The incident I’m about to explain happened about a month ago, but it’s taken this long for the situation to diffuse enough for me to take it a little less seriously.
Cameron, my oldest, had a hard time adjusting to his first month of kindergarten. Apparently he was causing problems in more than one way; for example, copping an attitude, tattling, being disrespectful and not listening.
I’m not exactly sure why this is, and I was honestly really surprised that he had so much trouble. At home he’s generally well behaved, is a big helper, and his conscience is amazing. He normally tells the truth, even when he knows he’ll get in trouble.
We’d been working with him each time the teacher alerted us to a problem, and he seemed to be correcting his behavior fairly quickly.
Then I got the phone call. It was the principal – calling to tell me that Cameron had punched a sixth-grader. Wha?? A sixth-grader? Are you sure? Yep, he was sure. And not only that, but the punch was unprovoked. It happened in the hall as the older boy was just walking by. The other weird thing about this situation is that he refused to tell the principal his or my name. Finally, after minutes of coercion, he told them that his name was Kristin Smith. His teacher at church.
You seriously could have knocked me over with a feather. It’s no secret around here that Cameron’s not afraid of much, and that if pushed far enough he may blow. But this was um, unusual behavior.
I really struggled to hold it together while talking to the principal. I’m sure he could tell that I was on the verge of tears – which doesn’t happen very often, even at home. All of the previous month’s frustration and concern came to the surface, and I was losing it. I felt responsible. I felt like a horrible parent.
That evening, after stripping him of all extracurricular activities for a week, I asked Cameron what would possibly make him want to do something like that. Were you upset? Angry? Frustrated? Were you taking something out on him? Weren’t you afraid of being clobbered? He answered “no” to all my questions. His “brain turned off” was all he told me.
Finally, I asked the right question. Were you just trying to be cool and show off in front of your friends?
We talked a lot about why it isn’t ok to hit others. That it hurts their feelings and their bodies, and that you can get kicked out of school. Luckily, he’s a very quick learner, that boy (so quick, in fact, that he beats me at chess on a regular basis. My six year old is smarter than me), and he’s been doing great since then. His teacher is amazed at his progress, and calls him “The Turnaround King”. We’ve had little to no incidents since “The Punch”.
It’s really important to me for my children to not just be good at school, but to set a good example as well. There’s no excuse for regularly occurring disobedience. That being said, I always want them to know they can talk to me about anything. I tried hard to let Cameron know that this didn’t change the way I felt about him, and that I had absolute faith in him to turn this around.
Cameron and his teacher
So tell me, since I’ve spilled my guts about my naughty kid, what’s the worst / most embarrassing thing your kid has ever done? My inquiring mind wants to know (plus, it’ll make me feel better).