As you can see from my first post of this week “Learning to be Patient”, that sometimes as much as I love my boys and think they are pretty good kids, they still can get in trouble. We are going on 4 weeks of school and Aric has already gotten in trouble a few times. I know it will take time for him to adjust to a classroom setting, so the question lingers then “What should I do when my child get’s in trouble?” So here are a few things that I am trying to do as a parent.
1) Trust the Teacher over your child
I was raised by parents who lived by the principle to “Always trust the word of the teacher over your child”. The truth is 99% of the time this principle is true and your child has done wrong. The teacher isn’t out to get him! In today’s society parents want to believe their children are perfect angels incapable of doing wrong in the classroom and unable to lie to their parents. This is a lie that parents want to believe about their child to make themselves feel good about themselves and their choice to not discipline their children. When Aric gets a note sent home for getting in trouble, I never doubt the note, even if he says that it isn’t true. Is there times that your child shouldn’t have gotten in trouble? Sure about 1 in a millions times. Trust the Teacher.
2) Talk to your child
The first thing I do every day when picking up Aric from school is ask how his day was. I ask him if he got in trouble or if he was well behaved all day. If he says he got in trouble, then most of the way home we talk about why he got in trouble. Most of the time when I ask him why he got in trouble he will say, “I don’t know”. Don’t settle for that answer, the child really does know why he got in trouble, it will just take some work to uncover the reason. Many times I have to go through verbally asking each point of the day why and when he got in trouble. I have to ask things like: Did you get in trouble before lunch or after? Were other children doing the same thing? Did your teacher ask you to stop? Did it happen when the teacher was asking a question?. There are a lot of other questions that could be asked, but the important thing is, is to get to the bottom reason of what he did and why he did it.
After the questioning process is done, I try to take time to explain to him that the teacher is just like “mommy and daddy” and “we expect you to obey her like you obey us”. Then if it is appropriate when he gets home he gets disciplined for the wrong doing. On the way to school the next morning, I review with him what happened the day before and what we need to do to avoid getting in trouble again. I also instruct him to apologize to his teacher the first thing in the morning.
3) Tell the Teacher “Thank You”
One day when Aric came home with a yellow face (that is a negative mark in Kindergarten) it had a note that he was yelling and making loud noises. This was the second time he had gotten in trouble for the loud noises and I was curious as to what the loud noises were and why he was making them. In a non-offensive way I wrote a note to the teacher including a couple of questions and a thank-you at the end. Here is what I wrote:
Dear Mrs. ______ what can we do at home to help Aric behave better in your classroom? What type of noises is he making and when is he making them? Thank-you so much for the good work you are doing!
It may seem like just a trivial thing, but I am telling you when a teacher is told they are doing a good job it makes their day! I want to make the job of my children’s teachers easier not harder, so when I show appreciation for the discipline they give to my child, it lets them know I am not a parent they have to worry about jumping down their throat for punishing my child’s wrong doings.
What are some other good things you have found to do when your child has gotten in trouble?