Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Calling for Parent's Input

Okay....I knew it had to happen! My perfect little child, who has been a dream for 4.5 years, is now having disciplinary issues at school. The problem is that he's a little smarter than most kids his age, and although he's not excluded from them in any way, it's harder to communicate when you know how to count to 2,000 and all the others are learning to count to 10. There tends to be a gap.

This one child, in his class, who is as smart is obviously going to be an interest to my son. My son feels a bond with him, because they can talk on the same level, which I originally was happy about. Except for the fact that this child is not one that makes good choices for himself, and is leading my son down the path to destruction. He and my son are to aggressive with other kids on the playground, and they aren't listening to instruction.

His teacher actually called me at home last month. I was shocked that in PRE-K I got a call from his teacher about this kind of issue. He's always been such a giving and loving child. So I thanked her and devised a plan. Talking with him...right? Well not so much....it didn't work. He'd tell me what I wanted to hear, "yes mom...I'll make the right choices and not follow Devon in wrong choices." And then he'd come home with a note from the teacher telling me otherwise.

I soon found that talking with him probably felt like talking at him. It hadn't produced any results. So I took a break from it and took another route.

We've always had a chart on our refridge to put smileys or stars on, which rewards him for good behavior. And, just recently we've been able to put smileys on the 'sleeping through the night' category for 3 months straight! He's sleeping for the first time in his life...every night. WooHoo! I told him he couldn't get a drum set for Christmas if he didn't start sleeping, and man that was incentive enough. Once he set his sights on the drum set, he knew he had to sleep every night until Christmas. Well now his body is trained to sleep all night, and it's a habit for him....just as not sleeping through the night used to be his habit.

Although I never set out to be a parent that bribes, this worked this one time. So I thought I'd use that same drum set for incentive with his behavior. I told him it broke my heart when he made some of the choices he had at school. I went on to explain how disappointed I was to learn how he was talking to other kids in his class, and I how I didn't ever want to feel that kind of hurt in my heart again. His little eyes got sad.

Then I walked him in the kitchen to his chart. I put 5 lines on it, and drew a drum set next to those lines. I told him if I got another call from his teacher, one line would get erased...leaving four lines. If I got a note from his teacher, another line...erased - leaving three. If he came home with no 'smiley' on his hand, in result of a good day of school, then another line would get erased. Finally I explained if all 5 lines were erased, then the drum set would not be an option. I told him I knew he was a good kid, who makes good choices. I explained that I would hate to see him not get a drum set for Christmas, when he's been working so hard to get one.

His sad eyes turned into fierce ones. He had that look of determination. He emphatically told me that he would make good choices, and tell Devon so too. So since then he's been coming home with smiley faces, from having a good day at school. The teacher has told me what good choices he's been making, and the minute he sees me he can't wait to tell me what choices he made at school. So far all 5 lines are still up on his chart.

So please tell me moms & dads....have you had this type of situation? What is working for you? I'm stumped to be honest...It's my first time dealing with this. Give me your insight on your child's history and what you did or didn't do.
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