it was bad. I went to the first parent teacher conference many weeks ago and she confirmed it. In response, I told her to not hesitate in corresponding with me so that I can understand what is going on and can work with her on stopping the negative behavior.
Well, the flood gates opened! Every day she would send me a post-it note with something he did. Each night at home I would ask him about it. I would talk him through how that was not a good thing…but it never worked.
Each morning before dropping him off, I would remind him to have a good day. That didn’t work either.
Then I thought “perhaps he doesn’t know what I mean when I say a good day” so we operationalized it. A good day is:
- Completing your assignments
- Having good behavior
- Following the rules.
Each morning I would say, have a good day. He would say ok and then I would ask him what he was agreeing to. He would go through his list. That didn’t work either.
When he did really bad things like writing in her books, kicking her, mocking (by repeating everything she said) her for the entire day, fighting with other students, etc…he would have to get a spanking. I simply couldn’t allow that sort of behavior. Most times I would tell him how disappointed I was and would send him away. It had no effect.
No matter what I tried, it wasn’t working and it was becoming a habit. I even threatened that he wouldn’t be able to go see Santa…and that only held for one day.
My cousin thought perhaps he needed to see a child psychologist (She is a psychologist after all), but I knew that wasn’t it because when I did ask him why he did the things he was doing, he would say “because it was funny.” This was simply a matter of a child acting out because he felt he could. I had to take the fun away…but how considering I am not there with him in school. So I thought, if I can make the time at home not fun, then perhaps he would think about the consequences and that would stop him…but the consequences had to be things that really really mattered!
So the two things my child thrives on are:
- Social interaction (he’s very outgoing and social); and
I got tough. First thing I did was to take away all his social engagements/opportunities. After school he would come home, do his homework, put on his pjs and spend the rest of his time in his room. He could come down for dinner and then go right to bed. I tore up all the holiday trip permission slips. I took away the Christmas bazaar vouchers; everything the school was offering in prep for the holiday…he could no longer attend. I sent a note to the school and let them know that he was not allowed to participate until his behavior got better.
Then I called his coach and took him out of gymnastics. No more gymnastics until you can manage your behavior better is what I told him. He listened as I called the gym and let them know he will no longer be attending. Then I turned to the sitter and instructed her to stop taking him.
I didn’t discuss it with him. I didn’t warn him. I didn’t try to negotiate with him. I just did it. It was hard…but I did it.
Guess what? He finished his last week of school with good behavior EVERY day.
Like magic…it all melted away.
But in the back of my mind, I know he is going to be a tough teen!