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Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Where's The Remedial Course on How To Parent?

Today started out like any other. Joe got the boys off to school, the smallest three were fed and happily playing and I was just about to settle in with a cup of coffee and my laptop to do some work when Joe came back from dropping off the boys.

He said, "I have someone with me."

Which I knew meant our 6 year old didn't stay at school.

I knew that he was upset and claiming to "not feel well" since the night before, but I also know a shyster when I see one.

He'd confided in me that he'd gotten "yelled at" the day before by the kindergarten teacher for being in the hall when he wasn't supposed to be.

Just so you know...I did not get all up in arms about it like I did the Lunch Lady Situation.

In fact, I was on board 100% with his getting reprimanded since he was admittedly fooling around in the hallway and distracting other students. I explained to him that he needs to be in HIS room where he belongs in order to be learning and stay safe-- and so he isn't distracting the other students.

My Mama Bear Meter was humming nicely at '5' on a scale of 0-100.

So, pan forward to this morning when he starts throwing a holy fit and giving Joe the business. Joe was at the end of his rope. He doesn't know how to handle R when he gets that way. I think I do (or may?) but I'm not always patient enough to follow through with it.

Joe even spoke with R's wonderful, sweet, kind teacher about it and she assured R he would be fine with her. Apprently R thought the teacher who had reprimanded him didn't like him anymore.

When Joe brough him home, I could read the frustration all over his face. R was embarrassed and wouldn't even come in the house because he was so worried about what I would say.

I calmly talked with him about what happened and tried to pry the details out of him. That kid is tighter than Fort Knox.

Since that got me exactly no where, I explained that just because he got in trouble did not mean he could stay home. He yelled how much he hated school and how 'stupid' it was.

I reinforced to him that the teacher was doing her job and he should have been following directions, not fooling around.

So, in the van we went, with R literally grabbing every door frame in sight.

I can only imagine what the neighbors must have thought as I carried/half dragged him by his hand to the van.

Things went from bad to worse when we got to the school. He refused to unbuckle and when I got in to unbuckle him myself he employed the Ninja/Vulcan death grip on the headrest. I had to do the ole trapezius pinch again just to get him out of the van.

When his feet finally hit the pavement, I was actually sweating.

Long story short....the principal was nice enough to talk with R and remind him how we all make mistakes and as long as we learn from our mistakes, that's the important thing. Then the principal allowed me to walk R up to his classroom as opposed to merely sending him on his way. (This was especially necessary since R was attached to my leg with a white knuckle grip.)

I was able to talk with his teacher and, on a lark, also with the kindergarten teacher who had reprimanded him the day before. She explained to him why she told him to get in his room and reassured him she still liked him.

Then, I kissed him and ushered him in his room.

What a spectacle. The whole class was disrupted and ended up staring at him. Which, you may know makes him melt. He hates to have people look at him. He gets very anxious.

So...here I sit with 943 things I could and SHOULD be doing, but all I can think about is this scene.

Did I handle it right?

It seems like such a fine line between coddling and supporting him. I don't want to set a precedent for this behavior by entertaining it, but at the same time, I want him to understand that I am here for him, Always. I see the actual living fear in his eyes when he gets like this.

It kills me to know that he feels like I'm leading him to the Lion's Den when I force him to face situations that frighten him, even though I know that I know that I know that I'm doing the right thing.

And then, of course, I revisit all my own anxieties about wanting to homeschool him. I struggle with:

Would homeschooling or cyber schooling only worsen the issue by keeping him from facing the issue of social anxiety or would it benefit him by giving him the nurturing and support he needs in a safe environment, preparing him for eventual integration in the public education scene? He's clearly a different kid.

I have zero worries about our 5 year old. I don't even imagine needing or wanting to pull him out to homeschool or cyber school him. He's never presented such deeply rooted social anxieties like R has and does.

So...any advice out there is welcome. Nice advice. It doesn't have to be in agreement with me,  but it does have to be presented well. You're dealing with a mother's broken heart here.

Anyone dealt with this before? Have anything that's "worked" for you? I'm all ears.
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