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Monday, February 27, 2012

When Children are in Control

I am going to try and change the names, shows, and a few other facts in this blog, but what you need to know is that these words were actually uttered today on the playground.

My daughter Zoe is in kindergarten.  If you follow my blog, you know she is a bit of a free spirit.  Very free.  If you know her, you will concur.  She has a fantastic kindergarten teacher.  She has a huge class.  The class has it's fair share of children who my guess is, will eventually receive supplemental educational support.  She had to crack down a little more than normal this year.  My son got one "red card" his entire year.  My daughter gets one about every 6 weeks with a "yellow card" about every week.  I was very concerned about this until I started volunteering in the classroom.  Some days, all the cards are flipped to red.

I should also point out, I love, love, love this teacher.  She runs a tight ship, but she is also very fun and creative.

We were really cracking down on Zoe when she would get anything other than "regular."  Once I told my husband "Um.... it's not just her," we backed off a bit.  If the red card was for just chatting (hey, she's my kid), we adapt the punishment (no TV, early bed time, etc).  If it was for something worse (like the day she put the kid in the headlock), well, that's a bit more serious.

Anyhow, I was waiting outside her classroom with 2 other dads.  We were joking about how Zoe runs out and announces with flair "I got a regular!!!"  I told them how I always try to check and see if it was one of those days and everyone got a red card before we would get too upset with her.

Then, one of the dads commented "Oh, Tuesday is always red card day for us.  Sally makes us let her  watch "House" and "Castle" so she doesn't get to bed until after 11 on Monday."

Names and TV shows have been altered.

Okay, wow.  So many things wrong with that sentence.

First of all, if you KNOW a child has discipline issues because of something that you are doing- WHY WOULD YOU KEEP DOING IT?

Seriously.  If I knew that eating sugary cereal made my kids nuts, I would not give her sugary cereal.  Period.  We figured out that she wasn't eating enough at lunch and would have trouble concentrating in the afternoon.  We asked her to help pick out her lunch so she'd make it to the end of the day.

It never occurred to me to keep allowing the bad behavior.

Especially for a TV show.

Second, "make us."

What?  This is not a democracy.  I don't cowtow to my children EVER.  Especially not something like bed times.  I will take their ideas into consideration, but the final decision is my husband's and mine.  PERIOD. 

Third, eleven is way too late for a 6 year old. 

We don't sell bed time as a bad thing.  It's a fun time when we read, talk about the day-- we wind down.  My kids are in bed around 8, a little later for Skip who is 9.  He reads for about 30 minutes at night.  We start getting ready for bed around 7-7:30- depending on dinner, activities, etc. Any time my kids have questioned going to bed early (because they know other kids don't) I explain that your brain grows at night.  Not getting enough sleep makes it very hard for your brain to work.  It's an easy sell because the friends that usually DO stay up-- well, they aren't usually in the top reading and math groups.  Shocking, I know.

Fourth, there is a reason they put the little M in the top left of the screen.  It's for parents like this who are too dumb to know that shows that come on after 9 pm are for ADULTS.  They have labeled them people.  The shows that this kids "has" to watch is full of violence and sexual situations.  Now, keep in mind, Zoe has seen ALL the "Harry Potter" movies which shocked the mom of this kid.  We were very cautious and we told her if it got scary, to let us know.  We are reading all the books, so she's familiar with the fact that Harry wins.  Plus, this is the kid that LOVES to be scared.  But it's violence that fits in with the story- Voldemort is evil.  If Harry and Ginny started getting it on, then I might have a problem.  The kissing is more than enough.  They aren't drug addicts.

Fifth, the kid needs structure and to understand the word no.  I volunteer in the classroom and trust me, she is not the only one who would benefit from the understanding of the word.  The temper tantrums that I see leave me baffled.  But then again, who knows?  Maybe some of the kids are just tired?  A few weeks ago one kid had a total breakdown because he lost at Bingo.  TOTAL breakdown.

Am I nuts?  When did the kids start setting the rules?  And now the teacher is responsible for this kid getting good grades?

And I go back to the parenting.... in one sentence, this guy summed up everything that I think schools are faced with- not funding issues, bad parenting issues.  If parents did their jobs, then maybe teachers could do their jobs.  But if kids come to school hungry, tired, sick.... how are they supposed to learn?

It makes me crazy.  The good thing-- the dad next to me had what had to be the same expression on his face that I think was one mine.

Utterly baffled.


Bzybee said...

11pm to watch any show after 9pm is dumb. I hear this crap from people all the time, especially surrounding food as to why they have crap in their house.. because the kids will not eat anything else.. since when did the kids control the food in the house or what they eat at home.. it just frustrates me that parenting has become such a secondary skill and concern for many people.

Anonymous said...

LOVE IT! What you are seeing in this child will only get worse as time goes on and curriculum gets more difficult. It amazes me that parents think their kids are in charge. It makes my job as principal even harder since that attitude carries over at school. My favorite line to use with kids is, "That may work for you at home, but it's not going to work here." Your kids are welcome here-how do you feel about the commute?