difficult child 1 forged my signature (again)!

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by gcvmom, Mar 10, 2008.

  1. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    Either this kid thinks I'm stupid, or he is so afraid of what will happen if he gets a bad quarter grade (losing video games for a month), or he just has no concept of right and wrong....

    He had to get sign-off by a parent on a practice sheet each week for orchestra.

    He never practices his instrument unless there's a concert coming up or we have company. I refuse to nag him to do it.

    I logged onto his grade website last week and noticed he was getting a "C" in orchestra -- this should be an easy "A" for him. I confronted him about the missing practice sheets and said he had to figure out what he was going to do about them.

    First, he tried to get me to believe that his dad signed off on the sheets. I asked him what his dad will say when I ask him to verify this. Then he admitted that he forged my signature and turned them in, getting 1/2 credit since they were all late. So now he's still getting a "C+" in the class AND he has a very ticked off mother.

    I am thinking of calling the teacher to let her know about this. Maybe I should even get the school psychologist involved. It's the second time he's forged my signature on school paper this year, and I dragged him to the therapists office after the last one. Looks like the talk didn't sink in as deep as we needed it to.

    Granted, the weeks this went neglected were during husband's brain surgery and early recovery. I'm just now getting my head back into things with the kids' school stuff and he's 4 weeks post-op.

    Any sage advice here?
  2. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    I would call the teacher.

    Also, I think that monthlong groundings are a bit long. Can it be something more along the lines of do it each week and you'll get a treat - like a movie or ice cream with friends? With M, we found that negative consequences got negative results. His self esteem was so low, punishments were self defeating.
  3. mstang67chic

    mstang67chic Going Green

    I would definately call the teacher.

    As for practice....is there something he can't do without? Gameboy, Nintendo, computer, etc.? If so, I would take or disable it and tell him for practicing for X amount of time, he gets Y amount of time on the whatever. No practice.....no games.
  4. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    Witzend, you are right about the whole self-esteem issue. Heavy-handedness on my part often backfires with difficult children.

    Mstang, husband and I talked about leveraging the games to get him to practice more.

    Here's what we decided: I will contact the teacher and work out a better communication plan so that I can monitor his orchestra assignments better. Instead of revoking all video game privileges for a month, difficult child 1 will lose his hour of pre-homework free time and will have to use that for practicing his instrument. Video games will have to wait until homework (and practice) is finished.

    difficult child 1 is remorseful and apologizing repeatedly, and that's good, but it's frustrating that this has happened more than once. In a rare moment of insight, husband pointed out that difficult child 1 IS a kid 13yo with-ADHD and the accompanying impulse control issues, and we can't expect him to act like a 13yo easy child as much as we'd like him to... (sigh). I guess I can chalk this up to a reality check.

    Thanks :)
  5. Star*

    Star* call 911........call 911

    GVC mom - Dude thought he was one too -

    So for any school papers I got an odd colored Sharpie marker - a color that you wouldn't just HAVE lying around - one you would literally have to buy in a set costing a lot of money - one a kid at school would not have -

    And I signed my name with that for a while - stopped all forging...I also told the teacher if it didn't have my "mark or rather marker on it" to call me.

    Stopped that cold -

    And I think too that your son is probably masking some stress over Dad, over you having to deal with it all - so maybe an amnesty talk would be good. We used to have these and during them Dude could confess and get things off his chest - and we promised no heavy punishments. A month of hard labor around the yard was better for us than a month without (whatever) and it works off anger - then they are too tired to be mouthy.

  6. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    Star, that's a good idea using the unique ink :) I could apply it to all three kids and no one would feel singled out.

    No doubt our family's chaos played into it. I guess it just shows how much he still needs us to watch over him and keep steering him in the right direction. Like I said, it's a reality check.
  7. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    I'm thinking, since those sheets went in late, that his anxiety levels were building and building, and with all the other stress factors around (and I include his own GFGness too) he just took what he thought was the fast way out to reduce his stress and stop the teacher threatening to fail him.

    I agree with the others - he needs motivation, not punishment. He also needs to learn to motivate himself. Practice IS boring unless you can find ways to liven it up. When I was a kid, my music practice included a vast amount of playing scales. I've noticed that difficult child 3's practice didn't involve scales much at all, except for him to be able to play them on demand. Instead, he could choose the music he wanted to practice, and would then sit with the teacher to work out the dynamics. When I started to practice piano just by playing tunes and my favourite pieces, then buying sheet music of things I really wanted to learn, I did so much better. I wouldn't let myself buy a new piece unless I had mastered the previous one.

    I was also self-conscious about people hearing me practice - I like to have an empty house. And then the silence was too scary, I had to overcome the fear of making a noise, if you can understand.

    If you make a reward very immediate, perhaps tie it into his game time, then add in your own enthusiastic congratulations for getting it done, this could turn around the problem. A difficult child is often worse at organising himself, needs more encouragement and sometimes step-by-step hand holding, to do it. And they get frustrated and angry with themselves, too. I suspect your getting angry with him is nowhere near as harsh as the things he's quietly telling himself.

    We also set time limits for gaming. It's not permitted during school hours even if he is sick. If he's too sick to work, then he's too sick for anything. But a sick kid can always go to bed and sleep, he's allowed to do that.

    difficult child 3 now understands, the work won't do itself. While he's sick, or busy, or not wanting to do work, it piles up. And even if it's no fault of his, the backlog still has to be dealt with. In mainstream, procrastination was rewarded eventually by a reduced workload - there was no accountability, if they simply said, "You don't have to do it." It's taken a lot of effort and reconditioning to get to where we are now.

    Another reward idea recommended by difficult child 3's therapist, which we used for a while - for certain accomplishments (in our case, a day with no meltdowns AT ALL) he was rewarded with computer game time, with me playing alongside. We first did it for half an hour, because he needed a big incentive. But therapist said to avoid material rewards, hence computer game time with me as a reward.

    I must confess, I am now using material rewards, but I still sometimes give an extra incentive of, "When you finish the week's work on time, I will play games with you," and it really works. There is so much about his gaming that he wants to share with me. With anyone. He delights in teaching me how to play.

    We sometimes make the mistake (and teachers make this mistake the most) of having easy child expectations for a difficult child, thinking that forcing them to comply with the expectation is going to instantly eliminate all GFGness. It's like teachers who STILL say with concern, when they hear that difficult child 3 is studying from home, "But what about social interaction? Shouldn't he be with other children in a mainstream setting, to learn social skills?"
    They are often shocked when I tell them that mainstream school is not only a very artificial and often unique social setting, but also an inappropriate one for an autistic kid. Kids with autism DO NOT pick up social skills by osmosis, and the more you try to force the issue, the more random and often chaotic is the message the kid gets.

    And it's the same with personal organisation stuff - if a kid simply isn't ready, they're not ready. Would you expect a 9 month old baby to get the washing in, fold it neatly and put it away?

  8. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    I also agree with the need to motivate, not punish. I think that some heavy labor to make up the stress and effort you put into this would be appropriate. I know that heavy yard work was part of what turned my difficult child around. He had all that physical labor to work out his anger on.

    I think that maybe an equal amount of computer, tv or game time to the time he spends practicing might work. No practice, no "screen time". I know one family with severe difficult children who have had much luck with that.

    He may have seen how stressed you were, been scared about his dad, thought that dad needed you more than he did. So he "took care of it" to help out. Not logical to US, but it would be to a child, esp a difficult child. He may not have wanted to take your attention from dad in the fear that something would happen to dad. Then it would be HIS (difficult child's ) fault IN HIS MIND, not in reality, that something bad happened to his dad.

    This is the way many of our kids seem to think. Maybe, if this is what happened, you need to give him the heavy labor to "Pay you back for the stress and effort you used up dealing with this". Love and Logic Parenting has a lot of info on this strategy. I have found it extremely useful.


  9. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    Oh Marge, and Star -- you are both soooo right about the anxiety in him! You are soooo right about the organization problem, too.

    He understands now the parameters of what's expected with his practicing and school work. They both must come first before he gets his game time, and he's fine with that.

    We are trying to limit the hours the games and TV are on here as well with ALL the kids.

    Never knew parenting would be THIS complicated, but then, never knew I married a difficult child and would have a bunch of little difficult child's either ;)
  10. weatheringthestorm

    weatheringthestorm New Member

    You'd be surprised at how many easy child's forge their parent's signatures. Usually teachers can tell. One thing I've seen a lot is they forge the other parent's sig. The one you're not used to seeing. If mom signs most things they'll forge dad's sig. (I used to be the official forger on my school bus as a young teen, of course I forged my parent's sigs as well, mostly to get out of gym)

    I don't know if this is really a difficult child thing or just a teen thing, but it requires a difficult child solution. I love the idea of using the special marker! I would certainly speak to the teacher and give him / her a heads up. I tend to use extra chores as punishment more than long groundings. They hate working more and I feel less punished. Weeks of having difficult child home non-stop can be a bit much for me. I've seen better results from the work. As I come across things I make a mental note of "punishment chores", things that need to be done and I don't want to do. The next kid in trouble is going to organize ALL of my cabinets....

    Hope it all works out!
  11. Star*

    Star* call 911........call 911

    Fess up time -

    My Father was an artist - really talented. He worked most of his life in a steel mill and did art as a hobby.

    His signature was incredibly complex and beautiful.

    I wanted Senior skip day

    So I took a notebook and cut the page in 1/2 then used a glue stick to put it together so it looked like one page then got Dad to sign his name at the bottom (I wrote some dumb stuff at the top forcing him to sign on the bottom)

    When I got to my room I peeled the 1/2 sheet off the top to reveal a clean full sheet with my Dads signature on it.

    And I wrote : Please excuse Star today she has a Doctors appointment and will not be in school all day.

    The school nurse called the house - got my dad on the phone and wondered what was wrong with me, would I be back to school, etc...and my Dad said "WHAT DOCTORS APPOINTMENT?"


    I had the time of my life that day - we went to an abandoned strip mine - swam, listened to music, played cards - and had just the most memorable day. UNTIL I GOT HOME - but I swear being grounded for LIFE was worth it. LOL
    (actually I had to be in the house by 9:00 every night for a month)

    Yeah - I was cool.