Advice Welcome

December 12th, 2011

Well, since we decided to be all flexible about responding to the Reverb Broads prompts, I’m going to take advantage of that flexibility to blog about something wholly unrelated today because it’s been on my mind since last week, and I’d like some advice. You know, if you have some to share.

Last week, on both Thursday and Friday, when we picked Aedan up from school, he told us he “had a bad day.” He’d gotten in trouble for not listening on both days – more so than usual. They have a green/yellow/red system in his classroom, and he’d been on red two days in a row. Okay, not horrible, but obviously not great. And after talking through with him what happened and how he was going to “fix it,” I hoped that Monday would go a little better. Mainly because after talking to him and planning how he could improve his behavior, I’m pretty much out of ideas. I was always pretty good in school, other than getting in trouble for the occasional eye-roll. So I can truly say I have no idea what the instinct behind misbehaving is. Is it a boy thing? (And I truly, truly hate saying that, as I generally believe most “boy” or “girl” behavior is conditioned, but I also have to allow for the conditioning they receive at school, and maybe the other boys act that way so he feels he needs to?) I asked Sean if he got in much trouble as a kid in school, but he didn’t remember much of anything. Or maybe he’s not getting enough sleep and is too exhausted to listen – which could very well be the case, as on Friday they sent him to rest and he only closed his eyes “for a minute” while he was resting. And then I also think about the fact that he’s in kindergarten – are they expecting too much of him at this age, or am I? I mean, I only attended kindergarten for half days when I was his age – surely a longer day would have gotten me in trouble more often.

Anyways, after all that mulling and such this weekend, I figured I’d just have to see if our “talk” did any good. And then today he came home with a note that we have to sign that says he wasn’t listening again today. Okay, okay, three days hardly makes a pattern – I’m aware of this. I just feel so unequipped to deal with it if it does become a pattern. I mean, how do you work with your kid so that he listens at school? What do you do at home differently to make an impact on his behavior all around? Yes, there are times he doesn’t listen at home, so maybe it’s just the same thing at school, since overall he seems to be a pretty good kid.

So, from any other parents out there (or friends without kids who have ideas, thoughts, opinions – I’ll take whatever I can get), am I being overly paranoid that my kid is turning into a wild child? Are there things I could be doing to help him have an easier time at school?

Damn, this parenting gig is confusing sometimes.

  • Jane Tuttle

    Kristen:  Try as you might, boys are just different from girls.  The people that will call it sexists are not parents or they do not remember what it is like to have a little boy.   My advice is you do the best you can with the information you have at the time and forgive yourself when you learn more.  You did your best.  

    I think you are expecting too much from a kindergartner.   Maybe he just isn’t interested in the topic at hand.  He is the center of two well educated parents’ lives and he very well may get bored. 

    One of my favorite parenting resources is Barbara Coloroso.  Her website is: http://www.kidsareworthit.com/

    This too will pass and he’ll be into all kinds of other things.  You are an Alpha woman and you want the best for your little one.  Be kind to yourself and enjoy this time because the days may take forever, but the years fly by.  Now that and $1.02 will get you a coffee refill at the Strong Hall Snack Bar. 

  • Debra Sanborn

    Kristen: Aedan sounds very normal. And you are a wonderful parent. Have you emailed or contacted the teacher? Address it with the teaching staff as quickly as you can and ask for descriptions of behavior and suggestions for improvement or change. Everything you said is accurate, it is not a student gender thing, but it could be a transition thing and some students need a bit more time to become quiet or listen when moving between activities.

  • Niki Rudolph

    I’m with Debra on this – talk with the teacher. The behavior at school can be very different then what you see at home, and it is soooo helpful when you all get on the same page. I know it helped me to understand how the day moved or how the teacher asked the students to do something so that I could model some of that at home to help my oldest with the transition. You are a wonderful Mom, and you are doing the best thing in listening and helping the little guy process it. Kindergarten is much tougher as a parent. Hang in there! I am not much help on the parenting of boys, but I am becoming a pro at talking to teachers. 

  • I agree with Debra as well, have a chat with his teacher, get some specifics, see how they handle the behavior and discuss *together* what both sides can do to help.  “Not listening” is so vague of a description, no wonder you’re confused.  I have a 5 yr old boy also in Kindergarten this year.  He’s had years of daycare/preschool to prep him for K.  Your little dude just might need more adjustment time. 🙂  Good luck!

  • Thank you so much from all of you for the great feedback. We have had a couple more issues at school, and the teacher has threatened not to let him participate in the class holiday movie tomorrow, so we’re calling the school first thing in the morning to make an appointment. Working with students myself, I sense that we might also be experiencing some end-of-semester fatigue, and I want to make sure Aedan’s not the brunt of it. Thanks again for your feedback!

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