Well…. It finally happened!! The moment every mother dreads, and most face with a thin mask of denial. Arriving to pick my son up from school today, I got called into the classroom to “talk” with the teacher….
Don’t get me wrong I have had conversations with my sons teacher before, on a regular basis actually, but these were usually during a pre-planned parent/teacher interview, or initiated by me regarding a concern or question I had about my son, or the happenings at school.
But today, as I stood outside in the snow long after the bell had rung and all the other children had fled the grounds, the doors to the school opened and there stood my sons teacher “Mrs. S”. Mrs. S is a nice woman, she has a warm smile and concerning eyes, she is a pleasant, well spoken woman, who seems to have a genuine interest in the children she teaches.
C is in 1st grade and has faced some difficulties with bigger, more aggressive children throughout the early part of the year. When my concerns we brought to the attention of Mrs.S she acted immediately and with success. She seemed to know exactly what needed to be done and managed it without any awkwardness. I happen to like her a lot. But today, as the door opened and I saw her standing with my son, who was clearly distraught, my heart hit the ground.
At that moment you are bombarded with a million different emotions at once. First I thought ” I am going to kill the little bastard that has hurt my son.” then I thought “OH-MI-GOD the authorities have finally discovered that I have no idea what I am doing as a parent and are coming to take him away.” and lastly, as I slowly walked through the doors to accept whatever fate may await me on the other side I felt like I was a child again myself, being sent to the principles office to explain my actions, lack of sense, or outright disobedience. I felt a flutter in my heart that I had long forgotten, that feeling of impending doom that only a disappointed teacher or parent can invoke…
Well, it turns out that feeling of impending doom was not being felt by me alone, my sons tears were due to the fact that he knew what I was about to hear would cause me to be the disappointed parent…
Once inside the confines of the school entrance all hell broke loose.
My son, apparently aware that his ass was officially grass when I heard what his teacher was about to say, burst into hysterics. Unfathomable, complex, and obscure screams flowed from my sons mouth as he tried to defend himself before his trial had even begun. My jaw must have been obviously gaping, because before I could even speak (to tell this little brat child who had clearly overtaken my son’s mind to shut-up) Mrs.S spoke up and said C, you need to take a minute and calm down before you try to talk.
This wonderfully gentle woman then proceeded to inform me that my handsome little angel was in BIG trouble….
My eyes wide, and jaw still inches from the ground I listened as Mrs. S explained that during class today it was discovered that my son and another child (known to be a “problem” child) had decided it would be humorous to write “bad words” on their art projects. When the teacher in charge at the time, we’ll call her Mrs. X saw the ‘profanity’ (for those of you who are wondering the offending word was PEE.. not an overly bad word in my book, but in the context and manner it was used in this case it passes for profanity. Not a school appropriate word, and C is aware of that fact!) she told them that she would be speaking to their classroom teacher regarding the inappropriate language, which of course she did….
Oh, it gets worse, trust me….
Upon hearing this news my oh-so-clever son decided that he would dispose of the evidence (using an eraser) and opted denial as his choice defence. If you have ever seen a 7 year-old try to erase something using the eraser on the end of a pencil (or any eraser for that matter) you will know that there is always a fairly obvious amount of evidence left over, no matter how hard they rub the page.
But of course, children don’t know that adults are intelligent creatures, and so my little
devil angel looked Mrs.S straight in the eyes and said, “I didn’t write anything on my artwork. Mrs X must be lying!”
OH YEAH… You read that right… my son lied and tried to say the TEACHER was lying!!!!
No, no, wait…. yep you bet ya, it got even worse!
Once showing C (who at this point is probably considering himself near genius) that there are in fact traces of evidence that prove differently from what he is claiming, my angry, overzealous son burst out with, “Well, I HATE THIS SCHOOL… AND I DON’T CARE, IT DOESN’T MATTER ANYWAY, I AM MOVING AND THEN I’M NEVER COMING BACK HERE AGAIN”
Yeah, but this point in the conversation C is sobbing uncontrollably, shaking all over and is just generally PISSED OFF!!! His defence by this time????
“D (the ‘problem child’) made me do it!”
Ummmm… people can’t make you do anything C! You have your own mind, and, last time I checked, you certainly had your own set of hands, so I am pretty sure that D did not take your hand (complete with pencil entwined) and force you to write this profanity on your paper! Right???
C’s response??? More tears, some foot stomping, and a whole lot of temper!!! I am almost positive that smoke must have escaped my ears as I stared at this child I did not recognize who was throwing a temper tantrum like a two year-old in front of his teacher, in public, for no good reason!!
Trying to remain calm I assured his teacher that there would be a long, in-depth discussion about this issue on the way home, and ‘gently’ gripping my sons arm I quietly escorted him from the building….
You have to understand, for some parents this situation might seem mild, almost laughable, but despite my humorous approach now, I was livid! C has never thrown a temper tantrum, never acted out in a way that brought attention to himself in public. He has never embarrassed me, caused a scene, or caused other parents to stare in horror in the middle of Walmart as parents do when a little brat decides to scream, yell, and throw themselves on the floor. I was blessed. In fact I have often bragged to people about how lucky I am to have such a sweet, sensitive, and understanding little boy. So for me, this was shocking!!!
During the walk home I could barely speak for fear of what would come out of my mouth. I spent a large amount of the walk controlling my emotions enough that I was able to refrain from grabbing this imposter and shaking him, begging him to tell me who he was, and what he had done with my little boy!! Once I was able to speak, I began the lecture…. My son looking at me through tear soaked eyes said “I know I am going to be grounded aren’t I?”
Grounded wasn’t the word! I explained to him how embarrassed I was, how angry I was, and most of all how disappointed I was. For the last while the bf and I have butted heads regarding my sons “sneaky” ways. My bf could apparently see things I couldn’t and through my denial I would always defend my son. I chalked these battles up to a different approach to parenting, but I now understand that my bf saw this coming. When I got home and recounted the situation to him through frustrated tears, and spurts of anger, there was no look of shock on his face, no gaping hole in place of his mouth, he simply listened to me and said “Well, now that you have caught it, it is time to start changing it before it gets worse.” Calm as a clam… just like that, I realised that my years of parenting my son and living by my “love is all we need” outlook on life, wasn’t working….
And so, all my sons brand new Christmas toys sit in a pile on my livingroom floor. He has lost use of his computer, x-box, T.V, and anything else I think of at a later date. He is confined to his room until further notice, and the only exception of the above is for the purpose of chores, amusing his sister, or eating his meals. He is to write apology letters to both teachers involved, and a letter about why lying is wrong. He is to think about what he did in the first place that was wrong, and the lie that he used to cover it up. He is in BIG trouble, and he knows it. I feel bad on some level, but the truth is, even if I have to keep him grounded until he is forty in order to make him realize that his behaviour today was unacceptable, and prevent him from becoming a very troubled youth later down the line, (it may seem a little extreme to think that one lie can lead to a life of crime, but I am not taking any chances) then so be it.
Lying children live miserable lives in my house…. lesson learned?
Possibly, But Probably Un-Related Articles
- Temper Tantrum Triggers Don’t Really Exist (jaysdad.com)
- Take Charge of Your Child’s Temper Tantrums (everydayhealth.com)
- What Makes The Best Parenting Books (jaysdad.com)
- The Independent View: Child detention – mind the Gap between rhetoric and reality (libdemvoice.org)