The other day, my husband and I were doing a little shopping, without my son Ethan (he was at grammy's). We bought food and drinks, and we had it in our budget to start our Christmas shopping. We decided to get one toy, when we walked past the book section. I decided I was going to get him "The Dangerous Book for Boys", because I had been putting it off for a few years. I frantically grabbed my intended book, and right next to it, was a book titled, "Stick Up For Yourself! Every Kid's Guide to Personal Power and Positive Self-Esteem," by Gershen Kaufman, PhD., Lev Raphael, PhD., and Pamela Espeland. Over the summer I've noticed the way my son acts around other kids. He's not usually mean, on purpose, but he can be a little bossy, and whiny, making him a target for the other kids to pick on him, and leave him out of things. He has the same trouble in school and a hard time following instructions.
I bought this book and opened it, and it is written so a child can understand it (not to mention the words "Personal Power" which my son loves), yet it is reccomended that kids share this book with their parents. We started right with the introduction, 3 days ago, and we've read it nightly. Tonight we couldn't get through the beginning of the first chapter, "How to get and use personal power". There are four parts:
1. Being responsible
2. Make Choices
3. Get to know yourself
4. Get and use power in your relationships, and life.
I wrote down the four parts on a white board and had my son copy them, like he was in school. It took him 15 minutes to copy these 4 things.
While he was writing, I made a weird screeching noise, out of the blue, for no reason, on purpose. Of course, he laughed. I reminded him about "responsibility" and how you show it is by how you can control your emotions at certain times. I did not scold him. I told him to stop laughing and get back to work. He said, "You distracted me." I gave him an example of another child in class distracting him, and by "choosing" to react to the other child's insubordinance, will only get him in trouble. I also told him that blaming the other child for your reaction is not taking "responsibility" for yourself.
We tried to continue, but he kept laughing (to be honest I was holding back laughter pretty well). So I "sent" him to finish copying his work "in the hallway." Remember, it's a school setting. He continued to laugh, so I told him the lesson will have to continue tomorrow when he is ready to learn. He actually was kind of disappointed, but on the way up the stairs, he snickered again. I reminded him (seems that's all I do), that he HAS to control himself during school, otherwise he will be in trouble alot, kissed him goodnight, and he went to sleep.
Today we learned something new. I found a way to communicate with my son, while teaching him basic social skills that he has a hard time with. I will also learn how to gain more respect from him, from obtaining the information in that book. I think my son finally understands why he gets in trouble at school. One step at a time..I will stay current with this topic.
Day 2: Update
It began as a good morning, and contined into afternoon. Until I had to pry Ethan away from his friends so we could make our therapist appointment. He sees a therapist once a week to help improve his social behavior. I think it helps me more than it helps him. It's once a week that I get to talk with a licensed professional about what to do about Ethan!
I've had 2 psychologists in the past 3 years tell me 3 different things about Ethan. He is not on medication, because we are still not quite sure what his difference is. He doesn't actually qualify for any one condition, all the way through. We first thought ADHD, or ADD, but those children have learning problems, mine doesn't, other than when he don't want to do something, he will put it off until we are tired of waiting for it to get done. They gave him meds, but the meds seemed to make things worse, if not just weird. I took him off and changed doctors. This new doctor wont give him meds until we aren sure of his condition, if any. She, at first, thought it was Asperger's, and he does have some tendancies, but he IS capable of social interaction, he's just a little over sensitive about his feelings. His faults make it difficult for the school system (he's been in 2) to understand him, and his actions. He gets in trouble alot. I really liked his 2nd grade teacher, she was the only one who was on his side in that school, and she will be on maternity leave in the beginning of the year, not to mention, Ethan will have a different teacher. Actually, don't get me wrong, he's the best kid I've ever known. I'm not just saying that because I'm his mother either! He's very insightful, inquisitive, imaginative, he's me but a boy and smaller (maybe THAT's where the bias is). He's very bright, in fact, I have to change discipline routine constantly because he catches on and finds loopholes somehow. I know, I'm the loophole! But that's why we are both learning to "Stick up For Ourselves," so we can learn how to live in sync.
Today's lesson was great. We sat in the playroom, Ethan and my dd, Mamie, on the floor, and I in the rocking chair, reading our "lesson". Today we learned about responsibility and our actions. We learned that we are responsible for the kind of person we are, how we live our lives, and our own behavior or feelings. I had Ethan write 4 sentences giving examples of the four parts of Personal Power (PP) earlier today while I was in the shower, and I had him draw me a picture to put on the fridge (about whatever he wanted). Tonight's lesson there was no writing, only discussion.
We were having a little foot war while I was reading. Where 2 people put there feet together and push against the other's foot. He asked me at one point, " Mumma, if you would've finished college, would you have been a teacher?" I said yes. He said, "you would make a good teacher, and mumma, You could be my teacher and we can have a foot war, too, in class!"
It was so cute! I'm trying to look into home schooling for him, because he seems to be responding to me, and there's no other kids to worry about if Ethan is distracting them. It is so expensive, and we cannot afford it right now. I am convinced HE is one of the kids that will do really good at it. I know my son can be difficult, and wrong at times, but it just makes it worse to know that the kids in public or private schools, are much worse and are mean as hell. That makes it hard for Ethan to make friends. He really is a typical kid, just with a different outlook.
Well, as you can see, we've skipped a few days because as of now in the book, we are discussing feelings. And well, we skipped over a few days due to school and what not. We have been having alot of good days because of this and the first week of school went extremely well. Today was not so good, but I think it was because we had such a busy day scheduled, and none of it included playing with Ethan's friends. I just explained that everyday can't be a playdate, though.
Still as we learn about feelings, we seem to grow as a team. He seems genuinly in tune with everyday life right now, and I am happy. We have another week of school to get through, and I will keep posted.