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Take notes from your kids’ teachers when it comes to discipline

My 7 year old son is practically a model child at school. He is considerate to others, helpful to the teachers, raises his hand, eager to please, the accolades from the teachers go on. He loves school and recently told me he wished he went to school 7 days a week. My 7 year old son is not, however, a model child at home, especially of late. He fights with his sisters, throws tantrums that I haven’t seen since he was two, he doesn’t listen to me, he talks back to his father. How can this be the same child? Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde has entered the scene.

When he misbehaves at home I will often ask him “Would you talk to Miss Gardon like this?” or “What would Miss Gardon say if she saw you acting like this?” and he usually snaps to attention, or starts crying. The other day, he had his worst behavior in a long time and I actually thought to myself, “What would Miss Gardon do?” To back up, earlier in the week his teacher emailed me to tell me that a boy in his class had hit my son when my son was trying to help him on the computer. My son was upset, and the boy had to write him a note of apology. Split screen to my son’s own bad behavior a few days later.

My son and daughter were at a neighbor’s house to play and when they returned, my daughter (who is ten), pulled me aside and said he was absolutely terrible at the neighbors. He talked back to the mom. He didn’t listen to her when she said no, he couldn’t have any Halloween candy (that darn Halloween candy). He didn’t play well with the other kids. He had to be spoken to by the parents, and told he would have to go home if his behavior didn’t improve. Yikes. My husband and I were on our way out and planned to have a talk with our son in the morning, but I couldn’t resist asking him “How did it go at the neighbors?” “Good,” he sang out. Oh really.

The next morning we sat down for a chat in our living room (oh, so reminiscent of the “chats” my parents had with me – seems like yesterday – I can’t believe I am now in the driver’s seat). We again asked him about the play date. He still had amnesia/denial and said all was fine. When we told him the information his sister had relayed to us, the floodgates opened, there was no insistence of innocence. We informed him the consequences of his behaviour: no play dates for a few days, and he had to write a note of apology to our neighbor, and hand-deliver it (thank you Miss Gardon).

You would have thought the world was ending. He cried, screamed, and threw himself around for an hour and a half. It was extremely entertaining – he has a future in Hollywood. Some of his cries included “I will never write this note!” “I hate my life” “I wish this day never was!” “Mom, hug me!” This was my favorite, as he was exiled to his room until he came down with the note. He is the youngest, and he can’t stand to be alone. My husband and I were holding back our laughter, it was so over the top. But we were pretty sure he would remember this episode.

He did, of course, eventually write the note, and you could feel his pain. My son is all about bright colors, bold shapes. His penmanship is perfect. This letter was in teeny-tiny chicken scratch in pencil. However, we made our point. Thank you Miss Gardon!

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