Last week I wrote about Number 3, and how he was having some issues in school with his behavior.
Then I wrote about the post-it plan we put him on. The PIP.
How that first day he got an 8 and was upset but then got his act together.
He’s gotten a 10 every day since then.
I’m very proud of him.
But the behavior at home isn’t the same.
I think I have said (or yelled),
“YOU WOULD NEVER SPEAK TO YOUR TEACHER THAT WAY!!!”
about 50 times this past week.
This morning Number 3 was really disrespectful to me.
I pretty much lost it and sent him to his room.
I told him that when he got home from school he was going directly upstairs, and he was going to be there for the rest of the day.
And today it’s early dismissal, and Friday, so it would be a long, sucky afternoon in solitary confinement.
But then I thought about it.
I know that he responds much better to rewards and praise, as do most people, than punishment after punishment after punishment.
And locking him in his room is not going to help him to change his behavior.
Yes, he’s eight.
Yes, he should be respectful to me.
But he’s not.
For whatever reason.
And now it’s become a habit.
It’s not going to change in an afternoon…
I used to see this therapist.
She compared people to houses.
How sometimes the wiring in a house is messed up.
It needs to be fixed.
But it doesn’t mean the house is no good, or beyond repair.
The extent to which the wiring is damaged determines the amount of time and energy needed to fix it.
It may not be easy.
But it’s fixable.
Just as the wiring in your brain is.
I had over 35 years of some messed up wiring in my head when I started seeing this therapist.
It took a lot of work to straighten it out.
Lots, and lots,
And it’s still not totally fixed.
I will always have to practice.
The wiring in a house has to be maintained.
Number 3 needs a little bit of rewiring.
He needs practice.
An afternoon alone in his room will not give him the opportunity to practice and begin the process of rewiring his brain.
So, I talked to him on the way to school.
I told him that I had thought about it, that I was concerned about the level of disrespect he was showing me, my husband, and, at times, his brothers and sisters.
I told him he needed help practicing how to speak to people with kindness and respect.
I made a very simple behavior chart.
I told him I would give him a sticker every time he did one of the things on the chart.
He’s got 2 things to work on: following directions (at the first request) and speaking respectfully.
I explained to him that he needed to get 40 stickers to earn the privilege of going to swim practice tonight and his baseball game tomorrow. It may seem like a lot, but there are many, many opportunities to speak respectfully and follow directions in this house.
Plus, I wanted to set the bar high. I wanted him to know that he was going to have to be conscious of his every move and word.
Number 4 was listening to this conversation in the car.
You know what she asked?
“Mommy? If Number 3 says something nice to me, can I tell you so he can get a sticker?”
Wouldn’t that be a nice side effect of this?
Brothers and sisters pointing out when they are doing something nice for each other?
You know, instead of the constant,
MOM! He’s touching me.
MOM! He won’t stop looking at me.
MOM! She won’t stop singing.
MOM! She’s annoying me.
I told Number 4 I thought that would be really, really awesome.
And that’s when Number 3 said,
“But Mommy… will you notice when I do the good things?
Because usually you don’t.”
Insert knife into heart.
But he’s right.
Like I said,
It takes a while to fix.
And we don’t need to tell Number 3 this, but this chart may help me more than it helps him.
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