Sunday, January 17, 2010

Parenting Trauma

Last Wednesday was parent teacher conference with Caleb's kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Coburn, who I think is fantastic. She has over 30 years experience as a teacher and I feel like she knows classroom management and how to teach children as well as any other teacher he could have ever had. Anyway, she was very direct at the beginning of the conference that she is having trouble with Caleb. I went hoping she would have some solutions for me as he has become extremely non-compliant at home. Apparently she is having similar problems. He loves to wrestle, talk out of turn, and sometimes just refuses to participate. She is putting him on a behavior plan where she ranks him 1-5 after every activity and I am supposed to come up with rewards and consequences for when he brings his report home each day. (Problem number one, it is so hard to know what rewards and what consequences are best, and of course the big problem of consistency.)

Mrs. Coburn followed the extremely disturbing discussion on his behavior with a discussion on his academic progress. On his last DIBBELS test in two of the four categories, Letter Naming Fluency and Nonsense Word Fluency (which is a comprehensive skill of sounding out words that aren't words) he is above benchmark. On Initial Sounds Fluency he is somewhat behind, but nothing to worry about. The problem comes with the Phonemic Segmentation Fluency. He scored a 0. Which is a huge read flag, and indicates that he can't do it, but he must have refused to do it because when his teacher and I quizzed him on it he had no problem. When I ask him about school his response is, "I DON'T LIKE TO DO HARD THINGS." So how do I teach this stubborn five year old that we all HAVE TO do hard things. There is no choice.

Mrs. Coburn is suggesting that he should possibly start in a reading intervention group and then it will become easier for him. The thing that gives me heartburn (well everything gives me heartburn right now), but the thing that I am stressed about is that he is "proficient" on every single Language Arts skill required for kindergarten and he still has half of a school year left. Do I allow this behavior problem to be treated with an extra 30 minutes of school each day instead of going to lunch? (He would eat lunch at 12:30 when he gets home from school.) I have been sick about how to parent this child. He is so strong willed and stubborn. I just thought I would share some of my parenting dilemmas and see if you have any ideas.


Karlenn said...

Oh, Care, I'm so sorry. That is a tough, tough situation. I like Caleb's teacher's idea about him bringing his behavior report home every day, and you either rewarding him or punishing him daily. I had to do that with several of my eighth-grade students (crazy how 8th graders and five-year-olds are the same behaviorally). You just have to determine what works more effectively for Caleb - rewards or punishments. Dylan was struggling last year behaviorally; we would ground him, ground him, ground him, and it didn't do much. Then I did a reward chart - he loves this place that's like Chuck E. Cheese's here. I made a chart that looks like a pizza. For every day that he had a "good stamp" on his daily thingey, he got to color one piece of pepperoni. I made 30 pepperonis on his pizza. After we went to Chuck E. Cheese's as his reward, the behavior problems had stopped, and we didn't even have to make another chart. Food for thought. Sorry for such a long comment. :) I, too, have an exuberant, stubborn oldest child who is a boy. I feel your pain. I also would put him in that 30-minute reading intervention program if I was you. Even if you don't think he truly needs it, maybe he will see that you and his teacher mean business.

Stephanie said...

This is from Cody:
As a boy who has had to go through classes like that, it is a punishment to postpone his lunch to go to this class. It would make him dislike it more and not want to do it even more. That in all my education classes is the number one thing: Don't make reading a punishment. That's what I think.

Dr. Mom said...

Here's one thought from another blog I follow...
Chronicles of a Babywise Mom: Parenting the Strong Willed Child

I've also thought about having a stoplight at home with a picture of Caleb starting each day on the green light, symbolizing GO. If there is some sort of incident, move him down to yellow, CAUTION - you better turn things around. And finally, if he misbehaves again, he lands on STOP - and then a timeout or whatever discipline you and Josh are implementing. Caleb could move up and down on the stoplight.

You may also consider reading (or listening to his CD) 1-2-3 Magic:Easy-To-Learn Parenting Solutions That Work by Dr. Thomas Phelan. Both are available at the Family Resource and Information Center. BTW - this is a great resource for our community. If you haven't stopped by, I highly recommend it. Baby Signing Time DVDs, Love & Logic DVDs and CDs, books, toys, puzzles, just fabulous things. And it's FREE! :) Good luck and keep me posted.

misty said...

Listen to your parent heart. You know deep down whether you want him in that class and it is up to you and Josh. I personally am thinking like Cody. I think the behavior issues will likely change with his age, but if you make something good like reading feel like a punishment, he may never recover from that. But then again, I really wanted to say, trust what YOU really feel. Good luck. What a struggle. My kids pretend they are angels at school and save all the nasty stuff just especially for me. You'll do the right thing, because you are an inspired and loving mother.