My (secret) fear..

Generally speaking, I am not really afraid of anything..It is kind of been there, done that sort of courage..
But there is one thing that is always at the back of my mind..
I am so afraid that my son will end up in the streets or take drugs/alcohol etc..

I don’t know how to explain, why I worry so much..

As a baby, he was a delight..He never cried..always smiling..He was such a happy baby.. so unlike his sister !!

But things began to change as he grew older.

Raising him.. without breaking his the same time setting boundaries…has been a challenge..

I remember getting a phone call from his school (grade 1)..When I went to the school..My son was sitting on the chair outside the office reception..He was reading a book.. I asked him why is he sitting there? and he replied very casually, they had DEAR ( drop everything and read) and when the teacher told the class that DEAR is over and asked the students to put their book back, my son refused..according to him, he was in the most interesting part of the book and it would only take him few more minutes to finish and he asked the teacher if she would give him 10 more minutes, she refused, he continued to read..ignoring her..teacher send him to the principal..and I was called..
Let me tell you my feelings..
I am a single mother..getting a phone call from school is scary..First thought is..something happened to my children..It is such a relief when the receptionist tells you, “oh, Mr so and so would like you to come to the school and discus matters concerning your son” and the relief turns in to new sets of begin to worry about what has he done this time? As you get your youngest child dressed and then carry her and walk up the hill to the school, you analyze all the possible things your son could have done..and wonder, is he going to get suspended? Will he get a record? What will I do?

The meeting with the Principal didn’t go well..
Rules are for everyone..and must be followed was his explanation…
I agreed with him..then I asked him, what do you suggest we do about it?
He has to listen to the teacher, the principal told me in not so nice tone..
How do you make him listen to the teacher? I asked him.
One thing I have noticed is, Principals don’t like parents who are vocal..
What he wanted at that meeting was for me to agree that my son is irresponsible, defiant, disruptive..etc By tagging him in those terms, it is easy for the school authorities..they have a record..of his misbehaviour and meetings with his parent..and eventually when things get out of hand, they can suspend my son.. everything will be done as per the rules..
There is only one person who can stand up for my children.. that was me..
I didn’t dispute the fact that my son disobeyed the teacher..but this happened because, the teacher allowed DEAR, teacher set the time..and my son couldn’t finish his reading in time..and asked for extention and wasn’t given.

What the teacher and the principal didn’t see that time it took me to reach the school and meet the principal, my son finished reading the book..My son was least bit bothered about being send to the office and having to meet with the principal..He didn’t think he did anything wrong..
What can I as a mother do?  How do I force my son to listen to the teacher, when he very calmly tells you that, Mom, all I asked was for 10 more minutes, she ( teacher) was doing maths and I have already finished the maths work book !

I asked for an academic assessment done for my son..That is the next thing school authorities hate..more work for them !!!
They did the tests eventually..( I had to go all the way to dept of education to get it done)
He got the ‘gifted’ tag..( which gave me a bit of break from having to meet with the principal every other day.. cause the school has to accept that his ‘giftedness’ was the reason for his (mis)behaviour)

One thing I have to mention here is.. I do not condone my son’s behaviour..but there is nothing that can be done to make him toe the line you have set..

He is a straight A student, he is doing Uni level maths and has been given admission for Maths acceleration program in grade 8..
He still reads story books in class..
and I worry..all the time..what is the next rule he is going to break..

7 thoughts on “My (secret) fear..

  1. Don't worry Sarah. Your son will turn out just fine and you will be very proud of him. Children are individuals with their own mind. While it is true that he should be listening to his teachers at school, it is not like he is beating up other kids or being destructive otherwise!

    All is and will be well.. Just be happy that he is a voracious reader, comprehends and retains what he reads.

    Just make sure that you keep the lines of communication open and not judge him.

    We are our children's best line of defense. I have given the principal and the class teacher a piece of my mind on the phone, in letters and notes and emails when the situation has warranted it. I have also told my daughter that her parents have more power over her situation than her teachers, so as long as she tells me the truth, I will always have her back.

    Last year after the first marking period one of her teachers told me that my daughter's best was a B grade and that is to the best of her ability. She has been an A or A+ student since. I know my child better than the teacher.. As long as the kids know that you are on their side and accessible, you will have nothing drastic to worry about.

  2. what you learn in schools is not just lessons and school work. you are there to learn discipline, to accommodate your superiors and peers. Just like your child is an individual and has likes and dislikes, there are other children not so gifted who need the discipline and lessons from the teacher. If one child reads in class and ignores the teacher, we are diluting the teachers authority and giving the wrong signal that you may do what you want in class as long as your lessons are perfect.
    If you look at it from the standpoint of teachers and other normal students, perhaps you may want to reconsider your stand.
    I am sure your son will agree that one needs discipline if one wants to achieve something/anything in life and will make suitable behavioural changes. You can try.

  3. Unknown: I understand what you are trying to say..but what you don't get it son knows he shouldn't read during class, he knows he will get in to trouble if he does so and he accepts the punishments gladly and continue to read..there is nothing I as his mother can do to stop him..
    I have taken books away from him and he went to the school library and borrowed new books. I gave time out for each time he got in to trouble..and he went back to read the book when his punishments were over..
    I will not hit him..that is the only punishment I haven't tried.
    My stance is simple..I just don't want my child to end up in the streets..the schools don't help kids like mine..Schools want everyone to behave the same way.. anyone that doesn't will be bend and broken to fit the moulds created by the education dept.

  4. I have a 1st grader (5 more months to go in grade 1) and he used to be in the similar situation.
    He is doing reading comprehensions for grade 3, maths for grade 3 and his reading is beyond grade 3 level. He has a mind of his own. That all worked fine till kindergarten. I got more than few calls from his KG teacher and me and his dad knew, we have some work at our hands.

    I wanted him to follow rules in class. I know my son's potential and for him to realize it, he needs to save his time and energy from fighting this stuff. He needs to sail with water current, not opposite.
    We don’t want to get him tested, as a label as “gifted” will make him take leverage of that and he may learn to treat others/teachers poorly.

    My worst fear is/was, as he learns to disregard authority, he may have a police record/or a serious school record that will hinder his chance at excellence in future. Your history follows you every where, unlike India.
    Sometimes children harbor anger against things that don’t fit their will, and my show that outburst against a teacher or students. Follow rules in class is just like a situation, a kid who came to visit you at your home, and you probably don’t want him to make his own rule. Such as he may feel like handling your aquarium of precious fishes in his own way? That will probably get him thinking, why is it important to follow rules in school, road and every where else. Children know when they can push the boundaries, specially the very bright ones don’t give in that easily.

    For us this is also a strategy just like so many other things we do and teach him. I don’t want my son to get into any trouble and have a smooth ride to his very bright future.

  5. I have seen parents making excuses for their kids behaviour which makes their attitude worse.I am not suggesting that you are one of them, since i dont know you.I have a kid in my son's class who is gifted but doesnt understand rules or what respect for authority means.His mother is having a tough time but the school has to take a tough stand because his behaviour affects the whle class since other kids start copying him.Does your son understand tht his behaviour affetcs the general discipline of the class and the negative impact on his classmates?Will tht type of reasoning have an affect on him?Just wondering ,coz the boy whom I mentioned is slowly getting better in his attitude and his mother said the were doing counselling to “increase his emapthyy level”

  6. ZZZ and Reshma: I will not give excuses for my son's behaviour..but I will not break his will..I know him more than anyone..he thinks differently..and acts differently..because he is different..and that shouldn't mean that he must be bend and broken to fit in to a mould created by people who doesn't even know him.

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