Wednesday, July 25, 2007

On the Other Side of the Table....

As a former teacher, I know that having your child's teacher contact you about a behavioral issue is pretty much the last resort. As someone who hates confrontation, I tried every trick in the book to get a kid to behave before calling their parents. After all, many parents got quite defensive about their kids and refused to believe that THEIR child would talk too much, throw paper, cheat, etc.

So, when Sydney's teacher pulled me aside last week and said, "Can I talk to you about Sydney's behavior?", my heart sank.

Apparently, the teacher asked her to join the other kids in the eating area for lunch and she refused. She wanted to keep playing with the dolls instead of stopping to eat her lunch. I don't know how the teacher finally got her to comply, but all I had to hear was that she argued with the teacher.

I assured the teacher that this would not happen again and spent the afternoon thinking of a possible punishment for the next time the teacher informed me that Sydney argued. Ryan agreed with me that the newest Barbie (a really icky old one that once belonged to me) that my mother had just given her would be returned to its previous home should we get another negative behavioral report.

The next school day, I had Sydney tell her teacher what would happen if she argued again and I then asked the teacher to let me know if the insubordination ceased or continued. Thankfully, Sydney complied with all directives that day and we didn't have to follow through with our punishment, but the threat of it still looms over her head.

I don't like punishing my kids. It makes them sad and then it makes me sad, but I refuse to raise mean, spoiled kids. I've seen how kids who get away with talking back at a young age act when they are teenagers You know, they are the ones that have teachers dreading the school year when they see their names on the rolls. They are the ones that get whispered about in the teacher's lounge during conference periods and lunch time.

Those will not be my kids.

There seems to be a fine line between making your kids behave and breaking their little spirits. I certainly do not want to break Sydney's spirit, but she has to learn that she cannot have everything that she wants. It's such a hard lesson to learn. And an even harder one to teach.

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