I got a call this afternoon from Benjamin’s first grade teacher. Something had happened during humanities class and she thought I’d want to know. Normally I welcome calls from her because she’s my second pair of eyes and ears during the day when I can’t be sitting in class with Benjamin. It’s normally that he was a bit chatty that day or that he’s really progressing with his writing and she’d give me tips on how to help him improve even more. I knew today’s call wouldn’t be the same upbeat “chat” that I was used to.
She informed me that Benjamin had been poking another student with his pencil and then threatening to bite him. Unfortunately, we’ve been having issues with little things like this all year long. Little things like blowing spit bubbles, pushing people, other things that are normal for a seven-year old boy to do (just not at school 🙂 ). Each time that Mrs. Guttman writes a note home or calls me, Jared and I sit down and have a talk with Benjamin. It seems that talking is no longer the best form of communication with this child. He’s now physically harming people, and that’s not acceptable.
Mrs. Guttman and I talked for a while and she mentioned that a similar thing happened with her son when he was in second grade. She had the teacher RPC him and she made that day horrible for him. He learned that it was a privilege to go to school, one that you have to earn. She has never had any issues with him since. She wanted to give me the option to try and do the same thing because really this kind of behavior is typical with first graders and she knows him well enough to know that he was doing it in fun and not trying to be vicious. She said that this situation just reminded her of her son and she didn’t want it to escalate.
In that moment a million things run through your head as a parent. “If I do RPC him, will this scar him to the point that he will hate me or will it do the exact opposite and he’ll love the time home and keep doing bad things to be sent home”. Knowing Benjamin though, he takes things very personally, and I knew this would be more of a wake up call to him.
I had her write him up and send him to the office where he had to wait for Jared to pick him up. I thought it would be a little more dramatic if daddy showed up rather than just me. I’m always there, but when daddy’s around the kids know he means business 🙂 . Jared and Benjamin had to have a conference with the assistant principal before they could come home.
I happened to be taking a nap when they got home, trying desperately to get over these allergies. Jared told me later that Benjamin really broke down and cried when he had to go and wake me up. He’s really good about seeing that he’s done something wrong once you bring it to his attention. I think he just doesn’t know when he’s gone too far and I guess that’s up to us to pointing those things out to him more often. I’m just keeping my fingers crossed that I did the right thing in having his teacher RPC him and that we’ll be able to come out on the other side of this stronger and more in tune to him and the attention that he needs. I can already see him trying to earn back the privileges we took away from him and he hasn’t put up a fight about the restrictions we imposed on him for the next week. So, so far so good!