Wednesday, September 27, 2006

One step forward and two steps back. Sometimes life is exactly like that. Erin has started telling lies again, senseless pointless lies. She hid the wheels to her wheelies in her backpack and told me they were in her top drawer. She told me she was helping a friend look for something yesterday when the teacher kept her after class. The first lie came with a consequence of no t.v., computer, or video games for the day I just found out about the second lie this morning. I've talked with her about how telling lies affects our relationship. I've told her that trust is built and that each lie takes one of the blocks of trust away.
She's talking and drawing in class when she should be paying attention. Her backpack and desk are a mess. She's forgotten to hand in papers that were due two weeks ago even though I've reminded her every morning to hand them in.
I'm frustrated and afraid. What am I doing wrong? Is there something I'm not doing that I should be doing? I don't want to push her so hard she breaks, but she has to learn that she must scary part of the load. I can not go to school with her every day to make sure that everything is done as it should be and that she isn't talking and drawing in class.
This morning I talked to her about self confidence and how it doesn't mean that you think you are perfect, but rather you know your strengths and your weaknesses and feel good about who you are as a person. I told her that knowing you have a weakness is only half the battle. The other half is accommodating that weakness. If you know your desk tends to get messy then you should go to class a few minutes early one or two times a week to organize it. I'm not sure she has the self monitoring tools to do this, and if she doesn't have them where will she get them? I'm afraid that middle school next year is going to break her. She has to have a firm grasp on these basic skill now and my methods of teaching them don't seem to be working. HELP!


aola said...

do you think this "acting out" might stem from you Mom's recent visit? I'm sure that brings up all kinds of emotion in Erin that she doesn't know how to deal with.

My advice is just stand firm with her and don't let go.

Sandra said...

Yes, I'm sure that some of it is from my mom's visit. I also think the death of her friend is causing some of it.
She and I had a long talk about it last night. The biggest thing for us is the lieing. We told her that we are starting fresh from today. It's as if she hasn't ever told a lie and we can trust her 100%. It's her job to keep that trust. I let her know how much it hurts us when she lies. I think something finally clicked.
We won't give up or in. She's too important.

R said...

Praying for you Sandra. Pray for me.

Just so you know -- every kid I've ever known has gone through a lying spell.

Drawing in class -- is the teacher sure she's not paying attention when she's drawing? Some kids just need to have their hands busy to be able to sit still and focus. If the teacher objects to drawing and Erin needs to move something to listen, try a stress ball or tell her to move her toes inside her shoes.

Handing in papers -- gosh, I can't tell you how many kids struggle with this, but it's the parents who seemed to really suffer over it. Just remember that it is her responsibility. I had one poor mother who went through her high schoolers backpack every day. He never learned how to do it himself. She would get so upset each time she found a completed paper that never made it the teacher's hands, but it never affected the kid. You are not the one who is forgetting to hand in the papers. Don't be upset for her or for you, because you're not doing anything wrong. Erin is a smart girl -- why wouldn't she let you bear the burden of the stress of her grades? If she doesn't hand in a paper, calmly explain that that will affect her grade, which will affect her long-term future and her short-term privileges. Period. End of story. Don't let her see you stress, put it back on her. Does that make sense? I know, Sam's not that old -- I'm just going off of what I observed from when I taught. Parents who cared more about their student's grades than he/she did carried a lot of stress.

Middle school won't break her. She has you, a soft place to land if she falls.

Sandra said...

Thanks Becky! I'm really trying not to stress. :)
I'm glad to hear that Erin's struggles are normal. It's scary to send her off to school and not know what goes on for the majority of her day. Thanks for the advice about the homework. I've been telling her that it is her grade that will be lowered. I just didn't think about playing it cool. From now on she won't see me sweat. :)
She just goes through phases, and I'm always afraid that one will come that one have an upside to it and we'll all drown.
I never worried so much until I became a mom.
You'll be so prepared when Sam hits this stage. :)

R said...

I always worry that I sound bossy (oldest child syndrome), so take everything I say with a grain of salt.

You're a great mom.

I'm learning about the whole stages thing. Sometimes at 2 am, I'm pretty sure we're drowning.

Kristen said...

You're doing a great job, Sandy. Becky and Aola's advice were good.