Why Do difficult children Get So Many Chances?

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by DaisyFace, Mar 24, 2010.

  1. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not

    I am a bit aggravated today. Nothing earth-shattering...nothing new.

    But it's report card time again. And our schools have implemented a system where parents can monitor their child's grades throughout the year. I have been watching difficult child's grades, and I can't tell you how many assignments (especially homework) are ZEROES. Zero. Zero. Zero. Zero.

    I have been in contact with the teachers, who tell me that it is not that difficult child is having trouble with the work, she just refuses to do it.

    And now here we are at report card week--and suddenly all of these teachers are giving difficult child extra points for this and that. Math class, in which she has more zeroes than any other class and has been maintaining a 50% average--the teacher awarded her BONUS POINTS for great class participation and effort. WHAT???

    Science class, in which difficult child has been a solid D student--the teacher awarded BONUS POINTS for effort and DROPPED a bunch of missing assignments. So the things that were required of other students, are just not required for difficult child. She now has an A. What???

    So why must I go to meetings? And get letters about how my kid is not doing well? And asked to drive my child to tutoring? And told to encourage my child with homework? And attend teacher conferences? and yadda, yadda, yadda, yadda, yadda--

    when the end result is that difficult child seems like a nice kid, so we decided to give her a break. Another chance....

    Breaking the rules? O she gets another chance...

    Skipping classes? O she gets another chance...

    Caught in a lie? O she gets another chance...

    Refuses to do the work? O she gets another chance...

    "Forgot" about the project? O she gets another chance...

    Doesn't follow instructions? O she gets another chance...

    So difficult child earns "A"s...

    While my DS, who doesn't get all the chances...who does all the work....who follows the rules....who spends extra time on projects...who does extra credit...who goes the extra mile. He has earned all "B"s on his report card.

    AND DS was sent to the principal's office for using bad language on the bus. The school just cannot tolerate that kind of behavior. No second chance for him.

    It just doesn't seem fair...

  2. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip


    Onyxx complains that everyone else misbehaves and nothing is done, so she's just gonna do what she wants.

    It's not really like that just how she sees it. And I swear - if I speed 5 MPH over the limit there is a cop on me, but she assaults people and... nothing. Verbally, emotionally, physically. Kid also gets A's... She is in for a SHOCK when she gets to regular school.
  3. trinityroyal

    trinityroyal Well-Known Member

    I get the feeling that, with a lot of our difficult children, people think something along the lines of "This kid has so many struggles, it's just not fair that he should be failing school too. I'll just bend the rules a bit and give him a break this one time."

    Of course, they don't realize that all of his life, people have been bending the rules for difficult child "just one time", and he's only the last in a list. It allows the person (teacher, therapist or whoever) to feel good, that they've contributed to difficult child's success. However, it does nothing to address the difficult child's underlying issues, and it teaches awfully bad lessons such as Turn on the Charm and You WILL Get Your Way. Ultimately, people just want to be nice. But they don't realize the harm they are causing by doing so.

    We realized years ago with my difficult child 1 that cutting him any slack on anything does so much damage that it's not worth considering. He is completely binary. A rule is either all on or all off. If it's a little bit off, then it disappears completely.

  4. unsure

    unsure New Member

    Amen sister!!! Right there with ya and it doesn't make any sense at all.
    Our school's excuse is the "no child left behind" bs. And I'm sorry, but to me it si just that BS. They make unbelievable excuses and over look things to make sure no child, whether making an effort or not, gets held back......gggggggggggrrrr. I'm sorry, than what are you teaching them, that it's okay to be a slacker...excuse me!?!?

    My difficult child has been 'warned' by his teacher that if he fails to do his one minute read every night, he will receive an in-school detention. If he forgets it and we can't do it at home that night, then the next morning his homeroom teacher does it with him before he has that class...are you kidding me!?!? You're teach him what??? The only thing he has lost is recess time and he doesn't care!!! Doesn't phase him one bit...made the statement to me the other day that he probably won't get to go out for recess the rest of the year, but wasn't the least bit upset by it...oh well he says with a snicker!?!?
    Meanwhile, easy child suffers anxiety making sure everything gets done daily and just right. She gets high honors, but does that matter...difficult child is still going to graduate same as her, but without making even half the effort she did.

    And it's the same with the sports now too. EVERY child gets a trophy in the end whether they put worth the effort or not. We aren't teaching these children reality and it's no wonder those that don't have a disability already have difficulty functioning in "the real world" once they do get out of school!!!
  5. mavh2005

    mavh2005 Member

    You just described how I am feeling right at this moment... Wow. So glad to know I'm not the only one. difficult child's teacher actually said to me, "well she is going thru so much right now, we'll just wait and see." What??? School year is almost over and you want to wait and see?? We don't have time to wait and see anymore. ugh.. so tired of all the **** difficult child gets away with. I feel so bad for all the easy child's that don't get those same breaks... Its not fair.
  6. Shari

    Shari IsItFridayYet?

    I don't have this problem with Wee difficult child, but I dang sure do with easy child 2/difficult child.

    I had the same issue with the bigger boys when they were in school. They would wait til the end of the term and then turn in enough work to get whatever grade they deemed "ok".

    I was finally the one that put a stop to it by intercepting the work from every single teacher. Guess what? They both learned to do the work and turn it in on time...even difficult child 1.

    easy child 2/difficult child...as long as she continues to get by with it, I presume she will do only what she must to get by....great lessons, guys...

    I found out from another 7th grade parent that the school still uses a "ZAP" system. If the kid doesn't turn in an assignment, a ZAP is sent home, must be signed by the parent, and returned with the missing work the next day. Policy is, if a student gets more than 5 ZAPs, they serve detention. In this last go-round, easy child 2/difficult child had 6 missing assignments in math, 2 in reading, 2 in social studies, and 1 in science in a 5 week period. 11 total. She got ZERO ZAPs sent home. And since I blew it and called attention to it, she quietly turned in the work for full credit and got to participate in 100% club field day (no zaps and passing grades in all classes to participate).

    And I happen to know that one of easy child 2/difficult child's friends has had several ZAPs sent home this year...so what makes easy child 2/difficult child exempt?

    And that just doesn't cut it with me.
  7. daughter-difficult child's teacher looked at me like I had three heads when I explained that daughter-difficult child needed NATURAL CONSEQUENCES for her poor choices.

    Specifically IF daughter-difficult child decided to hide her assignment and had failed to turn in 60% of her project according to the teacher's time table that CLEARLY STATED late work would get zero credit... the HIGHEST grade she should receive for the final completed project would be 40% = F.

    :surprise: Bug eyed the teacher asked... "YOU WANT YOUR CHILD TO FAIL?"

    *SIGH!* The teacher just didn't get it.

    I can't say I can blame her. I had worked with MANY children for many years and had never seen behaviors like I observed in daughter-difficult child!!!!!

    Some kids actually do well with a "second chance."

    We didn't understand Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) when our difficult child was diagnosed. Most non-medical publications on the condition began being published 2-3 years after our daughter's diagnosis. For us "Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD)" was just a term the psychiatrist used to identify the numerous bizarre behaviors of our adopted child.

    We eventually figured out what worked for our difficult children and what didn't. We had learned that primarily through trial and error.

    Again and again our daughter was positively reinforced for her Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) behavior by this poor teacher who just didn't understand.

    That's the year we began homeschooling.

    We eliminated the "middle man" from our daughter's triangulization efforts of playing the "poor pitiful victim" to "horrible" us.

    That is the tangible point where daughter-difficult child actually blossomed!!!!

    ...until the age appropriate act of detaching as a young adult stirred up all her abandonment/attachment ****.

    That's when she (age 21) exploded.

    She currently resides in the middle of the comfortable little "triangle" she created to help herself feel in control...

    She's pretending we're horrible.
    She's playing the victim.
    She's sleeping in her rescuer's (grown up-moved out) child's bed.

    daughter-difficult child's rescuer is a master manipulator who had confided to me several times over past years that she was eager to have daughter-difficult child as her daughter-in-law.

    daughter-difficult child's rescuer is yet another one who just doesn't get it!
  8. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    Yep...when Miss KT was in 1st grade, I discovered she had had someone else do her homework for her. Not happening. The two of us went to her teacher, I explained what had happened, and asked for another packet of homework so Miss KT could do the work she was supposed to do. In front of my child, the teacher told me I was over-involved. In front of my child, I told the teacher she was an idiot. My child found that highly amusing, however, there were no more homework issues of that kind.
  9. notnowkids

    notnowkids Guest

    Wow, KTmom91, a teacher actually told you that you were over-involved? That's a new one ... granted my difficult child is only in 1st grade, but still, I've never heard that.

    DaisyFace, you're right, it's not fair. My difficult child has similar issues with not turning in/not doing work, and she gets full credit when she actually does what she's supposed to do. It drives me nuts, because I fully believe that her behavior warrants being retained for a year, but there's no way in Hades that the school will do that. They don't want to deal with the paperwork, they don't want to hurt her self-esteem, and frankly, they don't want their numbers to look bad for funding purposes (in my humble opinion).

    It's ****.
  10. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    The reason? Self-esteem. Seriously. This is what they told me when I had a fit. So I asked who was going to be there holding their hand when there self-esteem is in the toilet because they can't get into college, or if they can they can't maintain the grades, or when they can't get or hold a job to support themselves? ugh
  11. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    They can hold hands with all those trophies!
  12. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not

    Well as comforted as I am to hear that I am not alone in my frustrations, it is aggravating as all get-out to hear that other parents dealing with the same stupidity.

    So what is the lesson here, exactly?

    and it sure makes Mom and Dad look like idiots for emphasizing homework and study skills when those things are clearly un-necessary!

    Step--I have the same luck as you. I can't get away with a darned thing!

    Trinity--I think you are exactly right. Everyone wants to be the hero for difficult child, "just this once". And it only teaches her more of the same. It would be nice if a teacher had the guts to require difficult child to follow the rules like everybody else.

    Unsure--I agree. No Child Left Behind is Baloney! And trophies are worthless if they are not earned.

    Mavh--We'll wait and see??? What a great plan. I'd be aggravated, too.

    Shari--WTH??? I don't understand how these kids get away with half this stuff either...AND on top of that, earn rewards! It makes us parents into the bad guys every time.

    TALAN--Exactly right. Natural consequences should be the best teachers. And yet over and over we see teachers bend the rules for our kids. So what does that mean? is it a rule or not? I commend you for having the courange to homeschool. I don't think I could handle the extra stress...

    KTMom--I can't believe that! Truly, that teacher WAS an idiot. Ugghhh!!!

    Not now--You may be right about the paperwork and the numbers and the school rating and all that other garbage. It's easier just to let these kids slide through.

    Hound Dog--Don't even get me started on the whole "self-esteem" issue. in my humble opinion supporting self-esteem at the expense of life skills is hurting these kids far more than helping them.
  13. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Well...chances really bite them in the tookas. Cory was the king of chances. In 8th grade he skipped 88 days and I confidently told him at home that the result of that was he was going to be doing 8th grade again. Imagine my surprise when they informed me that he had been "placed" into 9th grade! I was livid. Just how does one miss over half a school year and go on to the next grade? Oh...and those were the number of days he skipped...not counting his excused absences!

    Then there was all the non-work that went on in his BED classes. I always said they named them right. He might as well have slept through them. The grand finale was when we got called into the principal's office 6 months before he turned 16 and they informed me that he was being suspended for calling his gym teacher a name and that if I would just take him home and never come back they wouldnt inform the authorities. He could quit school at 15 and we wouldnt be in trouble for truancy! This was his second try at 9th grade. Oh gee thanks. I gave up.

    So he learned there were no consequences. He always got his way out.

    Enter big boy court. He got taken in, he smiled, got a slap on the wrist, told not to do it again, be a good boy. Over and over again.

    Till I stepped in and charged him for stealing from me. Enter superior court. It wasnt funny anymore. There were real consequences. It was a real judge who wasnt laughing anymore. His record preceded him. Now he has felonies. He has Intensive Probation with time in jail. He was on house arrest. He has the threat of prison if he doesnt comply. He has to pay fines and restitution. Life isnt so funny anymore.

    Consequences caught up. His chances ran out.
  14. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not


    This is exactly what I am afraid of! So far, difficult child has had pretty much no consequences for anything. Since she is a child, most of the offenses have been at school (with the exception of shoplifting). Everybody has been eager to cut her a break and give her another chance. Over and over and over and over again...

    I fear the 'real world' is not going to be quite as understanding. And wouldn't it be nice for her to have learned a lesson or two before "real world" consequences kick in?
  15. tiredmommy

    tiredmommy Site Moderator

    I find the whole thing very demeaning to difficult child... they must think she's incapable of performing on par. I'm afraid they are hobbling your daughter.
  16. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    DF, I tried desperately to get anyone and everyone to make Cory accountable when he was a minor. He was on probation when he was under 15. When he was doing all his skipping school...actually he was put on probation the summer before that idiotic 8th grade year, he was told a condition of probation was for him to attend school without missing any days except for excused absences. The very first time he skipped I called his probation officer. I did it every single time he skipped. His PO did nothing. Oh he threatened him. He cajoled him. He told me I better make sure he went to school...lol. As if! I will never forget that December. I called the PO after I was alerted by the school that Cory had yet again skipped and what did Mr PO do? He picked Cory up and took him to a Xmas party for probation kids and gave him a present!

    Then...all of a sudden, late in April, after Cory had missed so many days, without telling any of us anything, he revoked Cory's probation...for what you ask? Skipping school! In August! Cory spent 5 days in Juvy. That was the sentence he had lurking over his head. 5 days.

    No wonder he didnt care. The consequence was meted out so darned late it was idiotic and it was so lax he didnt even know what it was. I was more upset than he was.
  17. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not


    I wish these experiences were unusual...

    When I was growing up there was a kid in my neighborhood--he seemed like a nice boy--except that he had this habit of stealing from all the neighbors. Little stuff like garden tools, fishing poles, pool toys...nothing really valuable. And each and every time he took something, his mother would take it away from him. If she knew who the owner was, she would alert them, but otherwise she would wait until a neighbor came to ask whether the boy might have taken their tacklebox or ballpeen hammer or beach ball or whatever. And each and every time the mother would return the item with an apology and she would ask if the neighbor wanted to press charges--she even offered to call the police herself! And over and over and over again, the neighbors would say what a nice boy he was--and how they didn't want to see him get into any trouble--and yadda, yadda, yadda, yadda, yadda...

    Well, the word in the neighborhood was that this was a nice boy with a whack-job for a mother. After all--what kind of mother would offer to call the police on her own child???? What parent would encourage you to press charges???? O truly she was nuts!!! And that poor boy seemed like such a nice kid...he probably just needed someone to give him a chance.

    (Is this beginning to sound familiar to anyone?)

    Eventually, that "nice boy" got together with a few of his "nice boy" friends and they stole some cars from a local dealership. At that point, pressing charges was not even a question. That "nice boy's" first offense was multiple counts of Grand Theft and he was sent to big-boy jail for three years.

    Of course, the talk in the neighborhood was that the boy's mother really should have done something to straighten that kid out. He's a "no-good punk"... And he obviously was not brought up right.

    At the time, I really didn't pay too much attention....I was just a kid myself. but these days, I find myself thinking about that woman a lot. She did everything to try and teach him when it was petty, small stuff....and nothing was working. And in the end, she got blamed for being this terrible parent anyway.

    I know that's how many of difficult child's teachers have viewed me over the years--as this crazy mother who is being waaaayyy too hard on her kid. The poor child just needs a break....
  18. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    DF...that is how soooooooo many people around here have looked at Tony and me. The wackjob parents who asked other folks to press charges when Cory stole from them or broke into their houses, shoplifted or did other stupid stuff. They looked at us with disbelief when we had him sent off. Medication, Sped? Oh my! We must have been horrible.

    Its funny. Cory may have had us but there are a ton of other boys who are just as bad or even worse whose parents did nothing but Cory actually tells us he is glad we tried all we did and if he has to make that decision for his dtr, he will choose what we did over doing nothing at all.
  19. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    The whole system is nuts. My nephew is 24 (I think) and his mom threw BOXES of tournament trophies away every year from first grade on! He played at least one sport at all times - excelled at all of them. But every single kid on the team got trophies. Until high school. Most of the trophies meant nothing. Not even the huge ones for best player, or city championships. I think he kept a few over the years. Most of them never even got put on a shelf. They got tossed into his room until he had to clean/dust and then they went into the garage. Most didn't even have a TEAM name, much less his name. He found it stupid and crazy to get all those tournaments. In 2nd grade he tried to get the coaches to give him the cash they spent on the trophy instead off the trophy. He was persuasive enough that one team did it - it was enough for a savings bond. Imagine if kids got a savings bond instead of a trophy? It would keep a lot of junk out of the landfill AND help pay for college or bail later!!

    Wiz kept getting chances. He didn't skip school though he did what I did. Used being in the Newspaper/Yearbook or some other club to get a LOT of passes off campus. At least he was that smart. He took a LOT of fluff classes in high school. Now he wants to go to college. With forensic science and two other fluff science classes, low math grades, no foreign language and many other requirements not met. He was really down last week because he needs a LOT of remedial classes before he can even try the general ed requirements for a degree. He got "great" grades in HS, but now they don't mean much and he feels like a real fool. He was trying to beat the "system". It worked at the time. Not so much later.

    But they will give him chances. And more chances.

    My bro got more and more chances up into grad school!!! Right now he doesn't want his daughter to get any of the "chances" he took. He knows his ex will give them to her anyway. we pray she won't need them, but who knows.

    All of these "chances" right now are to save money by not holding them back, putting them in juvy or jail, etc... In the long run is it a false economy. They spend a lot more time dealing with difficult children, and later consequences cost a lot more $.

    Ktmom- we got the "overinvolved" koi also. In first grade, in second, when we pulled him out to homeschool him (had to have a letter from superintendent. Was denied at first because we would then continue to be "over-involved in our child's life"!), in elem school, when he went to middle school and was psychotic (yes, it was our over-involvement that caused it - not the violent images on the computer he was addicted to!) and when we first called the cops because he hurt me and was trying to break a mirror so he could cut his wrists!

    It is what we are told when we catch them not doing their jobs by giving our kids too many chances rather than dealing with paperwork and difficult children.

    Sadly there is no end in sight for these chances. Not until the real world bites them, and each subsequent generation.
  20. trinityroyal

    trinityroyal Well-Known Member

    DF, this is too true. Over the last several years, I've been getting a first-hand look at the results of the self-esteem crusade. I'm often in the position of hiring and/or managing staff, and I continue to be astonished at how helpless too many of the young twentysomething workers are. Expecting to be spoon fed everything, looking for rewards for meeting basic expectations, unable to manage even the simplest challenge without a meltdown. Honestly! These are smart, capable people who've had all the gumption squashed out of them by the school system etc. never making them accountable. And these are PCs! How are our difficult children supposed to learn life lessons in this environment?

    Life does come along to bite them in the behind eventually. If they've never had the opportunity to learn accountability early on, it's a much harder lesson later, often with devastating life-long consequences.