Here's some of K's antics today...
Mommy, we are going on a trip and I want you to pack my clothes. We're gonna bring our toys to everyone around the world (can you tell they just dedicated the operation christmas child boxes at school?). But we're not going to just leave them there, we need to bring the kids back here for a sleepover and we'll adopt them so they can still play with the toys later. Is that ok? Can I wear this?
Is today tomorrow? Because I want to go to "H's" birthday party.
Oh man, Brianna and Emma, I just finished cleaning up all those toys and now I have to do it all over again! (with no prompting, he then started cleaning back up the bin of toys that yes, he'd just picked up 5 minutes prior! Sometimes the kiddos CAN be a big help....)
On another note, Kristopher has been having some behavior issues here lately. It's like he's become a different kid in the past 2 or 3 months. He's transformed from being respectful, kind, and generally a good kid to being mouthy, mean, and making me say to myself "WHERE DID THIS CHILD COME FROM?" a few times a day. I'd love to think that it's just a phase and he'll grow out of it. I'd love to think that strong discipline and strong love will bring back our 'old Kristopher'. I'd also love to think that it's his age and all kids go through it. I might even say it's his still adjusting to new siblings. But I know better.
I know that the behaviors I'm seeing are the same ones exhibited by some of the kids in his class at school. And he's catching on. Fast.
Let me start this with a disclaimer: Kristopher goes to a private preschool at our church right now and I don't find fault with the program AT ALL. I like his teacher and aide, I like the administration, there's nothing that I would ask for them to do differently. There's no easy fix to stop the behaviors from coming home. There is NO ONE AT FAULT with the school for his picking up these behaviors. It's simply that he's at an age where kids' behaviors are EASILY picked up. And I'm so very tempted to just keep him home despite how much he LOVES SCHOOL.
Earlier this week I had the thought that went something like this... he didn't do these things before starting school but now slowly, as he's 'warmed up' at school and made friends, he's gotten worse, and worse, and worse. Some days I just want to home school him because after a few days away from school with some strong discipline, he IS different. He DOES go back to his sweet self. Then he goes back to school and it starts all over again. So what do we do? It's a good school, good teachers, even good kids! It's just that kids will be kids and there are some (everywhere...) whose parents aren't as "strong" as we are on discipline and issues of the mouth... and hands...
I will not just look away when my son walks out of the room being mouthy to myself or to Mike and thankfully he hasn't done it to anyone else to my knowledge. I will not allow him to hit, kick, push, or take things away from anyone else either. To me that's called bullying and just because the other kids are smaller doesn't give him any rights above them. I will not let him throw things, lash out, or be verbally unkind to anyone without him expecting a consequence for that action.
I also know better than to think that taking away all of his toys, computer time, tv time, and every other activity under the sun will make the behaviors go away. Yes, some at a time, but not ALL. Because a bored child is a child IN EVEN MORE TROUBLE. And there's no question in my mind that he will act out more if he doesn't have enough things to do.
One day earlier this week I posted about K's behavior and what we did as a result. Then on Wednesday we had another issue. K had first stacked up a ton of blocks on the glass coffee table. I told him once that it wasn't allowed from another room. I told him a second time that I was coming to check on him (both times he replied and I gave him ample time to make the right decision before going to the living room). I finally did go in to find him walking out of the living room to the playroom to get MORE blocks and he KICKED EMMA on his way through simply because she was between him and the blocks! I was fuming!
K was told to sit on the couch for quite some time and in the mean time I called Mike. I don't make consequence decisions when I'm 'hot' and I knew this was one that needed Daddy input on what the consequence should be. K ended up being told he'd be going to bed early with no story and that he had lost privileges for the day. He was given a piece of lined paper with his name written on it to practice writing his name on. Then another paper with uppercase letters. Then another paper with lowercase letters. He didn't think of this as any punishment, but it meant he was in a VERY structured situation and he was doing something basically by himself with me guiding him and checking in on him. His desk is in the family room right now and he was to be IN IT and working on this. By the time he'd done those three things it was about time for the kids to have ST and he was allowed to play Starfall.com (an academic website) while they worked with ST. Mike brought home Chinese food (since after all this I hadn't cooked...) and the kids ate while the last person finished up ST. 6:00 and he put on pajamas, sat and played quietly for a little bit, and 7:00 he was in bed. It turned out to be an ok evening, but man oh man...
I don't like having to take away his ability to play freely and interact with his siblings. In fact, right now he and Brianna are in his room playing nicely... but this attitude, the disregard for others, the mouth running off, it's just not something that's going to stick around.
Any thoughts? Advice? Been there done that and wrote a book I should read? Complaints that I'm too hard on my kid? Whatever you got, go for it... I'll hear you out (but as always please be respectful!) I know there are seasons for everyone and kids especially go through times of testing. It hasn't been constant with K, it's been a week or two here and there it just seems like each time it comes up it's worse than the last.
The hardest part is that I think if I decided to keep him home, we wouldn't be having this trouble... yet he LOVES school and quite frankly he does great while he's there, enjoys the social time, is learning what he should... it's just his attitude that needs adjusting.