Thursday, September 15, 2011

Deciphering X-man

X-man got in a heap of trouble on Tuesday when he came home with his second note from his teacher regarding his behavior. We'd had a heart-to-haert after the first note, and he promised he would improve his behavior. Specifically, he's having issues listening, talking back, keeping his hands to himself and being respectful.

Since this was the second note, I took him to the couch and I sat down with him. I had my note pad and pen in hand. This was gonna be tough, but I wrote out the four problem areas, and then I wrote down the consequences for getting in trouble for them.

For a note about not listening: He loses Legos for a week.
For a note about talking back: He loses computer/television for a week.
For a note about hitting or touching other people inappropriately: He loses playdates for a week.
For a note about not respecting his teacher or any other adult: He goes straight to his room after school. He eats there by himself.

Since the note he got on Tuesday said he'd done all four things... he threw a fit. It was expected. We were supposed to have a playdate with Lighting McColin that night, and it got revoked. In response, he went to the garage and tried to drive there himself. (I had the keys in the kitchen... no worries.) While he was flipping his lid in my garage. I was upstairs packing up the Legos and locking them in the guest room.

Once he calmed down and went to his room, he kept coming out to try and talk to me. I explained that not being able to talk to me was part of the consequences. He looked sad and said, "Mommy, I don't want to have to stay in my room again."

Well, good. Let's hope you figure out the cause and effect then.

But at the same time, in my brain, I keep repeating all the times he can't sit still. The month he was pulling apart his socks during nap time at school because he w s bored on his cot last April in pre-school. The habit ended when it became sandal season and socks were unnecessary. But he's pulled apart two pairs of socks just this week.

So, as a clueless parent looking for help... I e-mailed the school psychologist. He's offered to do some observations and talk with X-man's teacher. And I'm grateful.

Regardless if my child is bored or inattentive or hyperactive or whatever -- I'm feeling that phantom umbilical cord. Maybe you know what I'm talking about. The one that totally exists no matter how old your child gets. The one that says, "Is this where I let my kid stand on his own?" or "Is there something here besides him making bad decisions? Maybe he needs something more than I can decipher on my own? How can I best help him while trying to help him be independent?"

Regardless, when my child gets in trouble at school, it feels like a personal reflection on my parenting skill. I know he's his own person and he makes his own decisions. But at the same time, when it comes to not being kind -- that worries me. What could I do differently? Better?

I'm not by nature a helicopter parent. I don't baby my kid. But I do, on occasion, spoil him.

It hurt. Those self thoughts that I had about my parenting skills. And I wonder, if this continues on throughout his school career, if I will feel forever defined by my role as his mother. His failures aren't supposed to be my failures, and yet, it feels that they are. And better yet, how do I make sure that even though I feel that way...that he never does?


Debra said...

Parenting is tough. There is always this balance of being a protector and provider and teaching them the consequences of life. It does sound to me like he has something going on. The sock thing says to me that he is anxious or needing some stimulation. I think you made the right move by getting the counselor involved. Maybe he just needs something to carry with him to calm his nerves or to fiddle with ? My friends son has a stone that he takes to school with him and when he gets overwhelmed her rubs it and it helps him slow down and think and remove himself from the situation. Maybe something similar could help X-man?

This is NOT a reflection of your parenting by any means. Its just kids and their uniqueness. Mine runs away from loud noises... sometimes into the street if I can't grab him in time and uses a bathroom outside of the classroom so he doesn't have to have an automatic toilet. Challenges, yes, but that is part of our role as parents. Figuring out why and how to work with them. You are doing a great job! I think all parents have these moments and thoughts.

The Fearless Freak said...

Have you also talked to the school social worker?

We like our school psychologist but she is part time and simply doesn't have enough hours in the day to help all the kids that need help. Our social work is full time and, at least at WV, helps the kids with behavior skills, where the psych deals more with disorders.

The SW does things like friendship classes, social thinking, anger management, teamwork, etc. The old one that retired last year used to teach the kids yoga, to help them relax and be able to think before making choices. The new doesn't do yoga but has suggested things like "stop, think, act" etc to learn to make better choices.

On the other hand, my kid is almost 10 and still making those stupid bad choice. Since I've been dealing with it longer, I've gotten over and let him suffer the consequence of his bad behavior, not that those things have helped him at all. I feel no guilt about letting him fall down on his face, at this point. Better to fall and suffer for making bad choices when you are 10, instead of being protected from it until you are 25 and the consequence isn't grounding, but jail time.