I contemplated whether to write about this situation or not, but when I started this blog I told myself that I would be open, honest, and real about my life experiences without worrying about what I presume people would think about me, my faith, and my parenting skills.
So, most recently I got a call at work from Jude and Viv’s daycare while at work. Usually when I see their number pop up anxiety hits immediately and the questions start. Which kid is sick? How am I going to get a sub in this classroom this late in the day? Do I even have enough sick days to leave work? But when the phone call came in last week, it was for something completely unexpected. The teacher sounded frustrated and just over it and as a teacher myself, I knew calling me was the last straw.
To give you a little background, the last couple of days when I had picked up Jude the teacher indicated that he was getting into some trouble throughout the day. Little things like not wanting to keep his shoes on, pushing his plate away during lunch, and getting mad when he was woken up from a nap. I didn’t think too much of it other than a little spurt of negative behavior from a two-year-old. I talked to him and kept it moving. However, when the phone call came through, I couldn’t just push it aside. “Mrs. Bedford, we are having a lot of trouble with Jude today…He has pushed a few tables and he refuses to follow directions.” Of course, hearing this was shocking and as a teacher, I myself have had to make these same type of calls, but it is different when it’s your kid wrecking shop.
Jude does a lot, but never to the point where I have received phone calls and caused teachers to be just flat out frustrated. When I went to go pick him up that afternoon, the list of complaints was crazy and some of the things his teacher told me I couldn’t wrap my head around. This went on for a couple of days. I was lost at what to do as a parent. Jude is two, so disciplining him is challenging. How do you discipline a child for something that happened five hours ago and you know they don’t understand why they are getting in trouble? Melvin and I did discipline him, but nothing was working.
So, after the third call that week and after I had gone up to the school to observe with no change in behavior, Melvin and I decided to just go up there together and talk to the teacher and director to try and figure out what in the world was going on.
It’s a weird positon to be in as a teacher and parent, especially when dealing with your own kids at school. On one hand, you have the sympathy of the teacher because you know what she is dealing with on a regular basis. On the other hand, as a parent you want to make sure that the teacher is being fair and not contributing to the problem. I usually take the role of the teacher because I know my kids. Jude had been cutting up more at home and nothing irritates me more than talking to a parent who wants to act like their child does nothing wrong.
We sat down with the lead teacher and the director. After talking for a while and trying to figure out why Jude completely changed his behavior, we came up with reasons. First, we understood that Jude had an entire new group of teachers. His previous teacher had resigned and the new teacher was set on making sure on keeping order, which I agreed of her doing. So, things like Jude walking around the classroom without shoes on wasn’t going to fly with he, while his last teacher didn’t see it as a problem. Again, no issues with how she was running her class.
She explained that there was a new student who was causing all the kids to act crazy and not follow the rules. I picked up that there was an underlining issue when the teacher stated that Jude saw the other kid exhibit negative behavior and wasn’t getting in trouble for it. Well, that struck a nerve with me, not because Jude was modeling another student’s negative behavior, but I started to realize that maybe the classroom management piece was missing. Again, looking at the teacher perspective, I understand how ONE child can turn the atmosphere in a classroom completely around. We came up with some possible solutions. Following the meeting, Jude had a great day at school the next few days, but the day after that was a complete toss-up. I had to reexamine the issue, not from a teacher perspective, not from a mom perspective, but a more personal review.
I have been working on making sure I look at myself when any issues arise. Mainly because I find that in the past, there would be times that an argument or issue arose and I would just blame the other person or try and mold the situation to where I was not at fault.
I knew that Jude was acting up a little more at home and trust me his “no” had turned into a big “NO”. I had to call myself out on the fact that Jude would exhibit negative behavior at home and if I was tired enough a quick talk- to was all the discipline I could muster up. When we put him in time out, there would be times that I would look up and he would be in Vivian’s room playing. Again, sometimes I would discipline him and be strict and other times I would just throw my hands up and say, “Oh well” because I was too busy cooking dinner or sorting laundry. My inconsistency had to be addressed. I knew that his school behavior was nowhere near how he acted at home, but I also knew that I needed to step my own game up to help what was going on at school.
I saw a difference immediately in his behavior at home when we locked down the rules. I turned from a very “Hey just chill out, man” to a “Jude, sit down, or there will be a consequence” and if he didn’t I made sure the consequence was followed through.
His behavior at school is great. I think between the changes made at school and the more consistency at home has made the improvement. I had to reevaluate myself and analyze what I was doing wrong to help the situation. Jude is my baby boy and I love his personality, but I’m going to need him to hurry up and get out of this “Terrible Two stage” 😊
See you next week!