How Much is Too Much Oversight?

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Peterk71, Mar 19, 2008.

  1. Peterk71

    Peterk71 New Member

    Hi everyone! I posted a previous thread titled " Discipline for Lying and Cheating" I have a question regarding what is normal oversight for my son at school. Every day my wife checks our son's progress on the school's website as well as emails from his teachers. Rarely is there a day when he hasn't done something wrong whether it's not turning in homework, doing poorly on a test or quiz or acting up in class. Frequently my son is greeted at the door with the daily transgressions. I don't think this is good for him. This creates a lot of tension between my wife and myself. I believe my son should suffer the consequences on his own. Whereas my wife thinks we are delinquent if we don't keep up with him on a daily basis. I know there is no definite answer to this but would appreciate any input. Thanks!
  2. trinityroyal

    trinityroyal Well-Known Member

    My approach has been that school trouble is dealt with at school, and home trouble is dealt with at home.

    The Head of Special Education at difficult child's last school was great at keeping in touch and keeping us informed about the goings-on, but except for major infractions (and difficult child had his fair share of those too), things like missing homework or skipped classes were dealt with inside the school walls.

    It just didn't seem to make any headway with difficult child if he was punished twice, once at school and then again at home. In his mind he was hard done by, and responded very badly to the home punishment.

    I'm sure others will weigh in with their thoughts. These are just my $0.02.

    Hope you and your wife find agreement on this issue. A united front is essential when dealing with our difficult children.

    All the best,
  3. Shari

    Shari IsItFridayYet?

    Ditto Trinity.

    If she's checking up on him to help him, that's one thing. To punish him again is another. Obviously, its not working.

    I also replied to your other post.
  4. slsh

    slsh member since 1999


    If you could do a signature (under "user CP" upper lefthand corner of the screen), it would help us ... ahem, more "mature" and memory-impaired members keep your details straight. ;)

    I seem to recall you have a teen? 13 or 14? I have to tell you, in my mind I think like you do, but in practice I have a *really* hard time not being like your wife. It's just this quarter that I've finally backed off a bit on my own 13 y/o - and I *know* his report card is going to be a real problem.

    I think there's a fine balance. At some point, our kids have to learn to be accountable and responsible for their own stuff, and sometimes it takes some logical consequences to get their attention. I could stay on Weeburt nightly about homework, and check the webgrader site daily, but to what end, besides my own nervous breakdown and his incredibly irritating "Mom I have it under control" snottiness? *He* has to start stepping up and so far, it's definitely been a learning experience for him with a *lot* of goofs.

    For the most part, school stuff stays at school. The exception is that there is a "price" for unlimited video game/computer access at home and that is acceptable report cards. He knows what we expect, what we will grudgingly accept, and what will result in a severe limitation on the quality of his freetime. His choice, his problem.

    I'm willing to let him flounder a bit now, because the grades are not as important as they will be once he hits HS. I honestly don't know how I handle it if he continues to goof off once he gets there - guess I'm just praying he'll get it together before then. But I strongly believe that if I keep on him daily, he will never have the opportunity to fail and learn and then succeed.
  5. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    Well, I believe in school giving consequences for school problems, and not being the school's disciplinarian at home.

    Also, I used to hate it when I would go to get M from school or daycare as people would run each other down trying to tell me how awful he was. I learned that there also has to be something good said about him every day too. We all do bad things sometimes. But truth be told, we all do something good every day. Your son probably doesn't realize that he is good sometimes, and may need to be reminded before he loses sight of his goodness. It will make your wife feel better, too.
  6. Peterk71

    Peterk71 New Member

    Thanks for the input. I'm kind of new to these forums so bear with me as far the protocols go. I just downloaded the acronym page so I'm slowly getting up to speed on the lingo. It's great to get the feedback however. It's nice to know we're not the only ones dealing with these things.
  7. flutterbee

    flutterbee Guest

    I'm with the others: school issues stay at school, home issues stay at home.

    That said, if there are reasons for these issues - such as not turning in homework because he is unorganized, forgetful, etc - I would want to know so we could address this issue in therapy and at home.

    My daughter was being held in from recess in the 5th grade on a regular basis because she wasn't coming to class prepared or her folders were unorganized. Well, she has Executive Function Disorders so that's going to happen. Rather than punishment, she needs assistance with that. All the punishment in the world wasn't going to miraculously fix this problem.

    There is a thread in the General Archives on ADHD and Executive Functions that you might want to look at.
  8. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I'm with those who say school/school and home/home. Also, remember that your son has a disorder. That makes school harder for him. If you feel he isn't getting enough help, maybe revisit the IEP process.
  9. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    Being greeted at the door with what he has done wrong and punishments is terribly damaging to a child. Esp if it is everyday. Right after school he should have time to unwind and then do homework. What your wife is doing will only make the problem WORSE. It won't help because it is tearing his self-esteem to shreds. Would your wife like it if YOU met HER at the door with a litany of every little mistake she has made? Maybe if you ask her how SHE would feel, she could see how damaging this is to a child.

    If there is something very serious, then it should be talked about after he has some time to unwind. School is very very hard for our kids. They work to keep their act together (with mixed success) but if all they hear is how bad they are, they won't keep trying. Heck, I wouldn't keep trying if I was met every day with what I did wrong.

    One exercise I learned in a group for parents of ADHD kids was to have 3 positives for every negative. After the behavior is turned around, you can let up, but the negative things you say should always be outnumbered by the positive things you say.

    You might ask your wife how she would react if her boss behaved the way she is. As parents, we are the bosses of the family. It is worth the effort to work to be a GOOD boss, with good communication skills. Often in a family we forget that, esp when our kids are driving us crazy.


  10. babybear

    babybear New Member

    I couldn't agree more! After I made this shift in attitude was when we finally started making progress.
  11. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Peter, your wife is right to keep track of what is going on, but speaking from experience, she shouldn't be automatically assuming the school has got it exactly right. You have an Aspie - they do tend to be truthful by nature. Yours is lying to you (and probably bad at it, which is how you know about it) because he is feeling constantly under threat of punishment and is desperate to avoid it. Kids lie to get out of trouble. If you can reduce his troubles (at least at home) then hopefully you should be able to reduce the lying (at home). He needs to be encouraged to talk about what happened, from his point of view. If you know him well you will be able to find the truth, somewhere between his face-saving responses and the teachers' doom and gloom.

    Also, get wife to read the posts here. Tell her I said it will save her time and a great deal of energy. husband & I do this and it has strengthened our already very strong communication. We don't always agree with everything here, but it gives us scope to discuss it. A lot of what I have learnt here is counter-intuitive, but it is working so much better for us!

    There can be advantages to having an Aspie child, but he needs to feel safer than he does right now. You and your wife know him much better than the teachers.

    With my boys, it was sadly a common occurrence for the teachers to make things worse and yes, to make false accusations (because they never got to the truth of the matter, but took the easy option). We had spies in the classrooms and playgrounds, from them and the teachers, and from difficult children, we worked out what the truth really was. We confronted the staff with it who just shrugged and said, "Does it make any difference?"
    Not all teachers are like this, but unfortunately some are. And we had 'em.

    I suspect your son is having a really awful time at school but doesn't feel safe enough to tell you. I also found that difficult child 3 would self-censor and forget the really unpleasant stuff. When he began to say, "I don't remember what happened after that," I really began to worry, especially if he had bruises. Sometimes if I collected him from school and I hadn't been seen arriving, I would hear what was going on, and it was interesting to tally that with what I was being told.

    difficult child 3's teacher accused him of lying. difficult child 3 had bloodied knees and had told the teacher that a group of boys had tripped him up. The boys told the teacher that difficult child 3 had tripped over his own feet. difficult child 3's friend quietly told me that he HAD been deliberately tripped, but the teacher didn't believe him - there were six bullies, vs just the two (difficult child 3 and his friend). So the teacher chose to believe the larger number, even though they had reputations as thugs.
    Later, difficult child 3 punched the head bully. The teacher saw him. "Did you punch J?" he asked.
    "No," said difficult child 3.
    That time, he WAS lying but it wasn't a complex lie, it was a lie of denial. We found that if we asked difficult child 3 to explain a situation in detail, THAT is when we got truth, even if he'd been lying before. He's just not fast enough or capable enough of inventing a really complex alternate story; for him, the truth always finds a way out even if he's trying to lie. As a result, he's learnt to not bother, I'll always catch him out. I also didn't punish at home for what happened at school. The school event was often punishment enough. At home I would get the story from him, try to work out what really happened (because sometimes he was telling the truth, but from his point of view, he would think someone had pushed him deliberately when they had only jostled him accidentally). Then we would role-play it, to try to find a better way he could have handled the situation. If appropriate, I would get him to write a letter of apology. But never anything more. Certainly no loss of privileges, no grounding, unless I felt he needed it for his own safety (such as keeping him home when he was a constant bully magnet every time he went for a walk).

    Any punishments need to be appropriate and immediate. Schools don't always do this.

    We went through this with difficult child 1 as well. His best friend (also Aspie) - same story. Very frustrating, but the pattern seems to be one of trouble, often with the kid nowhere near as 'bad' as they're painted by the school.

    Not an easy situation, but you and your wife need to be on the same page.

    Tell her I said hi. So does husband.

  12. 4sumrzn

    4sumrzn New Member

    I'm getting something out of these replies myself. Thanks for posting this. We went through a minor blow up last week over something similar. Difference being, it's with easy child. Long story short....I'm one of those moms that is obsessed with checking on easy child's grades daily....many times a day if I'm waiting on a test/quiz score:surprise:! He has always been a straight A student & we know what he is capable of. He's been slacking in some areas this year & bounces back if he knows we are going to take privelages away if he doesn't stay on top of his school work. husband finally had enough last week & said he didn't want to hear daily reports on his grades anymore......he could suffer the consequences when the report card came out & deal with them until the next grading period! Yikes. I disagree....if there is a missing paper, I wanna know where it is at! If he had a week to work on something & forgot, I wanna know why!So, I'm in the middle on this one & decided to continue to push easy child when I see he needs it....but, cut my talking about it so much by about 75%.I only speak to husband about it if it's major. I suppose we expect too much out of him, but when we hamper down on him he works harder & shows those A's. That won't work if we wait for every report card to show up!Like I said before, this is easy child though & he does very well at school. The others have given some good advice. I think if the service is available to check grades all means, I'm gonna do it! I'm just going to be more "hush-hush" about it.

    So much for long story short! LOL!
  13. dcwsaranac

    dcwsaranac I hear music...

    Finding the right balance can be difficult. You want to support the school, but doubling the consequences is very counter-productive.

    I made the mistake of dealing with my son much the way your wife has been. When he was diagnosed, the doctor explained that he lacked not only the ability to stop and consider consequences before he acted, but also the ability to look back and reprocess things the way a typical child would.

    We now monitor daily reports, but only to look for what circumstances brought on trouble. We then look for opportunities to put him in similar situations and use them as teaching moments.

    Discipline for school-time infractions are dealt with at school as soon as the infraction occurs. If we confront him with his poor choices, it only serves to belittle him and make him think that he is no good, or that we are just mean. Neither does him any good.

    Additionally, we allow him to earn tokens to exchange for a mega-reward by means of good reports (smilies) on his daily report. He feels better about himself, and us.

    Life ain't no picnic around here, but it's certainly become a lot more pleasant since we've begun to understand these things.

    Hope this forum helps. Tell you wife to put away the whip and pick up a plate of cookies.:peaceful:
  14. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    I agree with letting the school take care of school issues, but also following up with school to be sure the consequences are appropriate. My reputation preceded me from Miss KT's elementary school, so I didn't have much trouble at the junior high or high school. I'm the mom who e-mails the superintendent when I haven't gotten an answer to my question at the school level. There are times when school consequences can and should spill over into home, like when I took Miss KT's truck keys for poor grades, but for the most part, her school offenses stay at school, and are handled with detention, Saturday school, etc.