Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Summertime Blues

It's no secret that we've been battling with The Girl her whole life all year about turning in her homework and classwork. I complain about it often enough. The thing is, she's got a stubborn streak a mile wide, and she isn't the type of kid who gets grounded and thinks, "I need to fix this so I can get ungrounded." She's the type who says, "I'm already grounded anyway so what does it matter?".

That's the biggest source of my frustration with her. Because how do you punish a kid if she doesn't care about about being punished? I've tried the incentive program - rewarding her for good behavior - and that didn't work. I've tried punishing her by taking away things - most recently her whole life - and that doesn't work. So...what now?

Plus, I have to be consistent and follow through. One of the worst things I think you can do as a parent is not follow through. If you threaten punishment, and they don't keep up their end of it, you stand by that. It may not have the impact on The Girl that I want it to (punishments, I mean) but at least she always knows I'm serious when I tell her X is going to happen if she continues doing Y.

During her last round of punishments - when she came home with a D on her report card because she was missing 5 assignments - I told her if she missed one more assignment during the rest of the school year, she'd be grounded for the whole summer. And I meant it.

Unfortunately, when she's grounded, so am I. We've cut out camping/hiking trips, skipped the beach and the pool and even refused to go to barbecues and movies, all because TG is grounded. What's my summer going to be like if TG is grounded? They aren't going to their dad's until the last week of July or the first week of August (that's a post for another day) and I have a ton of things I want to do with them. I planned to get season passes to the local water park so we could spend our days there. I want to do trips the beach, day hikes and long camping trips. None of that is going to happen if TG is grounded. (Unless I hire a babysitter to stay with her, and don't think I'm not seriously considering it).

But then we come back to that "I'm already grounded so why does it matter" mentality that TG has. Apparently she'd forgotten the part about missing another assignment and being grounded for the whole summer. When I reminded her - after she missed yet another assignment - she completely freaked out. "No! Mom, summer is supposed to be a fresh start. We wipe the slate clean and start all over again! This isn't right. it isn't fair" blah blah blah. I have no sympathy for her. She knew the deal and she didn't care. I have a ton of sympathy for myself, because I didn't do anything wrong but my summer is still going to suck. But this isn't about me much.

Anyway, two hours, many tears and much drama later, we came to an agreement. According to the online system TG still has a D in math. That isn't a totally fair assessment, because her teacher still hasn't updated (even after a meeting and two phone calls with the principal) his gradebook, but still. So MM and I agreed that if she brings her grade up to a B, and agrees to do one major project around the house (something she wouldn't normally do - like painting) she wouldn't be grounded for the entire summer. If she brings it up to an A, she won't be grounded and she won't have to do a project. So, B and a project or A and no project.

I'm ok with this because she's going to have to work really hard to make that happen. Her test/assignment scores are going to have to be really high and she's going to have to do extra-credit work to make it happen. If she works that hard, I'm fine with rewarding her. It not, I guess my summer is going to suck wind.

So now that I got all that cleared up, I have some hope for the summer. Or I did. Until yesterday.When
I got a call from Little Man's teacher.

Like two months ago she sent home a packet with information about a huge State report they had to complete for social studies. She sent them home early so they'd have plenty of time to complete them. Little Man chose South Dakota as his state (which I kind of thought was a little like cheating since he was born there, but whatever) and seemed excited to work on it. Although we've had some issues with him not doing his homework in the past. for the most part he's a good kid and I don't worry about him too much. So when he told me his teacher was giving him time in class to do his report and that he was almost finished with it I took him at his word.

My bad.

His teacher said if he doesn't turn this project in and get a decent grade he'll end up with a C in social studies. If he brings home a C he'll be grounded for the entire summer.

I'm telling you, if it's not one it's the other. Unless it's both of them.

It might not be summer yet, but I already have the Blues.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Shouldn't He Have Outgrown That?

Remember this? Well, guess what? He did it again. Only now he's 11.

He spent hours crying last night from his bed. He didn't come into my room to get me and when I went to him he wouldn't tell me what was wrong, just kept crying. I wanted to beat him before all was said and done. And I still don't know what his problem was.

WTF is that about?

*image credit here

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

My Little Runaway

The Girl and I have been at odds the last few weeks over - what else - her not doing her homework assignments. Things finally came to a head last week when we got her midterm grades and she still has a D in math.

We had a huge blow up and then a long talk and I thought we'd cleared things up. Apparently not, however, because yesterday I found this note in her backpack. (Sorry the image is a little off..I need to adjust my scanner)

I have to give the girl credit for wanting to be prepared. She's going to wait until she's older and has a car, and she needs a brush for her own comfort. As a mom, I have to say I'm darn proud that she included "good shoes" and "toothpaste/brush" on her list.

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