Saturday, 16 November 2013

My plea to school...Talk about behaviour not the child

This week has been harder than it should have been, not by anyone's design, but just one of those things. One of the big discussions we had at school, was about how ineffective their behaviour policy is for our boy (in fact probably most children).

If a child misbehaves he is moved down the ladder (onto yellow?), if they are moved onto yellow too many times in a week, or onto red at all, they lose golden time on Friday.

In our house we are always careful to talk about the behaviour, not the child. We talk about how it was good that you did x, or how we are sad that you did y, or how doing z is silly (or giddy). We do not say things like you are naughty, or you are silly, or you are good because... we talk purely about behaviour. Because every 4 year old will do good and silly things, it does not mean that they are good or silly.

We strongly believe that we don't want to shame our children, it doesn't help them, it is only a release for us. Boy-o has enough to cope with, that to add to his self belief that he is 'bad' would be crippling long term. Just because it is how we were parented, does not make it right or helpful for any child. There is generally a reason for behaviour, and it is worth our time trying to work out why he has done something, so we can talk about understanding. This is still true when he is raging, it tells us is that he can't cope with the emotions that he is feeling and needs to get them out somehow, he needs calm and empathy. Sometimes I move him to a place he cannot hurt anyone, but I stay within sight and sound.

We tried to get this across to his teacher. Besides anything else, what is the point of telling him he will lose golden time, when he isn't at school on a friday afternoon, to lose this time anyway. We like the fact that we are told when he is on the Superstar board, but I dislike the fact that another child finds it ok to tell boyo, that he has to try not to go onto yellow that day. 

I find it hard to believe that any 4 year old can choose to conform or not to conform. They can either conform and do what school think is necessary (sit quietly for registration) or they can't. And if they can't do what is necessary, is it necessary to shame the child and move him down and tell him he's naughty for not doing x, y or z... My boy doesn't choose to fidget, that is who he is, and I, his nursery teacher, the woman from pre 5 team all have suggested he needs something in his hands to occupy them. 

I'm hoping that some good has come out of this week, it has been very draining for all of us, apart from perhaps Jelly...and even he notices when boyo is not himself. The fact that he reacted in a way to a sound, in a way that shocked school may have helped the long term. I'm hoping that his teacher starts to listen to us! 

And in the meanwhile...if you are a parent, educate yourself about shame based parenting and punishments, blame the behaviour, not the child. 

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