Tuesday, March 4, 2014


You've all been there, right? You think your children are responding to consistent rules and discipline, you ease up a bit on them to allow them more privileges and kaboom. It starts spiraling downhill. Yep. At least half of you know exactly what I'm talking about.

So we've been using a day by day system where each child starts new each day on neutral. Depending on school behavior charts, attitudes and doing their homework and chores, they either stay on neutral or move down to restricted or up to extra privileges. At first it was going well. But then they realized they would start over each morning, so they begin acting out horribly each evening. So now we start the day wherever they end the night before.

Both have changed the color on their behavior charts at school so the teachers mark the color. Suddenly the planners are disappearing when they get home. One is telling us she can't do her homework at home because she forgot her pack at school, and then telling her teacher she can't turn it in because she left it at home.

I went in for a conference last week. It was not pretty. Kayla did not take advantage of the new start at a new school and has alienated all of her classmates by bullying, intimidation and manipulation. The teacher is a first year teacher, but she sees the manipulation. I was so relieved. The teacher was trying so hard to say everything in a positive way but was struggling to do so, and I said, "Just say it like it is. We see it at home. We love her, but we are realistic about the behaviors." So then the teacher shared a lot that has gone on. Like us, she wants to keep letting the child have a new start, but it doesn't work. You can't really do that with her  because she plays the system.

She seems to sabotage when you compliment her too. We've had big issues with her mutilating her hair, mostly after I put new beads in and tell her how nice she looks. She'll shave or cut part of it off. Last time the whole back was shaved, but the front was still long. So I braided it in box braids. She pulled them apart. I left it for awhile and then last weekend  I corn rowed across the front and it looked really nice. I wish I'd take a picture, because she cut patches out. So now she has no hair again. Her eyebrows have finally grown back from where she shaved them off. She knows she can have her  hair long or short, beads or no beads, so it's not about style. I think it's about me doing something for her and her needing to destroy it. Any thoughts on that?

Kaleb was doing really well to earn baseball. Once I signed him up, it start spiraling downward. More not doing his jobs at home than school behavior. For a while he has extra privileges and was getting to watch a movie after homework was done. But suddenly he's forgotten how to clean the yard. That's his one job for the day. Poop scoop from the dogs and pick up any trash that's in the yard.

Jasmine is doing well, but she has junk in her genetics (don't we all!) so she is monitored in counseling. School is very stressful for her. But she needs to be there. Band competition is coming up Saturday. She loves drums, but she is not playing them for this. All the percussion kids have to play all of the instruments, not just drums. So she plays bells, chimes, orchestra bells, xylophone, cymbals and so on. She is playing vibraphone for competition. I hope to be able to get a good video of it.

So that's my update for now. A lot of sabotage going on. And really, we as parents probably do the same thing but in our own adult way. We see something that looks good but are so convinced it won't or can't happen that we sabotage ourselves too.

No new photos since the last post. Hopefully there will be some from Saturday.


Emily said...

I have one who does sabotage, too. My littlest one. I don't think it's about destroying what I give her/do for her. I think in her case she realizes she has let Matt and me have control, and that scares her. So much abuse and improper adult use of power to intimidate and control her in her early life that she trusts no one but herself. It is getting better very slowly, but we have a looooooong way to go. I wish I had some ideas for you, but I just don't. So often I feel like I just let the consequences come down on her, and am left shaking my head, longing for her to just understand what life could be.

One Crowded House said...

I think just hang in there and communicate communicate communicate. All the teachers know our struggles and are in all of our business... I like it that way- so do they, because the kids then realize that we are all on the same "team" and the less they are able to get away with things- the safer they seem to feel. More restrictions and less choices makes them feel better rather than worse. They feel safe. They don't feel so overwhelmed with choices. Ask her if she wants to keep her hair short- and if she does- to let you have someone cut it for her so it isn't crooked. And then say it again- and again and again. Heaven knows it takes repetition before things sink in.

It is so hard. I joke about "helicopter parenting" and how that is the only way I can parent and keep my kids and their friends safe. They just aren't trustworthy a lot of the time. I trust that one day they will be.

Tracy said...

It's interesting how all our kids have something going on but they are all different at the same time. Avery never sabotage's. But she has impulse control issues with food and talking/behaving at school. Food issues are getting better though. Talking was rough last week but so far great this week. Just when I think we've rounded the corner, she goes backward ten steps. She also struggles to tell the truth if she's caught doing what she shouldn't...we are working on that but may seek a counselor soon if she doesn't improve. Hope this week gets better!

Felicia said...

Yes, I understand. I also think that the hair thing may be a control issue. I wonder if she would do the same if her hair was done by someone else. (Well, if she ever has enough to take her anywhere). It gets so frustrating when I feel like my kids are missing out on so much because they just aren't in the place to accept them.

Kathy C. said...

Thank you for your comments! Going crazy already today. Just little junk--1/4 cup peanut butter on a piece of toast, wet pull up hidden in a drawer of clean clothes, disappearing when it's time to clean up after breakfast and so on.

Tracy said...

We once found 30 wet pull-ups hidden under her dresser! And when we moved, we found two trash bags full of wrappers under her bed! Feel your pain on that one. Luckily, most the wrappers were from last Halloween and before, but still frustrating!