Emily Wyckoff

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!


7 Responses to “Take notes from your kids’ teachers when it comes to discipline”

  1. Melinda says:

    I am absolutlely touched by your post! I am a 2nd grade teacher and hope that I can help my families, not just my students, learn from being part of my classroom. I hope you made sure Miss Gardon knows this post is out there on the internet for all to see!

  2. james says:

    Time for a spanking if you would of asked for my advice….

  3. Dawn says:

    but you know what James? She didn’t. As mothers we get enough unsolicited advice. I’m sure we’d all appreciate it if you would keep it to yourself next time.

  4. Tara says:

    I really enjoyed this post! Kids, especially young ones,are so comical! That apology note was a great idea and I will definately be using it!! I love how he said “I wish this day never was!!” Hilarious!!!

  5. Valerie says:

    I love Dawn’s response to James!!! Fantastic!!!

    And great advice on writing the note! I, too, have a 7 year old that is throwing horrendous fits that I havent see in years. I’ve tried spanking and it hasn’t worked one bit. I started writing on a paper “I am angry because _____. I am acting this way: _______. I should act this way: ______” And it has helped tons!!!!! You can really see the way he’s thinking and what’s going through his head. And that he WANTS to be good (even if he says he doesn’t want to at the time lol).

    Good luck!!!!!

  6. Mich823 says:

    I may be alittle late in reading this but I loved your story and way of handling your son. My sons are now 20 & 22 and both were handfuls during their school years. As a single mom, it killed me sometimes to stick to my rules…it would have been so easy to give in. There were several times when my youngest would be grounded while his other friends went unpunished for the same action. I remember well sitting next to my son’s best friend while my son graduated…the other boy had dropped out. My son later thanked me for sticking to my rules and not giving in (or giving up) with him. Both sons are now in college together…I never thought it would have happened. Hang in there moms…it’s so worth it!!

  7. Plan B Mom says:

    @Mich823: Thanks for your feedback – hope my “toughlove” works as well for my kids as it did for yours. Happy New Year.

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