Saturday, November 8, 2014

Bad Week!

I have a few pictures of activities to post, but decided to share honestly how the days since the wedding have been instead. I know there are people who think blogs should be all happy and sunny. Well, that's not this blog this time, so if you're looking for something happy, go elsewhere. If you are looking for the real deal "this is the reality of adopted kids" with a lot of details withheld to protect the not-so-innocent, read on.

After the wedding and after the guests left, it got quiet around here. And we've had some not so good behaviors. In fact, lately they've been pretty horrible. There hasn't been enough room to write everything in the planners! For one child, this has been the way it's been most of the year, not so much for the other.

Here's one example. This happened right before the wedding. K comes to me and says a girl in her (4th grade) class in having "girl problems." I ask her what kind. She didn't know. So I decide to turn this into a teachable moment because you moms know you can't wait until they are 12 anymore. I explain a little, and she is looking at me like I'm making it all up. So I give her "The Body Book." I explain that the pictures aren't to be laughed at, they are to help her understand. And that because it is a personal matter, the book is to stay in her room, and she is free to ask me about any of it.

The next day she sneaks the book out and starts showing it around on the bus. When they arrive at school, she gets off the bus chasing girls trying to make them look at pictures of pubic hair. (The book covers every part of puberty for girls 9-13 or so and has detailed drawings of how to insert a tampon). Why they didn't take the book and call us right then I don't know. I guess they told her to put it back in her bag and take it home. But she LOVES shock value. So it went to lunch with her. She got caught and tried to tell them she'd brought it to help the girl who said she was having girl problems. Yeah, they didn't believe that for a second either. So Rick went and got her and the book. They didn't suspend her, we decided the teacher had been through enough and it was almost time to go anyway. And we did have to personally pick up the book.
I let her know that I was very disappointed that instead of this being something that she and I could discuss together, she decided to make it ugly. She is the only child I know who can turn "The Body Book" into porn. 

She started out strong the first two weeks of school, but then reverted back to bullying--actually physically assaulting kids! I think something needs to be done, and I've said that. If it was my child being hit, I'd certainly want something done.
 She did finally get sent to the office one day when the teacher had had enough. But then the next day she was right back at it. And the teacher had to e-mail because there wasn't enough room in the planner to list it all!!

She's also been very manipulative and coerces food from kids. She tells them she won't be their friend if they don't give her their snack, candy from treasure box etc. Thing is, who would want someone for a friend who threatens them? That's what I don't understand. Why don't they just tell her no and report it? Are they afraid of being physically hurt? She had such a bad week last week she had to leave before the Halloween party on Friday.

I have seen her be nice, so I know she can be nice and that she understands the difference. I don't know if being nice isn't getting her the attention and shock value she craves or what. She swings both ways here at home. Today she was very cooperative in doing a few jobs around the yard so got some privileges in return. But other times this past week she has just glared at us. I try to give her a new start everyday, but that doesn't always happen because of the severity of the meanness and rudeness at school. And because I'm human, and it annoys me when I try to do something special with her and then she turn around and acts out at school.

The thing is, the other twin was doing really well until this week. He didn't start acting out right after everyone left. There was a week's gap. Then I guess math started getting hard so he just started talking, walking around, distracting people etc.  It has spiraled down the last four days. He has started acting like he doesn't know how to do stuff he's known how to do for years. 

Don't know what's up with that, but his privileges got cut to match the behaviors. Like, since you can no longer remember how to do your after school job, I will have to help you. But that means you are not acting like a fourth grader anymore so will have to go back to an earlier bedtime. (And honestly, I need the break!!) Once he gets into trouble he'll go into super pout mode about it and make it ten times worse before it gets better. So we will see if he can turn this around. I hope so because there are only the three youngest at home now and it gets boring for Jasmine when the twins lose privileges, and she has no one to do stuff with.

I know we've just had a wedding and friends visit. And I know we are coming up on holidays. But they go through spells of this kind of behavior throughout the year. They have been cut back to activities where Rick or I can watch them. For example, they can go to gymnastics class because parents are allowed to watch through the window. But they cannot go to a birthday party because that's a drop off situation at their age. And I'm not in to setting through birthday parties anyway. The thing with The Body Book caused a serious lack of trust that is going to take a while to turn around.

So, that's how our week has truly been. 

How about you?

And how do you handle kids being manipulative and mean?

How long do you give a restriction or consequence for?


Emily said...

Maybe it's the change in the weather, but we have been in a very bad place with one of ours, too. She has gotten to the place where she has lost all privileges. She has to stay inside all the time. No friends over. No sports. No birthday parties. No sweets. Just basic life because of her extreme lying/stealing/defiant/mean/rude/disobedient behavior. It is so hard. Not fun. Not happy. I feel your pain.

Katie Tripp said...

My older son (3rd grade) is having some extreme anxiety, and we've started taking him to a psychiatrist. She is helping us, but one of the big things he's having a problem with is that his class is loud and he doesn't like that they are often out of control. She told me that in climates like ours, at this time of year there is a spike in extreme behaviors because it is the time of year when things start to get really nice out (even though it is fall/winter weather, it's finally time that we can go outside and play). She says there is a rise in hormones. I don't know if that might be part of it, and it certainly doesn't excuse any behaviors, but maybe just knowing that it's not just you could help. I hope they settle down soon for you.

schnitzelbank said...

I think it's important to start each day fresh and anew. Are you sure the teacher isn't holding grudges? I'm a teacher and I don't like how she's writing in the child's planner. It seems like shaming.

Kathy C. said...

Thank you for your comments.
THe purpose of the planner is to keep in touch and I've asked her to let me know if there are incidents at school so we can reinforce her efforts at home. She is quick to put a big smile across the day when it's a good day. Only Kayla, the teacher and I see the planner. And for the sake of her privacy, I did not post ones that have more private matters written on them.

But I understand your concern. I am more likely to not give her a new start than the teacher because when I was, she took advantage of it to be horrible and then get up the next morning and get right in my face to tell me she had her privileges back. A new start and privileges restored are no longer the same thing here.

schnitzelbank said...

I'm concerned the sad faces can be very powerful for kids. "I can make teacher unhappy," is an awfully empowering thing, in a bad way. It's also this, "I'm a bad kid, look how sad I make others feel."
As a teacher, when I am called to write a note, it's private to the parent, and it's only a reporting of the facts. No emotion. Maybe try to keep it private between you and teacher (email?), and see what effect that has.

I have neuro typical kids, and even in my case, fresh start also does not equal restoration of privileges. Very important point!

Kathy C. said...

Do you use smiles and then leave it blank if they don't get a smile?

Kaleb's teacher does a tally system--red tally marks for bad and blue for good. For him, he likes seeing the blue marks.

schnitzelbank said...

I don't summarize behavior with doodles. I use words to describe what I observed.

kayder1996 said...

Well giving her the book back was certainly not a bright idea...any "contraband" in my room always stays with me until school is out and in this case, since the bus was involved, I would have made parents come in to get it. (Child phones home to explain why.) That said, I'm not a huge proponent of school behavior being consequenced at home. Often it's too far in between school and home and often there isn't a lot of connection between the behavior at school and whatever the consequence is at home. Reinforce by talking with the child, communicate with the teacher and make sure your child knows that communication is happening, repair a relationship at home (ie write an apology note to the teacher at home) but in terms of other consequences, the child has already received consequences at school and double consequences seems more like punishment than an opportunity for teaching. (My kids have never been in trouble at school though.) With other stuff, I always struggle with how long to enforce a consequence. Like is a whole week with no tv being too tough? One thing I've been learning a lot about is anxiety because of what's going on with Conleigh and I was surprised to learn that anxiety can cause impulsivity. (Same part of the brain controls both functions.)

Kathy C. said...

Kayla--if they actually do something about the behavior at school, then I don't at home. But mostly they tell the parents and ask them to deal with it. Most of the FL schools are like that. NOthing happened to her for chasing the girls with the Body Book. What happened from me was that she takes her stuff in a large see-through bag to school now. She also does not get that book back to read on her own.

:)De said...

I was the parent of "that kid". The kid that other parents told their kids to stay away from, the kid that was rarely invited to parties. the kid that teachers tried to trade off when they did not know I was around the corner in the hall. I agree with the idea of "fresh starts" and positive feedback, but the reality for me was, IT.WAS.EVERYDAY!!! And regardless of how patient you are or how much parenting grace you start out with, the daily grind can wear the toughest down. The dynamics of the house is changed, the same trauma that damaged our children has now affected other family members. PTSD is real! Everyone has great ideas here... and I bet many of them have been tried.

kayder1996 said...

Kathy-That's terrible...what is wrong with the schools there? (Said sort of in jest but sort of seriously. Between their FCAT pass or fail system and this whole behavior bit, I don't get it.)

Kathy C. said...

I know Kayla, but nobody ever asks my opinion :) Really, behavior wise they don't want to hurt any of the kids' feelings or stifle creativity or risk a law suit so little is done.

FCAT has been replaced by a much, much, much worse test to "reflect common core teaching." Instead of multiple guess, there are now short essay questions. I predict a whole lot of failure coming on!