We had Parent-Teacher conferences this week and got the boys’ report cards. I know with four boys I shouldn’t expect perfection but I have a definite type A personality. When my husband and I were discussing what special help we could get one of the boys in Social Studies, I had an “aha moment” and said,
“You know – it really is just a B, we probably should let this play out a bit.”
The very kind teacher nodded trying to mask the smile in her eye.
One report card in 12 years of educational feedback was presented to my husband by a very sad, sad, young man and carried the scarlet letter C+.
“They come home, they study till dinner; they go to their sports activities and then study until they go to bed.” was Steve’s decree.
Realizing that I was the one implementing the new rules on “they”, a quick conversation ensued to restore some sense of balance to our approach. After all, the scarlet child was only nine at the time.
NOW the boys have taken to taunting me when report cards come home.
Scene: (Watching TV with Sam. Both of our heads are focused on the screen in front of us)
“You did really well on your report card Sam.”
Sam, “Thanks mom.”
“Don’t you feel good when you get good grades Sam?” I asked.
Sam, as we both continue looking forward,
“Not really mom. It’s no big deal to me. I do it mostly for you guys.”
Life lesson mommy (when will I learn):
“Well Sammy, you should really be doing this for yourself. It’s important that you set standards you think are important and work toward them.”
Sam: “Okay mom.”
Life lesson mommy sitting there for a few pregnant moments realizes the whole discussion could backfire and starts to grow more and more concerned about where this could lead.
“Sam” I say glancing over at his face, my voice a little bit pitiful now, “you’re…you’re still going to work to get good grades right?”
Sam looking ahead waits for a few countable seconds:
“Yes mom” he says slowly, milking every second out of the moment. And then the slightest smile curls at the ends of his little mouth. I reach over and WHACK his shoulder and we both start laughing.
Man, if this is how they can handle me when they’re below the age of ten, I don’t stand a chance.
Parenting Tip of the Day:
I went to a presentation by a published child psychologist recently. He suggested that if your child is being confronted by someone who is calling them names or saying rude things; have your child engage them using the five “W”s. For example:
Mean Child: “You are just a dweeb”.
Your child “Why do you think that?”.
Mean Child: “Because you always do dweebish things.
Your child “Why do you think they’re dweebish?”.
His position is that this sort of comeback empowers the child to engage the bully as the leader of the conversation (rather than the “just ignore him” approach that we all know is pretty ineffective).
I’m trying it with my #2 and #1 right now (I mean #2 will use it when #1 is being mean). I’ll let you know if it leads to direct violence.