The Parenting Thread

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The Parenting Thread

Postby lisapants » Mon 10 Jun, 2013 03:54 pm

I wanted to add to the title of the thread "aka, what is wrong with me and/or my children! HELP ME!!" but apparently that is too long of a title.

I read in a different thread that Lady C suggested a parenting thread. I think it's a great idea and went ahead and started one!

My specific problem right now is that my kids never listen to anything I say. When I have mentioned this on Facebook before, I gather from the comments that this is a pretty universal problem. I still wonder, though, if other kids are at the same degree of Not Listening that my kids are at. Especially my oldest, Josh.

Josh just turned 6, and probably has ADHD. As you might recall, we unexpectedly started homeschooling him this year because he couldn't cut it in a kindergarten class with 33 other kids. He has major troubles focusing and paying attention to anything. There are a couple of things I have been asking him to do/not do everyday for at least 2 years now. Um, is this normal?

Example: Josh is CONTINUALLY putting things in his mouth. Toys, pencils, string, dryer sheets, whatever he can find lying around. I find myself telling him all day long to take whatever is in his mouth OUT of his mouth. This has been going on for at least 2 years. He knows he's not supposed to do it. When I catch him with something in his mouth and I ask him if he is supposed to have toys in his mouth, he always answers, "No." Sometimes I'll glance over at him and he sees me looking at him and he guiltily takes whatever is in his mouth out of his mouth before I can get mad at him about it. He knows he's not supposed to do it, I tell him all day long not to do it, and yet he still does it ALL THE TIME.

Another example: When Josh is playing with his toys, he makes all kids of sound effects, including a spitting sound that drives me nuts. It's not really spitting, like spitting out a watermelon seed, but more of a blowing raspberries kind of spitting. It's an annoying sound, and sometimes he sprays spit, too, depending on how rambunctious he is feeling. Just like before, this is something he knows he's not supposed to do, that I tell him all day long to stop spitting, and yet he still does it ALL DAY LONG.

This might be something you would say, "Well, maybe you're just going to have to get used to the idea that this is just something he does and don't get so worked up about it." That might be well and good, until the Primary president brings him to me before third hour of church because he has been spitting all over the kids in his class and they don't know what to do with him anymore.

I really need him to understand that this behavior is not OK, but it's not getting through somehow.

Is this normal? Has it taken your kids 2+ years to learn behavior that they are or aren't supposed to be doing? Am I ever going to get my sanity back?!
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Re: The Parenting Thread

Postby Momma Snider » Mon 10 Jun, 2013 04:35 pm

I think this is a great thread, but at the moment I don't have any actual answers. I'll think about it, though.

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Re: The Parenting Thread

Postby KMD » Tue 11 Jun, 2013 10:30 am

I'm glad you started this thread, because if you hadn't, I was planning to!

I have been having the exact same issue with my 6yo! He just did not listen to a thing I say, and he is constantly putting non-food things in his mouth! Replace spitting with constantly putting his hand down his pants, and you have my kid. And he's ADHD too, with just a dash of separation anxiety, to keep it interesting and clingy.

We've been going to a therapist now for over a year, and he's taught us something that works. I personally am struggling with it, but it does work. So, if you're at the end of your rope like I am/was, you can give this a try.

Giving my kid "time-outs" was a joke, they did nothing to correct his behavior, just maybe help him calm down by being isolated, but he never learned a lesson from them. Rewarding good behavior only works so well, and doesn't do much to stop bad behavior. So, what we've been working on is "first time obedience". How it works is, we pick one behavior that is really in need of correcting, like one week for us it was staying in the bathroom while we brush teeth. I tell him one time, no, we stay in the bathroom while we brush teeth, and if he wanders out, he gets a quick spank on the tush. The spanking has to be delivered in a calm manor, the therapist even gave us a phamplet on the correct way to spank a child. He suggests using a tool to deliver the spank (belt, wooden spoon, paint stirrer from Lowes) to have separation from the spank and the parent, but I'm always worried then it will be too hard, so I just can't. For me it's open palm, on a bare tush if possible. After the spank you make the child tell you what they did wrong and say they are sorry, give them a hug, and then move on. Go back to the toothbrushing or whatever. If he disobeys again, you spank again. Once he's figured that out, and is almost always responding to it first time, then you move on to another behavior to correct. He's at the point now I usually don't even have to spank, if I see him starting to go astray, I just have to say "First time..." and he straightens right up! It's like a stinkin' miracle!

Couple caveats though. First of all, you can't be in one room, him in the other and you half-heartedly shout "pick up your toys!" and then when he doesn't do it, come in and spank him. You gotta give him a fair chance. Be near him, make eye contact as you say it, at least here at the beginning. And the other caveat is, consistency. You can't spank him a day or two for not responding first time, and then a week later give him 2 or 3 chances before you spank him. He'll just learn you don't mean what you say. And one warning, at the very beginning, you will feel like you are spanking him A LOT. Just know that eventually he will figure it out, and start listening to you, and the spankings will get less and less. Right now we're down to probably one every 2 weeks. Overall my kid's behavior has improved dramatically. When we started doing this, the therapist asked for a percentage of how often he was responding the first time, and our answer was 15%. This week he asked the same question, and we're at 80%. Second time obedience is 100%. I never have to ask him to do something more than twice now. Kids need boundaries and limits to feel safe, they crave them. He actually will get more affectionate towards you, which just blew my mind. Before I wasn't really punishing him, just shouting at him, or putting him in time-out, he just felt like he had full reign over his life, at home, at school, and there were no boundaries and no rules, which at 6yo is kind of scary. So, as the therapist says, I have to be "the wall". The boundary he cannot cross. And as his behavior improves, I have to keep moving those fences in, more and more, and he will learn to obey me, and all people in authority around him. So far it's working great, even if he does still frustrate me from time to time. His behavior at school got much better those last 6 weeks. His deportment grade literally went from a 7 (out of 100) to a 74. The daycare told me the other day they never have problems with him, he's one of the good kids. The last daycare he was at, they were about ready to eject us, because he was hitting and biting other kids, and throwing tantrums. He hardly ever throws tantrums anymore! And now if he does, no one gets hit or bit, which is the really important part. He is just so much more in control of himself, because I am more in control of him.

So, overall, I feel like a total jerk for spanking my kid on a regular basis. Only bad parents spank their kids, right? But by george, if done correctly, it really works! And nothing else did.
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Re: The Parenting Thread

Postby Momma Snider » Tue 11 Jun, 2013 11:27 am

Good parents do whatever it takes to teach their kids to behave. So I'm 100% behind you, KMD. I know these days it feels weird to be spanking, but if done properly, as you explained, it's effective. I see parents all the time whose kids just run wild, don't listen to a word they say, and the parents don't know what to do about it besides either ignore it or yell. The child needs to know the limits.

You should NEVER spank a child because you're angry. That's where the confusion can come in where the child thinks we hit when we're mad. I had never thought of the "tool" separating the parent from the spanking. My dad used to make us find our own paddle, but he always said how many swats and why, and I remember those (few) times actually thinking about what I'd done. My mom used to spank when she was frustrated or mad, and I don't remember anything specific that I learned. In later years my dad took to smacking because he was mad, too, but that was because we were too big to spank.

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Re: The Parenting Thread

Postby KMD » Tue 11 Jun, 2013 01:41 pm

Now in hindsight, I think that whole "go find your own switch and bring it to me" thing was more about giving the parents time to cool down, so then when it is time to deliver the spanking, you're not angry anymore. That, and forcing the kids to follow your direction and do what you say, even when it's something the REALLY don't want to do.

But I just can't bring myself to use a tool to spank with for fear of spanking too hard. I told the therapist this, and he suggested spanking my own leg, or even spanking Jeff once Ben was in bed, to find out how much is too much. And thinking of taking a wooden spoon and spanking my husband with it just gave it a "50 Shades" kind of connotation, and I just couldn't bring myself to try it in any fashion. :oops:
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Re: The Parenting Thread

Postby Momma Snider » Tue 11 Jun, 2013 02:39 pm

I had never thought of it, but I'll bet you're right about my dad taking time to cool down while we found the paddle. I don't think I could spank with a wooden spoon or whatever, either, although Jeff is fond of telling about when I hit him with a hairbrush. That was when I WAS angry, though, so I was in the wrong all the way around.

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Re: The Parenting Thread

Postby lisapants » Wed 12 Jun, 2013 12:25 am

Thank you so much, KMD! I had a feeling our boys are similar and I was hoping you might have some insight. I think at this point I am willing to try just about anything, and the method you described sounds interesting. And if I can get results like yours, then HOORAY! I have a couple questions, but right now it's late and I'm too tired to formulate them articulately, so I'll try to ask you tomorrow.
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Re: The Parenting Thread

Postby KMD » Wed 12 Jun, 2013 07:50 am

I'll answer anything I can! Also, I think one of the reasons it has helped so much is, he knew it was coming. I mean, he was in the therapist's office when he outlined the plan. We discussed openly, "OK, this week we're going to focus on xxx behavior, and if you do it, you will get a spanking." So, he knew what to expect. I think that makes the difference between him being surprised or shocked when he gets a spanking, and him knowing that was corrective action and the consequence of his actions.

One of the big behaviors we've had to deal with lately has been acting like a baby with me to get attention. He used to do it a lot, just shout at me "Milk?" in a baby voice, instead of asking "Can I have a glass of milk please?" Or if I'm talking to someone else, he'd crawl up in my lap, cuddle up to me, saying "I wuv you!" and snuggle in a way that I couldn't see the other person I was talking to over his head. The therapist had to actually tell me straight-up, "this is a manipulation technique, not love. And you have to stop it." So, for about two weeks every time he did something like that, I had to remind him to act like a big kid, and if he didn't, there was a spanking. I hated giving those, but they had to happen. And now he's a big kid all the time.
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Re: The Parenting Thread

Postby Lady Celtic » Wed 12 Jun, 2013 01:25 pm

I spank.

Not all the time, not in anger, and I warn them first that if they repeat the offending behavior it will happen. My kids are fairly well-behaved, thankfully, so I don't have to do it often. And I've found that being consistent and getting up off the couch to check on whatever I've assigned them to do is more effective than yelling at them later. I'm actually making a concerted effort NOT to yell, thanks to MommaS's example.

The Hub is a counselor, and even though he does vocational rehab, people at church ask him all the time for parenting ideas. (He's a very good parent--I just follow his example!) He always recommends a book, Manipulating Parents by Paul W. Robinson (one of his BYU profs), so that people can get a good grounding in basic parenting theory. Then he'll help with specific issues if it's needed.
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Re: The Parenting Thread

Postby lisapants » Thu 13 Jun, 2013 12:31 am

OK, so I let him know we're working on a certain behavior, and that he will get a warning, then a spanking if he does this behavior. When he does it, I tell him no, then the next time he does it, he gets a spanking. (You mentioned bare tush if possible. Do you just pull down the back of his pants quickly, give a spank, then pull them back up and go on your way?) After spanking, he says what he did wrong, we hug, and continue what we were doing.

I am ashamed to admit that I have spanked in anger before, and that I yell way more than I would like to. I REALLY don't like to be that way, and I'm working to change and keep in control and not yell nearly so much.
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Re: The Parenting Thread

Postby KMD » Thu 13 Jun, 2013 07:28 am

I know I've made the spanking sound like a very calm event, but yeah, not in reality. My kid totally loses it when he knows he's getting a spanking, screams, falls on the floor, rolls around, crying and begging me not to do it. So, unfortunately it kind of de-evolves into a wrestling match, with me trying to pin him, get his pants down, give him a spank, and then pull them back up. At the best of times he's still standing, and just trying to cover his tush with his hands, and I'm trying to hold those in one of my hands, while the other delivers the spanking. So yeah, it's not ideal. But I've found if I try to do it clothed, it doesn't have that "sting", and he has actually laughed in my face after a spanking like that. But only once, because when he laughed Daddy lost it, and gave him a serious spanking, and that one hurt. Now, if we're in a store, or in the car in a parking lot, and he needs a spanking, he still gets one, but I don't bare his tush for all the world (pervs) to see. But just the embarrassment of having that done to him in public usually delivers the sting for me.

I am pretty good about not spanking in anger, it takes quite a lot to get me actually angry, and when I am, I just want to get away from all humans, and I tag-team with the hubby, and he deals with the boy while I go take a breather and calm down myself. But the hubby is bad to spank in anger. Frankly, I don't wonder where my son's anger management issues come from, they're heriditary from Daddy. And I think that's where a lot of our parenting stress has come from in the last 6 years. We are opposites in parenting. He's very strict and no-nonsense, and I am very lovely-dovey huggy "Come tell Mommy all about it! Use your words!" and the kid has been getting mixed messages. So, I've had to become more strict, and I'm trying to do more of the disciplining instead of hubby, for consistency's sake.
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Re: The Parenting Thread

Postby Momma Snider » Fri 14 Jun, 2013 07:37 pm

I don't know how I feel about the bare tush spanking Maybe I've just listened to too many over-zealous child protective service workers. But I can see that a swat over jeans with pockets might not have any effect. That would be where the wooden spoon could come in, if you didn't want to pull the pants down. A wooden spoon does make a very satisfactory sound, which is part of the effect.

I'm sure the whole thing depends on consistency. That's hard. I remember so many times that I just wouldn't bother telling my kids to quit doing something, because I was too tired to get up and make sure they did it.

I might have told this story before, but here it is again. We had a boy a couple of years ago at school who was just a brat, defiant to the teacher and disrespectful and disobedient. After his grandma had received several calls about it, she came down to the school, took him into the office restroom, and spanked him. He screamed like he was being murdered. And when they came out, the principal and the health clerk called Child Protective Services. They came out and basically told everyone that a parent is allowed to spank a child, but the grandma was so humiliated that she never came again, and the kid learned that he could do whatever he wanted and no one could really do anything about it.

So I'm really glad that the therapist came up with this solution. It wouldn't work for everyone, but I'm glad it's working for KMD's son, and hope it works on Ondipants.

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Re: The Parenting Thread

Postby KMD » Mon 17 Jun, 2013 07:40 am

The therapist actually suggested I do the exact same thing the next time Ben acts up at school. Go up there, take him into an unused room, give him a spanking, and then make him go back to class! But I just couldn't do that, for the same reason. Well, also, if my kid has been so bad at school that they call me, and I have to leave work to deal with him, they want me to take him home. And yeah, I'm worried they're going to call CPS on me for abuse. Which is ridiculous, but the way my kid screams and hollers, you would think I was beating him within an inch of his life. But, he also screams and hollers like I'm killing him when I cut his toenails too.

This weekend we started on another behavior, one near and dear to lisapants heart, I am sure. I caught my son putting a bath toy in his mouth, and let him know the next time I saw him put something in his mouth that isn't food, he was getting a spanking. So far I've only had to deliver one spanking (for a Pokemon DS stylus), but this is a habit he's had for a very long time, so I'm sure it's going to take a while to correct this. He also got a couple other spankings this weekend for not following directions, but he handled them better than usual, stood up for them, the pants stayed up, and he seemed to understand why he got them. So, progress!

Well, a little progress. He got a phone call last night from a girl friend from school that we've been trying to arrange a playdate with. Halfway through the call, he started having trouble hearing her on the phone. She tells him to hang up and call him back on another phone. I tell him to hand me the phone, so I can talk to her mom and arrange the playdate. He totally obeyed her instead of me! I was incredibly tweaked at that! And told him so, and that, if there was one person who could keep his playdate from happening, it was me, so he needs to listen to me next time, or it is over. He was kind of shocked that I would threaten to take away his precious playdate. So it just was a reminder to me, I have not shown authority with him in the past, and I've got to keep being strong with him to get him to listen to me now and in the future.
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Re: The Parenting Thread

Postby lisapants » Wed 19 Jun, 2013 04:54 pm

So we started the spanking thing after church on Sunday. We explained to him what we were going to start doing, and we focused on toys in the mouth first. I don't know if the threat of getting spanked is enough for him or what, but I have only had to spank him two or three times this week. He doesn't scream or fight it when I spank him, but it's still a bit awkward trying to get his pants down, so I might not try that anymore. Although, it might be the embarrassment of having his pants down that motivates him, because the spanks aren't very hard.

So we've worked on not putting toys in the mouth and not making spitting noises. He has pretty much stopped with the spitting noises when he plays, but he makes all sorts of other annoying noises, too. Lots of flying and whoooooshing sounds. I don't want to curb his creativity when he plays, but man his noises drive me crazy. I think we'll start working on following directions the first time, and maybe not putting his fingers in his nose.
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Re: The Parenting Thread

Postby KMD » Thu 20 Jun, 2013 07:23 am

Good luck lisapants! I hope it helps! My kid hasnt put anything non-food in his mouth since that last spanking, so that is improvement!

We started swim lessons this week. His first class, he refused to get in the water with the other kids, because the water was "too cold". He threw a fit, tried to leave, I mean, it was full-on ADHD in action. So we sat on the bench and watched the other kids, and I cheered them on. And after 30 minutes he crawled out of my lap, said "I'm not going to the door Mommy. I'm not!" and he went to the ladder instead. And eased himself in to the water. So, by the end of the class, he was in water up to his neck, but not really "with" the class, and not doing what they were doing, but at least he worked himself up to getting in at all. He got 15 minutes in the pool, then class was over and we had to go. This was a Giant leap forward for him, so I am completely thrilled. He's got class again tonight, and he's all excited. Let's hope he gets in the pool a little earlier, and actually participates!
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Re: The Parenting Thread

Postby Lady Celtic » Thu 20 Jun, 2013 02:11 pm

I love hearing about the successes you're having, KMD and Lisa! Keep up the good work!
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Re: The Parenting Thread

Postby KMD » Mon 24 Jun, 2013 09:48 am

Second swim class went exactly as the first. He spent the first 30 minutes on the bench with me, saying how he hated it, begging to leave, etc. Then he got in the water, played around, had fun, but did not participate in class. This time though, I let him stay in for another half hour after class, and then Sunday we went to the pool together, and played, and did some of the things they do in swim class, for an hour and a half. At the end, we did have a little slip, where his whole face went under water, and he panicked, and came back up asking "Am I still alive? Did I die?" So, he was stressed, and I'm a little worried that it's going to put a bad cloud over tonight's class.
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Re: The Parenting Thread

Postby KMD » Tue 09 Jul, 2013 01:15 pm

lisapants, how is little Ondi doing? How's the spanking working out for you?

We've been doing pretty well here, overall. With all the health issues with my husband, we had to cancel a therapy session (we were in the ER when we were supposed to be in his office.) and we've been slow to make another appointment, just been too much going on, and I've been trying to reduce hubby's stress. But, we've got one for this week, and boy, we are going to need it.

When I picked my son up at daycare yesterday, as soon as I saw his face, I knew he was in trouble. The daycare worker took me out on the porch to tell me the story, so we weren't in front of the other parents. She told me Ben hit another kid that morning, so they took his DS away. And then this afternoon the kid was saying something he thought was funny, but Ben didn't, so Ben bit him. They've never seen this kind of behavior from him before, so they were going easy on him. But if he does it again, he loses all his "fun trips" for the rest of the summer. On Wednesdays they go to the movies, or bowling, or Chuck E Cheese, and he would have to miss out on those. By now, my kid is wailing, crying so hard. I get him in the car, and try to get more details of what happened out of him. And it turns out the hitting and biting were done to the same kid. And then I found out why he bit the kid. This other kid was singing a rhyme, right in my kid's face, and it was... racially insensitive. Very anti-Chinese sentiment. And my kid has been brought up that people all over the world are the same, all colors, all races. And, well, let's just say that's not a very popular attitude here in Backwoods, WV. So, Ben said he knew that rhyme would hurt a "China person's" feelings, and he didn't like that, it's not nice, so he bit the kid. So, on one hand, I'm actually kind of proud of my kid for standing up for racial injustice. But, on the other hand, I've got to be the Mom, and tell him it's never OK to bite. He calmed down in the car, but when we got home, he started to wail again. Because he didn't want to tell Daddy, because he remembers Daddy said the next time he bit someone, he would take away the DS forever! More wailing. So, I got Daddy to downgrade "forever" to "until we leave on vacation, then you can have it back" and Ben seems chastised, but not devastated, and that's a Win in my book.

On the swim classes. My ADHD, slow-to-transition kid did not do so well with them. He did get to the point where he would get in the water sooner, but not with the class, and not doing what the class was doing. He basically would just stay in the shallow end and bounce around and make up his own games. I brought Daddy with me one day to watch class (first day he was feeling up to it), and Daddy kind of snapped, and began telling Ben we spent good money on this class, and if he didn't do what the teacher told him to do, he would take all his Skylanders away. All this did was make Ben cry. Then the teacher tried to pick Ben up and gently carry him through the water across the pool (like I have done with him 20+ times), and Ben screamed and cried and clutched to her, like she was killing him. We went ahead and signed him up for the same class again, but made a real effort to go with him to the pool several times, just the three of us, and practice similar skills to what the teacher taught, and just play around and get him more comfortable in the water. And we put extra emphasis on how the teacher is very nice, and very good at swimming, and she will help him, and not make him do anything he doesn't want to do, if only he would talk to her, and tell her how he feels. Yesterday was the first day of the new class. Same teacher. She was so pleased to see him come back, she was worried he hates her now. He got in the water before anyone else in the class, and he stayed with the class, against the wall. And he did a lot of the activities she asked him to! She said it was a huge improvement, and the most relaxed he's ever been with her! Basically, once he found out all the other kids in the class were new, and he had already done this stuff before, he wanted to show everyone how it was done, and she would let him, and he just took off and blossomed, right before our eyes! It took us a good month to get here, but hey, PROGRESS! Mommy is so proud!
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Re: The Parenting Thread

Postby Momma Snider » Tue 09 Jul, 2013 04:04 pm

I'm glad that's working! I was going to ask why swimming lessons are so important, if he hates them, but it sounds like you've found the solution. It also sounds like Daddy needs to be careful with his threats. One major element of good parenting is not to threaten something if you're not going to follow through, or even if you'll be sorry if you did follow through. I cringe when I hear parents of second graders threaten restriction for a month or whatever, or even threatening to throw away all toys if they're not picked up. Or putting a toddler in his room for two hours. Punishment has to fit the age of the child, and not contribute to the insanity of the parents.

Sounds like Ben has to be persuaded to "tell" on the boy who's singing inappropriate songs instead of biting him. It seems like some schools, and some parents, too, focus so much on "don't tattle" that they don't listen to what's being reported, and that makes me mad sometimes. He needs to feel that he's supported in his principles by his teachers as well as his parents.

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Re: The Parenting Thread

Postby KMD » Wed 10 Jul, 2013 09:26 am

I think the issue is, he's told on kids in the past, and the teachers don't actually DO anything about it. It's amazing to me how little power teachers have in the school to punish, and if they didn't see it happen, they can't do anything about it. My nephew had a time at his school when he was getting hit/picked on by a very smart bully, who made sure there were no witnesses when he did it, and was a complete angel the rest of the time to the teacher's faces. Shoot, half the time Matthew got in trouble, even though the other kid was at fault! The principal pulled my sister into her office, and basically said they can't do anything to the kid unless they see it happen. And then said "Don't worry, one day Matthew will have had enough, and he'll snap and beat the bully up, and then we'll have to suspend Matthew from school, but the bully will leave him alone from then on." I mean, that's the advice from the principal! Come on! (Never happened, BTW. Matthew kept his cool, and my sister eventually moved him to a different school. For other reasons, but still.)

Even with this case with Ben, the daycare worker thought it was just a "funny rhyme" and didn't find it offensive, if she even bothered to listen to it. So, even if he had told, the other kid wouldn't have gotten in trouble. And, that would just have frustrated Ben more. He does not like to see injustice, so, he just takes things into his own hands. That's not a good thing, although, it kind of will be when he's an adult. I mean, I wish I could just fast-forward him through being a kid sometimes, because he's got a lot of traits that you really want in an adult, and I'm afraid we're going to "train" them right out of him, trying to get him to "learn to mind" now as a kid. He's definitely observant, thoughtful, independent, looks at things differently than others ("out of the box" thinking is what we call that in the corporate world), he's got a lot of fantastic leadership qualities. He just doesn't have the experience and knowledge yet to be an actual leader! It's just, here in elementary school, they don't want leaders, they need little sheep, to follow each other in a straight line, and bleat out the same answers as everyone else. And I do worry that in forcing him to be a sheep, we're going to lose his little lion-ness.

And he needs swim classes because I cannot swim, at all, I have a genuine fear of water on my face. And Daddy is not much of a swimmer. I fear for him near the water. And, I don't just say that as some meaningless phrase, I mean I literally have nightmares about him drowning, and I can't save him, or I drown trying to save him, leaving Jeff bereft without either of us. So yeah, that kid needs to learn to swim, by some competent teacher, so I can get some sleep!
Living with a cat is like living with a small, very crazy fat man.


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