Monday, March 08, 2010

Sometimes parenting is tough

As I've talked about before, Sam has had some trouble focusing in school. He is...over-social.

OK...stop laughing now.

As I've talked about before, we have struggled with how to deal with this in an effective way. He gets all A's...generally A+' it's not that he can't do the work. It's that he talks and talks and talks (I WONDER where he gets it from).

I told you to stop laughing.

We have tried various systems of privileges/rewards/punishments that, quite simply, haven't worked. He is quite content to lose TV, computer, or videogames...he just plays with other toys or goes outside and digs holes in the dirt. He isn't bothered too much by losing special activities like soccer or Cub Scouts. He just finds something else to occupy his time. Try as we might, he just didn't seem to have what Dr. Phil calls, his valuable currency. That one thing that is worth something...worth shaping up for.

I'm happy to announce that, by pure luck, I think we found it. It's US! The kid doesn't want to miss out on ANY time with the rest of the family. So dealing with that currency...every time he doesn't get his work done at school he loses a half hour off his bedtime. I think he was actually at a 7:30pm bedtime when he finally realized we were serious and he WAS missing out (we're now back to 9:30 thanks to a full week of completed work last week). I can honestly say that I am relieved. And I only hesitantly put this out there....because you know, as is the nature with kids, it'll probably change next week.

In the interest of consistency necessary for good parenting (or so the experts say), we are still hanging on to the prior non-working systems as reinforcers of the idea that school is VERY important. Don't get your work done...lost TV, computer, videogames, soccer, baseball, Cub Scouts, etc. And the resulting fallout from that IS teaching lessons...but it is sometimes SO difficult to see through as the parent.

See, he'd lost Cub Scouts so often that he hadn't been to a meeting in long that they threatened to not renew his membership for next year. When his Den leader called about his membership lapsing, he snapped right to attention and has now earned back attendance at Cub Scouts for the last two weeks in a row. BUT...during his absence, he missed the sign-ups for the pinewood derby (that was held Saturday).

He cried.

I told him he had made the choices that led to had all been up to him and he had done it all himself. Besides, there wasn't anything I could do about it even if I wanted to. He stopped crying and went on with his day.

And then I cried.

I KNOW it's a lesson he needs to learn about responsibility and blah, blah, blah. But I also know how much fun he had last year and how much fun he would have had this year.


Hopefully next year will be better.

*fingers crossed*


Kellie said...

At the risk of sounding assvicey here - if I could do things over, I would never have used cub scouts (or boy scouts) as a punishment. The lessons learned there, the morals, the values, the friendships etc., are more important in the end. It's not the same socialization they get in school - it's different, and you may not realize it until your looking back, like me, in 15 years. You only have such a short window of opportunity where they actually want to participate in those types of extra curricular things - and once they past that point, you can't get it back.

Also - fwiw, my son is an Eagle, his 4 best friends are also Eagles. The boys we saw not make Eagle are the ones that didn't stick with the program and lost interest years ago...they lost interest because they weren't religious about attendance and participation. The parents didn't make or encourage them to go. Maybe that means nothing to you, but someday that may mean something to Sam. It meant the world to Niko.

Parenting. Ugggh.

kate said...

argh. I was fighting with Chloe over her kindy homework the other day. And i just sent Alexander off to take the ACT saying 'this is an important test, don't fuck it up.' Probably not the most helpful comment.