If you’ve been keeping up with any recent Facebook posts or BlogHer posts, you may have noticed that we are in the midst of Consequence Week Two at our house.
The night before our kids when back to school from Christmas break, I received a phone call about how our 2nd grader had been struggling with injuring innocent classmates. This initiated a stern lecture and a ‘No-Kindle-No-Computer-Games-No-DS’ week.
Then on Friday, he managed to get a red card pulled in the after school program for punching an older kid (who he actually REALLY likes) in the gut. Sigh. Seriously, kid? Combine that with a weekly report from the teacher that listed his behavior as “Fair — although his behavior on the playground (where he was injuring children) had greatly improved.”
Good golly, son.
So this week we added TV to the no-no list of consequences and hoped that maybe it would influence some behavioral changes. We’ll see what the report says on Friday after school. If he manages to get a “Good” or higher, then the consequences will be over.
Since the kids get home when we do, after a full-day at work, there really isn’t a ton of TV time between homework, dinner, showers and reading. Without TV, our seven year-old has been discovering toys that have long since been buried in his closet or under his bed.
He also is getting to talk to us at dinnertime more.
Last night I tried to focus on all the good things that happened in his day.
“What was the silliest thing that happened to you today?”
When Violet and I both tooted at each other while dad was unlocking the front door.
“What was the weirdest thing that happened to you today?”
Ironically, B. brought in a trophy for show and tell, just like I did. (We then discussed what ironic actually means. I managed to get it wrong and lose some legitimate writer’s-cred, but my husband helped explain things and scored bonus points by bringing in death to the conversation.)
“What was the best thing you eaten today?”
My Grahmful snack and this dinner.
Then I carefully edged into tricky territory and asked, “What would your teacher have thought about your behavior today?” I knew this was a risk and it could turn the whole conversation sour, but I just went for it. It’s like I’m a parental Evel Knievel or something.
My son paused and then told us about how he had been commended for standing quietly in line and how he had told the girl next to him to be quiet like he was. His teacher said, “Oh! I love this front part of the line!” Then the calmness spread on down to the cheerful-talkative kids in the back and on they went on with their day.
We told him how proud we were of him for foregoing the party-in-the-back with his friends and for being a good leader for the rest of the class.
It may seem silly, but when we catch him doing something good, we really try to heap on the praise so maybe, just maybe, he’ll start liking that attention enough to corral some of his other antics.
My husband stepped away from the table for a moment, and my son looked at me seriously and said, “Mom, I have something to tell you.”
Now, I had just watched my DVR’d Parenthood the night before, and even though I wasn’t expecting my son to tell me something akin to Drew’s latest debacle with his girlfriend, I was nonetheless prepared for a dramatic moment between me and my seven year-old that would add an extra level of bonding to our mother-son connection.
“What is it?” I asked.
PPRRRRRTTTTTTTTT. He farted.
“Ha ha ha!” he laughed.
Sigh. So much for that magical mother-son moment. Luckily I was eating a salad, so I already was running short on a decent appetite.
Fingers crossed for Friday.