It’s been a month since our little one started school and what a rough month it’s been so far. Problem after problem whether it be not completing class work, fighting, or general bad behavior in the last month we have seen it all. But one thing we definitely noticed was that punishment, yelling and spanking were only making it worse.
A back story on our tiny terror.
Little man has always been bossy and sometimes he’s downright mean for no apparent reason. He’s very independent and always has been ever since he first learned to crawl he has been on the go, never needing us for anything more than a meal. He’s not a cuddler, he doesn’t like being affectionate and always has to have the last word. While he loves being around other kids you can often find him playing alone happy as can be, you see he loves being around other kids he just doesn’t want to play with them. He’s been like this for as long as I can remember. He’s easily annoyed and has a short fuse, he’s not a morning person and he hates sitting still. I knew public school wasn’t going to be easy but I never imagined it being this hard.
After just 12 days of school we were called in for a parent teacher conference because our son had no respect for his teacher and no desire to do his school work. Despite talking to him every morning before he got on the bus, he still came home with some type of mark on his chart. His school uses a daily color chart to show parents how their little one is doing and what needs to be worked on at home. 10/12 days he came home with a mark on his sheet. The color chart goes a little something like this. See below.
At the start of the day every child has a clothes pin on green, depending on their behavior they can either move up or down. Our son only ever moved down, for almost 3 weeks this behavior continues but steadily got worse. We tried everything to get him to behave but nothing worked. Spanking didn’t work it only made him go to school and hit, bite or kick other children which resulted in a 2 day suspension the first time and a bus suspension the second time. Yup it happened twice! Talking to him about his behavior didn’t work, the next day he would go in to school and immediately start acting out. Punishing him by taking things away didn’t help, he would go in to school and act out from boredom until he was removed from carpet time. After meeting with his teacher we all agreed that the color chart just didn’t work for him, so we suggested a sticker chart instead. He can earn multiple stickers every day and once he reaches 5 he gets a prize from his teacher. It’s been 2 weeks and he has filled up two sticker sheets, but it took more than an incentive to get him to act right.
Our house is loud, constantly. I am a very verbal person and loud from growing up in the north so sometimes it sounds like I’m yelling and I don’t even notice because it’s just the way I talk. My wife on the other hand is completely opposite from me. She is very soft spoken and hardly ever raises her voice, but when she does everyone hears it. Whether it be loud music, loud video games, loud movies we are always living life very loud, until recently. After meeting with a therapist she gave us a little insight in to the mind of our almost six year old. Not only was I loud but I was also very particular. Everything has a place; shoes belong lined up in a neat line along the wall, toys go in toy bins according to category, there is nothing out of place in our home. Well except for our bedroom, it looks like a tornado ripped threw our bedroom! Our little one had no control of anything in the house, even in his room. I hadn’t noticed that my high expectations for cleanliness in our house took away any control that our son had. He needed to gain some control and I needed to give more than I previously had. We started turning down the volume, whether it be in the car, watching tv or just talking we are trying to keep a low calm volume when dealing with our son. No yelling, which can be so hard because I am a yeller, and keeping a calm tone has really helped him in school. Last week he came home with 2 greens, a blue and a yellow. It’s a great start. Although it still bothers me to see shoes on the floor and race cars sitting on my dining room table for days on end I owe it to my little one to be understanding and allow him to have more control.