Friday, November 18, 2011

A Proud Mommy Moment

As a parent and an advocate against bullying, I continuously communicate with my children about being kind to one another and if someone hurts them in school, then they need to tell their teacher or a trusted adult.

I have a very shy and introverted 7 year old little boy. Dylan has anxiety, an adjustment disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder and a touch of oppositional-defiant disorder. When things don't go his way, he gets angry and it's hard for him to listen to reason. He has been getting much better this year than last year, however and that is a good thing.

At the end of September, I received an email from his first grade teacher, saying that Dylan was bothering other boys in his class by poking them and shoving them. I just sat there, staring at the computer screen totally dumbfounded. I knew I had to have this conversation again, especially since I do nothing but talk about bullying on facebook and other areas. How could people take me seriously if my own son wasn't following what I have been preaching?

After school, his father and I sat him down and had a long talk about this issue. At first he denied it (of course), but I can usually tell when my children are trying to lie to me. He finally gave in, and told me that other people were picking on him, so he was poking them to get back at them.

This is where I went through the list of what he needs to do, in order to take care of the situation, without being a bully himself. He tried to rebuttle by telling me that he's not allowed to tattle (something his father and I can't stand when it's the petty stuff like "He's looking at me!"). I explained to him that tattling and telling are two different things, and it's ok to tell his teacher that someone is picking on him. I explained that if he were to take care of the problem by being a bully back, then he would get into trouble as well, and that is not acceptable. I explained again about kindness and learning to accept others, even if we do not necessarily like them. He just kept nodding and was getting irritated with me, and I know my son well enough to know that when he starts to get irritated, he starts to shut down.

Just recently, we had our first parent/teacher conference. I was nervous about going because of this situation, but I needed to know what was going on since that incident. I asked her how he was doing, and she smiled and said that she didn't know what I had said to him, but that his entire attitude had changed. She said that he now stands up for himself, and if someone picks on him, he will FIRST tell them to please stop and that he doesn't like what they are doing (I didn't actually go over that part with him, but he picked it up on his own!). She said if they don't listen to him, then he will go straight to her and tell her what is going on, and then he lets it go.

Can we say HOORAY??!!! I am so incredibly proud of him!! I almost cried during the conference!! After the conference, I went home and immediately picked him up into this huge bear hug and told him how proud of him I was. I asked him to please keep it up, and to always stand up for himself in an appropriate way. Dylan apparently wasn't shutting down on me. He was listening in his own way, and he wasn't really irritated with me. He was processing the information given to him, and I should have known better to think he had tuned me out. We ask our children to listen to us...and we should listen to them in return.

Communication is the key for our children to be successful. Open up the dialogue and discuss the important issues with them. Trust me, they ARE listening.


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