Thursday, March 7, 2013

What? My Kid's Not Perfect?

I don't want to be one of those parents who really just thinks her kid is perfect.  I mean, she's a strong "pretty awesome", but perfect is a reach.  A part of me always expects a phone call from the school to hear about her stubbornness or some such challenge.  However, when the teacher did email me with some trouble, the reason had me a little surprised.  

The first point was more of a manners violation.  This is not a total surprise.  We've been working with Little Miss to be better at using her "please", "thank you" and general manners.  She's always been very good, but she's also lazy so sometimes a reminder doesn't hurt.  Also, at home, she can tend to be a sore winner and sore loser and will answer "I know" when she receives compliments.  We've been trying to break her of both of those.  She's much better with the winning and losing (though she prefers to win, of course). 

The second point was more of a surprise.  She was downright mean to another kid.  The teacher, who absolutely loves Little Miss, immediately acted and emailed me.  We corresponded and agreed that punishment and discussion was not unreasonable.  

Later that night, we asked Little Miss how her day was, giving her a chance to come clean.  She did not though she also wouldn't meet eye contact.  She then admitted that she got in trouble, but she wouldn't say what she did.  She just sobbed for a very long time.  Husband and I decided not to punish her unless her attitude needed further adjusting.  Based on her reaction, we knew she knew she did something wrong.  That said, we still needed a good discussion.  She's very sensitive to her daddy.  She hates disappointing him, upsetting him or hurting his feelings.  She has no such qualms about me, of course (and thus begins the rest of our lives).  So, she wanted to just tell me as a secret, but there were going to be no secrets.  We told her she would get in trouble if she did not have a conversation with us and we outlined many privileges she would lose if she continued to not talk.  We finally got the story we already knew.  

Today, she did say how she could be a better friend and a better person.  We did request she apologize again.  I'm sure this will not be the last time our child is found less than exemplary.  Our bigger challenge is the fact that she really doesn't like to have any serious conversation about herself or anybody else.  She doesn't tattle or share secrets.  It's good - sometimes.  On the flip side, she did admit that she deserved to be in trouble and deserved the punishment.  She never complained.  She never lied or came up with a reason/excuse for her behavior.  She accepted any further punishment.  She's a stoic one.  Minor unrelated example of her stubbornness and refusal to talk: the kid had a mishap which resulted in a little goose egg and a cut on her face and knee.  She has no idea what happened and didn't want to talk about it, but she thinks she may have been tripped on the playground.  She said it was an accident though.  That one sentence of how she may have been tripped took an hour to extract.

The bottom line is that she is a good kid.  She just gets careless and, as with all kids, when she gets tired, she is cranky.  She also likes to get her way.  So, she slips up sometimes.  Until this is a trend, I think we're ok.  She has taken past lessons very seriously and they stay with her.  Even so, we're keeping an eye on things.