One Stumped Mother
Do you ever just feel like a complete failure in the parenting department? I do. Right now, in fact. I feel like if the phrase "clueless mother" was in the dictionary, there'd be a picture of me beside it. Probably one that somebody took when I was caught off-guard so my mouth would be hanging open in an unflattering fashion.
It's Colin, y'all. My Kindergartener. I don't know what to do with him. (And I can't imagine, if it's this difficult now, what it's going to be like when he's a teenager. I don't even wanna think about that.)
He's been getting more and more bad reports from school. As in, Colin isn't following procedures. Colin isn't practicing active listening. Colin had to miss recess today. Colin is now sitting in a separate desk because he wouldn't leave so-and-so alone.
Each day he brings home a notebook with an update on his behavior. And every day, when I open it desperately hoping to see a smiley face, I see the same sad face and a note. Please remind Colin of the procedures when lining up outside. ... Colin didn't finish his work in the allotted time today; please have him complete it at home. Every day I feel like I'm the one being scolded, like, "Make your bratty son behave already!"
I just want to run into the school and yell at the top of my frickin' lungs, "I DON'T UNDERSTAND THIS!!!!" Because I don't. At all. Obviously I don't claim to be a perfect parent - I'm far from it - but I can't identify one single thing that could be causing this behavior. He always has a balanced breakfast before school (I know, I sound like a cereal commercial). He goes to bed at 8 o'clock every night, and gets plenty of sleep. He has rules, and when he breaks one, he faces the consequences. There's no upheaval at home to speak of that would be making him act out - Curtis and I aren't, like, fighting in front of him or going through a divorce or anything. It's pretty boring around the Templeton household, really.
We've had this problem before. Near the beginning of the year, he was doing the same type of thing. We determined that he was bored, and after a few curriculum changes (working one-on-one with the TAG teacher instead of in a group setting, for example) he seemed to be doing better. For a while, anyway.
I don't know what else we can try to get him to behave - "make better choices," as his teacher puts it - at school. Curtis and I have talked to him until we're blue in the face. We've taken away privileges and favorite things as a punishment. (We always say, "In trouble at school, in trouble at home.") I have tried to bribe him with the promise of something fun: "If you get a smiley face every day this week, you can pick any experiment out of your Big Book of Science Things to Make and Do this weekend."
But ... nothing. None of it is working. And I feel like we've tried everything. Whether threats or promises, positive ("I can't wait to see the smiley face in your planner this afternoon and hear all about your great choices!") or negative ("You'd better not have a frowny face today, Colin, or you'll be in big trouble when you get home"), it all seems to fall on deaf ears.
I don't want my kid to be the bad seed. I don't want him to be the one his teachers dread seeing. He's so smart, y'all, and so inquisitive ... I don't want all that to go down the toilet because all the focus is on his behavior. I hate that they don't see the sweet boy, the bright shining light that he can be ... instead he's just the disruptive one who won't follow procedures. He says he still likes school, but how long could that possibly last when he's getting in trouble on the daily? It makes me really, super, down-in-the-dumps sad.
I'm at a loss. I feel like I have somehow failed him. Like there's something I should be doing, something that would alleviate this problem, something that I'm not seeing.
Is there? Does anyone have any advice for this floundering, frustrated mama?