Saturday, June 4, 2011

Mother of the Year

If after reading this post you don't want your kid to come over to our house to play anymore... I understand. But only if it's because you don't want your child around me. If it is because you don't want your child around Connor-- it's your loss. I'd go down swinging before I'd let his name be dragged through the mud. Connor has a heart of gold and is a good kid. He just has a troubled mother is all! :)

Let's establish this first. Connor is a big believer in abiding by rules... following them... keeping the commandments... and all that jazz. That's not a bad thing. But so much so, that if he weren't Mormon, I might think he would grow up to be some traveling Evangelical Preacher standing on roof tops and crying everyone to repentance if they don't change their ways. Okay, he still might? He doesn't like to mess up... and I can promise you that when he knows he made a mistake... NO ONE can punish him more than he does himself. It's quite worrisome for us at times, actually.

So, let's start at the beginning. All year there has been a particular child in Connor's class who has persistently teased and tormented Connor. He tells Connor he has a big head, he looks weird, he has too many freckles, he doesn't like his red hair, makes fun of his stuttering, the list goes on. He tackles him at recess during soccer or football games when Connor does not even have the ball. He teases him for playing with other kids. He throws things at Connor in the class room. He tears up his homework into a million pieces on the bus. If you ask me, he just wants Connor's attention and to be Connor's friend... and doesn't know how to go about it. But that does not give him the right to treat my son the way he does. I thought about going to the school about it... but I did not think it was bad enough to be considered "bullying". I'm still not sure it is? One second it seems like they were friends... the next Connor is crying his eyes out over something this kid did to him.

Connor has come to me many times over the year with these issues. To which often lead to the following conversation: (Here's where my fabulous parenting skills kick in!)

Me: "So then tell the teacher!"

Connor: "I do! But the teachers always just say, "Are you bleeding? Then don't tattle."

Me: (Sympathetically understanding this concept because my three kids tattle non stop on each other and it drives me crazy... I couldn't imagine having 20 kids tattling on each other all day, every day.) "Well, then turn around and punch him!!"

Connor: "But you always say I am not supposed to fight! I'll get in trouble."

Me: "Sometimes a kid like that needs to be hit. Better make sure it is hard the first time. You hit him once and he probably won't ever bug you again."

Yes, I truly had this conversation with my son... and here's where it gets better... not just once, but I probably had this talk at least three times over the course of this last school year.

Well, it looks like he may have taken me up on my advice!

I get a phone call from the Assistant Principle saying he has Connor in In-School-Suspension for fighting. And he will be in there for three days. I was in shock. MY Connor? He did not tell me the name of the other kid... but he did not need to. I immediately knew who it was.

Here's how it reportedly went down:

The kids were playing a game of "Cops and Robbers" on recess. This "kid" (to protect the guilty, I won't say his name) wanted to play. The other kids and Connor did not want said kid to play because he "doesn't play by the rules" (according to the teacher) "cheats" according to Connor. But Kid jumped into the game and started to play anyway. Connor told him to leave. Kid kept playing. Connor got mad... and pushed Kid. Kid pushed Connor back, jumped on his back and bit him on the shoulder. While Kid was still on Connor's back... Connor elbowed him in the stomach. That is when the fight got broken up.

According to Connor, this was Kid's THIRD ISS for fighting at school. Obviously, this is Connor's first. They both got the same punishment. Turns out the school has some lame "Zero Tolerance" rule for fighting. Okay, I AM joking! :) But I don't think they should have gotten the same punishment. Personally, I think Connor's biggest mistake was thinking that he could boss this kid around and decide who could and could not play the game.

Connor did tell me that his teacher (who was not on recess duty that day) did go to the office and try to claim in Connor's behalf it was "self defense" even though she did not see it. Which makes me feel better that without seeing it she felt she could claim this. It makes me feel that she was probably aware of the situation between the two boys and knows how both of them act for better or worse.

So as soon as I got that phone call... the guilt set in. I felt like I should be serving that ISS! Connor was hysterical and uncontrollably sobbing... for about three days straight saying that he was a horrible person and all sorts of personal torment.

I talked to Connor and told him it was wrong to try to tell other people what to do. That he doesn't get to decide things like that and should have found another way to control his temper... that in spite of my best advice, it is in fact wrong to get physical when things don't go our way. He understands this. I then told him I was to blame too because I should have gone to the school a long time ago and made others aware of what was going on... so that it was at least "reported". The next day I did go in and have a one on one with Assistant Principle and explained the same to him, that there have been issues between the two boys all year, but that I supported Connor's punishment and asked that the two boys NOT be in the same classroom next year.

Side note: Connor told me later that in ISS they told him that if they fought in Middle School... they wouldn't go to ISS, but that they would go to jail! They were asked if that was were they wanted to go and showed them pictures. I found this a bit funny. I guess their scare tactics worked... he's totally freaked over it! :)

As part of Connor's ISS he had to write a Speech about fighting and present it to the Kindergartners. He was mortified!!! He did not want to do this. But he wrote a honest and sincere speech during his lunch and recess time and presented it to those kids. He did such a good job he was asked to give it to the first graders too (if he wanted to). To which Connor kindly bowed out. :) (He has a buddy in first grade and was terrified he'd find out!)

I fully plan on posting the speech when I get a chance. It is pretty cute. :)

Overall, I would say this was a good learning experience for the both of us! Take my advice... Don't tell your kids to punch other kids. It just may come back to bite you in the butt!