I took Kiley to school this morning. On most accounts, it was a typical morning. It took about 15 min of hounding for her to get dressed. It’s pouring rain and in the 50’s but that doesn’t stop her from putting on a light, airy dress. Last week, it was getting a bit cool. This week, it is cool and wet, the kind of cold that gets right to your bones and sticks there, haunting you while you try to recover your enthalpy sheltered indoors. As a parental figure, I couldn’t let her keep dressing for summer. After another 20 min of bickering that tempted a full scale meltdown, I dug in her clothes to find something suitable to wear. Another 15 minutes of hounding her to eat her one packet of oatmeal and we were finally out the door with 10 minutes left to get to school.
Today was different because instead of driving through the drop off lane and letting her hop out, I parked the truck and walked her to her classroom. This is our routine now, because we are having quite some difficulty with her academic success. I won’t go into details, except to say that the school must be convinced that we don’t do anything for the child. I walked Kiley to her classroom and introduced myself to the teacher, a quiet, kind old man. I told him that I will be ensuring she comes to class and that breakfast isn’t a classroom issue. That nice man started nodding and saying “oh, it’s okay, it’s okay” before I could finish explaining why I was there.
Through all of the headache with Kiley, I have to say that we have certainly taken up folks’ kind, supposedly helpful suggestions of showering her with more love and praise. Every single time, the same results: exponentially decaying behavior. Within days, she will be ruling the land with an iron scream. Look, I get that we can’t be suppressing children’s ability to let their emotions out, that we should acknowledge them and give them room for expression. However, here’s where it breaks down: Kiley is asked to do something, she does not feel like complying, she makes excuses, then if asked again decides to have a display of emotions. The consequences of this behavior is anything from having a nice, comfy seat on a beanbag doing nothing to playing on an iPad while the office ladies dote on her.
STOP! It’s not fucking okay! She gets positive results from negative and disruptive behavior, what the hell makes anyone think that she is ever going to benefit from education, or even see it through, if she is given a more pleasant option than doing her work any time she feels? Oh, we get told that if she gives lip when asked to do something, just take her by the hand and -cheerfully- take her to where she needs to be. Then, there we are wrestling her kicking, thrashing, possessed body into time out while she screams all manner of dramatic domestic abuse phrases. Yeah, just take her nicely by the hand, huh? Then, surely the lying and stealing (ahem, taking then maybe asking, to be exact) are okay, too? What’s the punishment for that? Oh, offer her more stuff because obviously the reason she’s stealing is pure desperation, not because she receives positive reinforcement for doing the wrong thing.
Look, one of our state’s most iconic natural areas just got torched because some hooligans had a seriously bad attitude toward authority. The parents are in the spotlight, but in the innumerable interactions those kids have had with the incredible amount of relationships through their lives, the village, as it were, how the hell did they come to the conclusion that what they did was going to end well in any case? At the very least, they were going to get a nice little fine from the state. In today’s world where everyone has high resolution video recording in their pocket or hand, if someone sees you do something like that, you are as good as caught before you finish the act.
I don’t know what makes people just fall over themselves for certain individuals. My dad had that charm. He could talk a sane person into jumping off a tall cliff, I swear. He talked, and no matter how bad the bullshit smelled, people would eat it up and ask for more. Baby’s momma still has that charm. I walk through a custom tailored circle of hell every time I show my face at my son’s school. These people get to waltz all over society with their attitude. If I ever had the nerve to cook up half the lies these clever crooks concoct (man, the Dr Seuss really rubs off) I’d have my ass handed to me. No, something special protects these individuals from social backlash. I don’t get it, but I sure suffer the consequences.
It has really only been recently that we have recovered control of our household on a day to day basis. Chaos, complaining, ultimatums, negotiations, and ultimately utter exhaustion used to be our norm. It doesn’t work like that. It might seem to work, but we can’t really all just play their games and insist that it’s better for them in the end.
Well, maybe I made a bigger thing out of it than it needed to be. The point remains though, there’s everything wrong with disrupting class, taking without permission (aka stealing ), and simply refusing to do work. It’s not okay, stop telling me it’s okay, and for the love of humanity stop telling her it’s okay. We are doing everything we can to sort this behavior out (I say this as crying breaks out in the background) but for most of the time she is in school, she gets it her way all day. How can we be effective as parents if what we enforce at home is being undermined at school?
Has anyone else experienced this or a similar frustration with school? We have considered home school, but honestly that’s a pretty tall order. I hope it really is a phase, but I somehow feel like this is pretty much getting to be a part of her personality.