Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Hard ball

Well, we set up the school conference for Thursday afternoon. He had another bad day yesterday. He got a referral in both art and lunch. I am so puzzled. It's not like this kid has been awful his whole life. He got in trouble some in preschool but never in art or music. He wasn't a high maintenance baby. For the most part, he adapts well to new situations and people. Sure, he's intense and needs to be kept busy. He can be exhausting. But for the most part, he's not defiant. He disobeys quite a bit but in his heart he really wants to please.

I knew school would be somewhat of a challenge but nothing like this. Last night, as he was sitting in his room, I tried to talk to him. At first, he covered his ears. Then, he stopped and decided to listen. I asked him what he thought was going on. He said, "I'm the mean kid in the class. You know, the bully."

So, that got me thinking. Maybe he has dug himself in a hole and doesn't know how to get out. He now has the reputation of being that kid. He gets alot of attention. He gets alot of power. He has control.

This morning, he and I were up very early. The house was quiet. I went into his room and we read some books together. Then I told him a story about a little girl who wanted to be the "bad" girl in school. She ended up with no friends and a very sad heart. Finally, she made a decision to stop being that girl. As she made changes, her heart grew happier. She didn't have to pretend to be something she wasn't.

Samuel listened very intently. I could tell he related to the girl. I'm not sure if this is what's going on. The kid has an amazing imagination. He might be living out this bad kid fantasy that he has dreamed about. We are continuing our discipline at home. The boundaries are there. The love is there. Right now we are assuming that he is making these choices and he can(for the most part) control himself. I told him that he doesn't need to be perfect. Mistakes are ok. But refusing to follow directions at school is not ok. We are playing hard ball with him because he is smart and I think he can take it. It might get worse before it gets better. But he has to know that he is not the boss. What he is doing is not acceptable. He is making these choices and he is going to have to suffer the consequences.

Yesterday when he got home, we read the referrals. He knew he had to go to his room for an hour. He knew he had no tv, no popsicles, no dessert. As he was going upstairs he muttered, "I love my room,so it's really not a punishment." So guess what we did? We emptied his room of everything but his clothes and his bed. His response? "Thanks mom. I really like my room like this." But I could tell he didn't mean it. He had tried to hide a few things from me. When I found them, he tried to hold on. Then the tears came. He sat up there, in his empty room, for the hour. When he came out, he was subdued but still himself. We had a good evening

We will see what today brings. I sure hope it's better, but who knows. We are taking one day at a time and hoping the phone doesn't ring....