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The Big Picture


Silas has attended VPK since January, and just as I feared, he often gets in trouble at school.
"Silas has been saying 'poopy head' in class today," his teacher told me one morning when I picked him up. "I gave him a warning about saying things like that in class but he kept saying it."
This is not the first time we have had issues at preschool (see  I assured her I would speak to him. And as soon as we pulled away, I did.
"Don't tell Daddy," he begged.
Maybe I had some leverage. "Okay Silas, I won't tell Dad as long as you agree you won't do it again.  Hey,  I won't even tell Grandmama."
Pause. "You can tell Grandmama," he said, no doubt remembering that in Grandma's eyes he can do no wrong.
"But if you get into this car tomorrow and your teacher tells me you said 'poopy head' again, I am going to tell Dad."
"Okay," he agreed, probably feeling he had gotten off the hook.
The next day, I could tell as soon as I pulled up into the car line that Silas had repeated his crime.  I chatted with his teacher for a moment, assuring her that I would, ahem, speak to him again. We pulled away.
"Don't tell Dad!" he begged.
"I am most certainly going to tell Dad. You did not keep your end of the deal."  Then I changed my mind.  Though his dad would certainly back me up, I didn't want to interrupt his work day. 
"Silas, I am not going to tell Dad. I am going to handle this myself."  And I did.
We had a few good weeks after that, but pretty soon, he started up again. And again. Regularly when I pick him up, there is a new report from his teacher, who has a colossal amount of patience, I might add. .
Silas was fighting.
Silas was rolling around on the rug during circle time.
Silas was taking the doll's clothes off to show the baby's bottom.  (I am sure only because he has a new baby sister, she graciously added.)
"Don't tell Grandmama," he said one recent day when he got into the car.  He must be feeling really guilty, I thought, if he doesn't even want Grandma to know.
Every time his teacher reports bad behavior I deliver punishment upon departure from school.  Sometimes it is a swat.  Sometimes it is no lunch from McDonald's (even though he begs) or no time on the Wii. 
Whatever the crime, the issue is always self control.   I make sure consequences are delivered swiftly, as I've learned that with Silas punishment has to come immediately to be effective.
Self esteem was the trend when my older ones were coming up.  I didn't buy into it then, and I still don't.  I love that kid, but I'm sure not afraid to hurt his feelings.
Wounds that hurt cleanse away evil, Proverbs 20:30 says.  Discipline is hard.  And tiring.  Captain Fun is much better at being consistent than I am, but like most dads he's not always available.  Sometimes it falls on me.
And I'm determined to instill self control in Silas even if it kills me.
Recently I was delighted to find this article on self esteem vs.self control

4 Comments to Trouble:

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Rose on Friday, April 20, 2012 4:48 PM
Margie, you're so right! Self-control is so important and as far as self-esteem goes, once a child has earned his own success, then his self-esteem will be fine. I'd take your wisdom any day over the so-called child experts who have studied children but likely never raised any of their own. And I hope Silas keeps on being Silas. There's only one of him and he's precious (even though some of the things he does can be challenging!)
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Debbie on Saturday, April 21, 2012 6:48 AM
You have passed on great info Oh Wise One! Consistency and immediate attention is so important. Keep up the great work - your children are a great reflection of you both! Love you! Debbie
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