Friday, December 04, 2009

Talking Back, Part 2

So, as I stated previously, I come from a family that did not use the term "talking back." But Landon has been getting in trouble in school for talking back [no further detail and the teacher who writes it is gone by the time I pick him up]. When I ask him what happened, he says "I don't know." When I ask the teacher who is there, I get “Well, you’d have to ask Ms Joy, I don’t get in here until 4, so I don’t know.” Thank you for all your insight, as I suspected, the range of talking back is kind of varied depending on who you are.

Not knowing what she considers to be “talking back.” I can only assume he’s doing with her what he does to me, which is that he tells me about not wanting to do whatever it is I have told him he needs to do. He is of course whiney to me at that point, and I spend a lot of time saying "I understand that you don't want to XYZ, but these are the reasons it's important to do XYZ. Blah blah blah, so you have to do it anyway." And he generally says "Ooooooh-kaaaaaaay." And then does it.

So, is he talking back to me when I tell him to do something and he tells me he doesn't want to? And maybe I'm alone on my parenting boat, but I feel like he should be able to tell me how he feels about things he's being asked to do - now, it doesn't mean he's going to get out of picking up his toys or whatever, but I think he should be allowed to say "this sucks" [probably not using those words] because it does suck, I hate cleaning up too - and we can commiserate and then get to cleaning up.

I’m betting this is a transition issue, i.e. he’s playing with blocks, but it’s circle time now, so he’s been asked to pick up the blocks and come to the circle and sit. And he of course doesn’t want to and says so. I can't think of a single adult I know who likes being interrupted mid task to be asked to do something else that someone else thinks is important. Why should it be different for kids? Or are they just not allowed to tell anyone that it sucks? [A side question I have if this is the issue, is whether they are giving time warnings prior to transitions, i.e. Ok 5 more minutes until clean up time, 3 more minutes and everyone has to be in the circle, etc. – because when I do that, I get a lot less resistance to moving on to the next activity.]

Now I understand that the teacher has 16 kids in the class with a teacher and an assistant teacher. And I understand that she can't possibly deal with all the dissenting opinions the way I can on a one on one basis – she’d spend her entire day explaining things and then they’d never get anything done.

So my solution is to explain to him that Ms Joy doesn’t have time to explain why she wants him to do something, but that he needs to do what she says anyway, because if she has to spend all her time explaining why they have to move on to the next activity, then they’ll never get to do anything.

We’ll see how that works.

Oh, and we took toys away from him as punishment, and he was hysterical, we told him if he came home the next day with 2 smiley faces that we’d give them back. And he did. So - I guess we have that option too.


kbreints said...

I was having a similar problem with 'henry months ago with the 'frowny faces' on his weekly calander. It turns out later that it had to do with his attitude and the words 'I don't care' .. once we explpained how that makes people feel when he syas that... and that frowny faces were unnacceptable... he turned it around... I am sure that is not the LAST *frowny Face* we will eer have... but we got through the first hurdle.

Aunt Becky said...

Kids have a terrible time with transitions, or at least MINE do. Tough, man, I'm sorry.