There is such a huge hype these days about kids who go to school, kids who are in home schooling, kids who are in a big class group or groups should be smaller, private schools, public schools, kids who drop out early to fulfil their dreams, or which college to attend, kids who make the top grade, kids who just get by, and the kids who desperately work hard and just don’t seem to “make the grade” they are so determined to reach. For the child it is an on-going battle, and for a parent it can be very exhausting always hoping you are doing the best for your child! What is right and what is wrong, and so the battle in the mind continues.
Having kids is a job all on it’s own, and if you are a parent you will agree with me!
Listening to my kids tell me what they want to be one day makes me proud that they have such determination and hope that they will achieve their goals. And in my heart, as every parent hopes for, I find myself praying silently to myself, “Lord, let their hearts be filled and their desires come true”.
A few months ago we were receiving on-going messages from my son’s school teacher. He just wasn’t participating in class, he would not listen or carry out instruction, making a noise in class, at times he was called the class clown, talking too much, not passing his tests and my husband and I thought, “Here we go…this is going to be a problem, if not a costly problem, there is something going on and we were not going to start the blame game and thinking our child was right and all the other kids in the class or the teacher actually had the problem! I know as a parent we always hope “it’s not my child, it just can’t be our child – but in this instance, it really was our child!” (I was not prepared!)
We had numerous talks with him almost every night – but there was never a straight cut answer and his reasoning was difficult to understand, and some of the answers that he did provide us (with a straight face) was, “I look at the grass outside. I think of going into space or being on a nice holiday. The teacher can get boring repeating herself” … and it felt as though we were moving in circles. We sat with him at night and helped with homework, we did the bribe game, we blamed him for his ridiculous attitude, we started picking which friends we thought were appropriate, we did the star sheet and if he was good he could earn extra money – money didn’t even help him focus! We loaded him with more chores – thinking more discipline is what he actually needed, we tested his hearing (which is still pretty much selective at the best of times), we cut out certain foods in his diet – believing that lettuce and greens would somehow magically make a difference (however eliminating sugar did help!), we sent our daughter off as a spy to check up on him during the day just encase there was a bullying problem, or something the teacher (or us as his parents) were not seeing, we tried the punishment scenario – no TV, no playing outside, no treats on weekends, no friends to visit – and so the list went on and on. We kept in close contact with the teacher (who was a real angel). I phoned in for extra lessons after school – I kind of went on a mini rampage. I was determined to find out what the problem was and why he was starting this “no interest, no passing, no care in the world state of mind” which was a huge concern for us.
All the while, my concern was, “my child is not the same as everyone else. WHY must we deal with this problem? He was not acting the same, in fact, he wasn’t acting like “all the other kids were supposed to behave in class”, and instead of seeing it as something perhaps completely normal for a 10 year old child, I saw it as a problem and tackled it head on like a was moving into a solo war.
But, as the weeks went on, he was the same child. There was no change. He quickly got into the routine of bringing us his homework to check without us even asking him, he would sit with me while I cooked and do his reading, the TV stayed off, the kids in the complex knew he would come out and play only if he had finished his homework and the afternoons became just that, him and me, chatting and going through the day’s events.
To be honest, I started to like it. We were forming our bond, a bond that I had never quite connected with before. I always saw him as my little baby. He couldn’t get older, even though he was going to school, to me, he was still my baby.
The term was finished, and holidays came and went, he managed to do whatever home work they were given to do during the holidays, another term went by, and all the fuss we made in the beginning of the year kind of fell by the way side. There was no more hype over it. There was no more stress and in fact, we stopped asking. The teacher and I had agreed that if, and only if, there were anymore outbursts and grave concern would she contact us again.
The teacher never messaged us. There were no notes to be seen on Parents evening and my husband and I started questioning what exactly was going on. Did they no longer care about our son? Was he just at a point of no return and he was failing, not just the term, but the year?
Everything was the same about him, and the only difference was, him and I started to communicate more – on a different level, there had been a mind shift, instead of thinking he had a problem, he was starting to feel encouraged and taking his “problematic situation” and creating a solution. He knew his past behaviour in class was not acceptable, and slowly I believe he started to change that on his own, once we stopped labelling him as having a problem.
As the end of the school year is near, my husband and I started to become anxious. Last week we received a message to notify parents that school reports were being handed out at the end of the week. My husband calmly prepared me for the worst and in my mind, I could not accept that he was the same little boy who had been giving his teacher such nonsense as he was in the beginning of the year.
The end of the week was upon us and the kids walked in and handed us their report cards. I handed them both to my husband and sat with my hands under my chin, elbows on the table – hoping for the best. My daughter sat amused, knowing she had done very well, so we breezed through her report not wanting to show too much excitement as my son sat next to me waiting patiently for his news. And then, his report card came out – my husband could not have opened the envelope any slower…
Personally I don’t think I blinked, for a while. I could see my husband’s eyes move across the card and honestly when I looked at his chest he didn’t look like he was even breathing. There was silence, even our fur baby went and lay down, in another room.
My husband looked at me, by this stage I had moved into a trance state of mind – I could feel nothing, while he said to me, “I am shocked! He has gone from below average to a high flying pass rate in every subject!” In a quick movement I took the card to check we had the correct child’s name on the report card and my son just looked at us and smiled, while he said out loud, “I no longer am in the last 3 in class, I am now in the middle”!
I don’t think I ever really doubted my son’s abilities, but it was close at one point in his life!
It was a good start to our weekend!
To the parents who have kids in school. I do not deny the fact that there are many reasons why kids do what they do – and there may be learning disabilities, and why parents do what we do, but I thought I would share this with you, as being a parent is by no means easy. No child is the same. And we shouldn’t expect them to be. School may be a small part of their life, and yes, it is a very important part of their life, but be encouraged, we should not put our kid in a box. Each child is unique, they all learn differently and have different skills. As study time is nearing for the end of the year, take the time to talk to your child. Learn from them too, and allow there to be a balance – bring in the fun along with the studies. It is easy to pull the blame game and rant and rave – most of us do that so well, but learning from our own personal experience, what we failed to do was communicate from the beginning.
If your child goes to school, or is home schooled, in college, is an A student of a failing student – it shouldn’t create a mark on who they are as a person, or who they will be in their future. It starts with you – in the home, communication and acceptance is a huge positive in a child’s mind and in their overall behaviour as a person, as an individual.
May you be encouraged. Spend these next few weeks with your child, the beginning of the new year and years to come – quality time is the best time for growth. Read with them, let them read to you, talk with them, show some interest, you never know, there may be vast improvement – not only from your child, but also from their educators, their circle of friends and even you as their parent!
Your child is unique. After all, they are yours! Be encouraged!
Love and God Bless,