Do you remember being punished as a kid? I sure do. It didn’t happen too often, but when it did, boy…. look out!!!!! My mother would take away my the t.v. privileges for a week, and as I felt like my window into the incredible lives of others had been shut off for good, I couldn’t help but wonder what I’d be missing at the lunch table the next day as everyone discussed the events from last night’s episode of “what-ever.” Television was my savior. My outlet. My addiction. But when I got to high school, the phone would be the first thing to be taken away. I couldn’t liiiiiive with out my phone, and if a guy called me? Well, let’s just say that there’s nothing more embarrassing than having your mother tell the boy that you’ve been crushing on for ever, that, “Jill can’t come to the phone right now, because she’s grounded. She’ll see you in school tomorrow.”
Yes, that really did happen. What a nightmare!
Well, today was my son’s turn to have a note sent home (via email) from his teacher. Apparently his day at school was the day from hell (my words, not hers), and his behavior was just off the charts, horrible. I had absolutely no idea what to say, so I apologized in an email back to her and I told her that I would try to talk to him about it.
Talking to my son about his behavior, is like parting the Red Sea with my mind. It’s not gonna happen! So, I tried anyway. Our babysitter left and I sat down with Willy on my lap, and I asked him if he had a hard day at school today? Immediately, He said, “yes.” I asked him if he had a calm body and safe hands, and he instantly got upset. He leaned his body back out of my arms, and tried to fall to the ground. When I moved my body to the floor, I asked him again, “did you have a calm body and safe hands?” And he with that, he kicked me. I looked at him and neutrally said, “go take a minute on your bed.” and I pointed in the direction of where his bedroom is. Willy ran there crying and as I shut his bedroom door, I reread the email from his teacher.
I was, and still am shocked, but I shouldn’t be, because thats how my boy rolls sometimes. He has a hard time controlling his body when he’s angry. When he was calm, I asked him what was wrong? And he said in “Willy-nese,” “awefoiknol wnnikwei-[s efnboiw eiwrpojwe!
He must have been really pissed if he could even find the words or the right approximations of the words that he was looking for! So, I asked him to show me what a calm body looks like. He immediately put his hands on his thighs. Then I asked him to show what safe hands look like, and he folded his hands on my lap. Then I asked him to show me “gentle.” And he rubbed my arm gently with his right hand. I smiled at him because, he knew what the right thing to do was.
But I was still perplexed by what the heck happened at school today, so I asked him if he was being a nice friend, ad he said “no.” And , I asked him if used his best listening ears today, and he said “no.”
I think I’m gong to chalk up his day to just being an all around bad day today. I think he’s entitled to bad day every now and then, but his bad days are growing in numbers. And just to let you know, time-outs don’t work with him. We used to do them with him when Willy was two, and they worked, but when he turned four, he used to get SO mad that he would turn into the Incredible Hulk and trash his time-out area and throw the chair. Clearly going to time-out was just making him more angry, and it just didn’t seem to work for him. So, my husband and I tried “giving him a minute” on his bed. When he would do something that warranted a time-out, me or my husband would very calmly and neutrally say “go take a minute on your bed” and we would point to his bedroom. He would go on his own, slam the door, cry for a minute or two, and then come out when he was ready.
We gave ourselves mad props for that one, because it worked, and Willy was always calmer as a result. Go us!
But what I think a lot of parents need to realize, is that not all “punishments fit the crime,” and that not all kids can handle a time-out the Super Nanny way. Every kid is different, and the meaning behind a time out is to encourage your child to reflect about what they’ve done in a safe and neutral way. Finding what works for you will take some time, and asking other parents what they do might not be such a bad idea. But in the mean time, I took Willy’s ipad away for the rest of the day and did not allow the tv to be on in the afternoon. I think he got the jist of me not fooling around, because he kept asking for the iPad, and I either ignored the request, or told him to go play.
And he did.
I got several “I’m sorry’s” this afternoon from him, and I’m glad that he knows that I mean business when it comes to the roles in our household, but what I’d really like to do is for Willy to apologize to his friends and teacher tomorrow on his own. Maybe he will and maybe he won’t, but tomorrow is a new day; a fresh start. And being “hump day” everyone is going to have a great day, right? RIGHT??????????