Ladies and Gentlemen…I have unfortunate news! My son used his first “curse” word at school. He didn’t mess around with the insignificant ones, but instead went with the big daddy of them all. Let me share some background information before I continue…
Up until now, my TBP’s sophisticated vocabulary had fallen short when it came to emotional outbursts. When he was really angry, he would say “stupid head” or “dummy” and then stomp off for a while before returning with a heartfelt apology. We thought that we were clever by not giving any word a tremendous amount of power. We would watch movies and wouldn’t flinch when a swear word was used. If we didn’t react, he wouldn’t notice the word and it would continue to be left out of his repertoire.
It worked for awhile…but our luck ran out.
As I shared in a previous post, we started out the year on a high note. We had a great first day and a wonderful email from the new 2nd grade teacher. We were cautiously optimistic. However, as each day passed…the anxiety with the morning drop off grew. It reached a new level after returning from the long Labor Day weekend. At this point, my son began to complain about school drop off even before he left home. Last year, he was allowed to enter his classroom earlier than the other students and wanted to continue this plan. Understandably, the school felt that the office should be the drop off location instead of the classroom. Each day, was increasingly stressful and emotional.
On Thursday afternoon, I was met by the principal when I came to take my son home. This is never a good sign. The principal shared that my TBP had to be held while his mother left. They blocked the door so that he could not run out into the parking lot. While this was taking place, my son’s emotions hit an all time high and he shouted “the word” at the principal and another staff member. As the principal is recounting the events for me, I am horrified. I say what every parent says at this point, “He said what?!? I am SO sorry!!!” I continue by saying that we don’t talk that way at home and that we haven’t ever heard him use that word. This is true, but I know that people always have doubts when other people say that.
The principal continues by saying that my son wrote a letter of apology and that everyone was shocked when he said it. He chuckled a bit when he said that my son even looked surprised when he blurted IT out. He assured me that he felt it was an isolated situation and that he wasn’t expecting to hear it again. I listened and hoped that the principal was correct, but I had my doubts. My son now knows THAT word. He knows the reaction THAT word gets and that very few words have the same impact. When my son arrived at the office, the principal reminded him about tomorrow’s drop off plan. My son agreed and happily waved goodbye to the secretaries and gave the principal a smile and a fist bump.
The school staff thought that everyone was on the same page. I suspected otherwise.
As we walked home, I spoke with my son about the situation. I told him that word was not to be used and that there would be serious consequences if there was a repeat performance. He was apologetic…that is until I mentioned tomorrow’s drop off. At that point, my TBP said, “I know they like the plan and they think that I am going to follow the plan, but I’m not.” While I listen to these words, I’m feeling a mixture of anger, panic and fear. He had left the office with smiles and what looked like a clear agreement. And The Oscar goes to…
As you can imagine, we were worried when Friday morning came. He was reminded about the consequences of another outburst and he assured us that he would not use that word. He knew that he would lose Mine Craft and internet privileges and that his Saturday play date with a fellow Mine Craft addict would be cancelled. I was hoping that these threats were powerful enough to dissuade him, but a little voice inside of me was telling me otherwise.
Friday morning and another “f bomb” was dropped. I am told by the secretaries that it didn’t compare to Thursday’s outburst and “that it was 80% better”. I know they shared this to make me feel better, but it didn’t. As promised, he lost his Mine Craft and playdate. I expected him to throw a fit when he knew that we were sticking to our word. He took the punishment better than expected and said that he had learned his lesson. We talked about the importance of standing by our word. He told me that he understands and that “Monday will be a new day.”
We are experiencing mixed feelings about this situation. Obviously, such language should not be tolerated; however, we have to wonder why there is so much separation anxiety in the morning. The good news is that the classroom environment has been maintained and that none of these tantrums have effected the rest of his day or his new best friend relationship. For this, we are very grateful. This would NOT have been the case last year.
With Monday right around the corner, we are concerned. If this continues much longer, we will need to have the school provide a different plan (one that he doesn’t see as a victory because of his determination) or some incentive that can be put in place to immediately reward his courage. Keep your fingers crossed!