Tuesday, January 8, 2013

More Information

As it turns out, Charles is himself exhibiting a few behavior problems at school.  I wasn’t told about this until I complained about the other kids hitting him and calling him names, which they totally do, but then the teacher told me that Charles has been acting out a bit.


And so.


I’m not sure I like the way it was brought up.  Like, was she implying that my son brings it on himself?  Apparently, he runs around the classroom like a madman on speed, refusing to sit down at the designated time and in the designated space for whatever activity is happening.  The kid with the behavior problems (the one whom Charles complains about) does hit Charles and throw things at him, but he is also, apparently, one of Charles’s best friends and Charles routinely tries to get this other kid to run around with him.  My boy is the instigator in these situations. 


I get it, you know.  Charles has more energy than ten monkeys drinking Mountain Dew, but I’m not sure how to curb this other than wearing him out the best I can.  We started the first of what will be many conversations and daily reminders to listen to the teachers and follow directions last night.  I’ll continue to talk to him about not using bad words, not hitting or hurting others, not running in school, and walking away to have a self-imposed time-out when he’s mad, but he’s like a pot boiling over.  Until I can remove the heat source, he’s just going to keep boiling.


It’s a bit tough to live in Washington right now.  Charles and his preschool class do not get to go outside.  When we go to Baby Boot Camp in the mall, Charles runs all over the place.  This morning, I sent him to run up and down the stairs three times, then slide down and bunny hop back up three times, then bear-crawl back and forth between my room and his three times, and on and on and on.  He jumps on the bed.  He asks, constantly, if Tony and I will chase him around the kitchen.  He wears me out long before he gets tired.


And, unfortunately, he’s started lying.  Well, he’s four years old, so he’s testing the boundaries and learning to lie, and that’s all normal, but it sucks, too.  When his teachers ask him to stop running or stop playing or stop yelling or stop throwing toys up to hit the ceiling, he tells them, “My mom said I could.”  Oh, brother.  So there’s another conversation we’ve been having regularly.  Do not tell lies.  I never said that.  Your teachers are in charge and it doesn’t matter what mom would say at home, when you are at school you do what they say.  He is chagrinned after these talks, but I’m not sure they stick in his head for very long afterward.  How much will we have to talk before we see a behavior change?


And so.


We’ve started swim lessons.  We’re going to do more roller skating in the garage.  Maybe we’ll visit Jungle Playland on Friday afternoons.  We’ll do gymnastics when swim lessons are finished.  Anything to burn off that energy so he’ll focus better on the teacher and following the rules.  He’s just so active.  And I realize that, with my work schedule becoming more demanding of late, and the holidays taking over our lives a bit, and the weather being dismal, I have not provided enough activity for him. 


The talks about right and wrong, following directions, and not lying and the addition of more physical activity are things I can do.  It feels good to take action, so I’m pinning my hopes on that.


And so.  For the second day in a row: Parenting.  Ugh.


Jennifer L. said...

I really admire your parenting plan for dealing with an excess of energy. James, my oldest is my troublemaker at school. (Side story: At work I had a patient tell me that James looks like a trouble-maker in his picture. Apparently everyone can spot that mischievous gleam in his eyes.) I, unfortunately, get fairly regular calls from schools about how James has managed to forget common sense. We've talked about proper behavior, set goals, bribed with rewards, used threats, had other adults discuss the situation with him, etc., but nothing seems to be the magical solution. His dad just writes it off as 'boys will be boys,' but shouldn't boys still be able to function acceptably in society even if they are very energetic? Anyhow, I think that is all a round-about way of saying that I have no idea how to help, but can definitely relate. Good luck!

Amelia said...

You know, Jennifer, I think part of it is modeling behavior - we are really relaxed at our house (not many rules about what one can and cannot do) and we do a lot of running in the house, jumping on the furniture, etc. We have a "no throwing things inside" rule, but not many others. Charles learned to ride his bike in our kitchen. So it's hard for him to go elsewhere and not be able to be rambunctious. All that energy to burn and I have to find an outlet and help him understand that there is a time and a place. So hard.

Jennifer L. said...

Wow, someone else who encourages running in the house?! I'm always peeved when we're somewhere else and a parent will chide their offspring for running indoors, climbing UP the slide, or being imaginative in other slightly offbeat ways. I'm a fair-weather runner and so, since we live in the land of constant rain, I've probably run more miles in my house than outside of it. As for throwing things indoors, if it will break things, then they have to throw it in their room, but as long as it's soft, go for it. After the older boys practically destroyed their bunk beds we had to add in some rules about jumping on the bed, but we do try to stay away from excessive rule since that entails excessive regulating.

My new conclusion is that there is nothing wrong with our active boys, but rather something wrong with our culture! Ha! (But yes, I still maintain that boys must learn to function within the rules of polite society.)

Julia said...

I'm sorry. Winter time is challenging, and parenting a very active four year old boy must be extra challenging. Wish I could give you some sage words of advice, but obviously I can't... (side note: it's too bad you didn't learn about some of this until after you brought it up to the teacher!). Good luck! Also - have you read Nurtureshock? There's an interesting chapter about lying, which might be helpful for how you deal with that...

Amelia said...

I LOVE Nurtureshock... Need to read it again. I think I loaned it to someone...