Sunday 25 May 2014

"Sad Letters" from the teacher .... I am SOO in the #badmumsclub

Last term Ben came home from school with a 'sad letter' from his teacher.  He wasn't alone, a few of his friends also came out of school brandishing the white paper of dread.  Turns out a group of them had been fighting in the playground, teasing another child and then running away.  I was cross.  This was NOT how I'd brought my son up.    Not only was he, rightly, told off for his behaviour by the teacher he has been sent to the Headteachers office with his friends to explain their actions.
   Let me put this in context if you are new to my blog.  Ben is 5 YEARS old. He is a 'normal' kid, that is I cannot hide behind autism or ADHD or another 'problem' for the way he behaves.  yes he lashes out, he's 5, trying to control his temper is really difficult but that's not an excuse.  At the time of this first letter he had been in his reception class for around 4 months.
  Of course we didn't let it go, he was made to apologise to his teacher the following morning when he went into school and had his PS3/ DS time taken away for a week.

Apparently this was not enough as last week he brought home ANOTHER 'sad letter'.  This time for "repeatedly kicking another child" at lunch time.  I was cross.... worse then that I was LIVID!! How dare my son hurt another child let alone repeatedly kick him.

I asked him why he'd done it and who it was too and he just shrugged and said "I don't know".  He got in from school and was sent to his room to think about his behaviour.  Eventually he came down telling me it was 'J' he had been kicking because he wanted to be left alone and they kept pestering him.  A plausible reason (and very Ben) but it didn't wash with me. He wasn't sorry, he didn't care, he couldn't see why I was angry.  So I took away his PS3/ DS time for 2 weeks (this didn't go down well especially as it's half term this week) and also told him he wasn't going to football training this week.  But here's the dilemma - he had a play centre party on Saturday.  A huge part of me wanted him to not go.  A massive part of me wanted to keep him at home, doing something really boring and missing out.
  However his younger brother knew we were going and he was looking forward to it - was it fair to punish HIM for his older brothers actions??  (and no I couldn't take Noah and leave Ben at home as hubby works weekends).
  Knowing how expensive play centre parties are was it fair for me to text the mum of 'T' and tell her Ben wasn't going?  It was far to short notice for her to find someone to take his place.
  Is it fair to 'T' for one of his invited friends (he could only have 10) not to go and share his birthday when he could have invited someone else??

Ben was made to sit and write an apology letter to his teacher before tea time, thinking about what he had done and why it was wrong.

I was still unsure on the party factor when I went to bed.  I had various friends on facebook telling me that he shouldn't be going and stuff the other family involved, other people telling me I was doing right by punishments but not offering me any advice on the party front.


Still very undecided and with no guidance, hubby very helpfully just shrugged and said "I don't know", I took the kids off to Morrisons for some shopping.

He wasn't too badly behaved, just a little "free spirited", so again I was still debating the decision.  He helped me pack the shopping (brownie points) cramming as much as possible into his rucksack and we headed out the store.

On the way out was a charity collector, dressed like an orange Elmo.  I couldn't tell you what charity he was as I am (I do admit) rather blinkered to them now.  The last thing I want to do when bogged down with shopping is stop, root in my purse and give to everyone who sits in the entrance way (it's a regular occurance in SOO many shops now-a-days, and don't get me started on chuggers!)

anyways, I digress, Ben and Noah's latest TV obsession is Sesame Street so to see an 'Elmo' (well personally I thought he looked like an Orange Cookie Monster but....) made their day.  Ben said hi to him and gave him a hi five and I continued to walk (apologising for not donating).  It was only half way out the door I realised Ben wasn't with me.  I turned around and he was deep in conversation with the chap, I am sure telling him about how fantastic he is in Sesame Street and being humoured.   As I was about to tell him to hurry up he put his hand in his coat pocket, took out his 5p and put it in the charity pot.  The face of the collector and everyone around was a picture (it almost brought tears to my eyes), especially as on the way out the shop he told me if he had pennies In his pocket he would give them to other collecting people next time he sees one.

I melted, I couldn't stop him going to the party after such a selfless act .  We've been trying to teach him the value of money as he earns his pocket money and uses it for his football lessons, his pocket money had been stopped for this week after the incident at school.

I made sure he knew how kind he had been and that the only reason I was changing my mind about the party (up until this point he thought he wasn't going) was because he'd thought about someone else first.

At the party

We were discussing our boys and I mentioned to another mum that Ben very nearly didn't go and the reasons why and another mum (one of the ones I get on with) said "yes, it was 'C' that he'd been kicking".  I apologised to her and thanked her for letting me know telling her he had been punished for doing it.  I then pulled him straight out the play centre and made him apologise to C's mum.  If there wasn't a half term coming up I would get him to write C an apology letter but by the time they go back it'll be such old news C probably won't even remember.

I was glad in a way that I'd had the chance to discuss it with her as I know what people are like for bearing grudges.  I wish she'd told me (text me?) to let me know what had gone one .... however perhaps she was waiting for me to text her an apology thinking Ben would have told me??

I got totally flamed by one of my old work colleagues who pretty much called me a bad mother for letting him go to the party, however others said yes, he had redeemed himself with the charity collector and so long as the other punishments stuck they didn't see the harm in the party.

What do you think???
What would you have done??