You know how, as parents, we are supposed to teach our kids certain things that everyone expects you to teach them and as an adult you’re supposed to agree with? But what if your kid rejects these lessons and you agree with his objections? Like homework. Max thinks all school work should be done at school and there shouldn’t be any homework. I happen to agree with him. He already spends 7 hours a day in school. Then he’s supposed to come home and spend another hour or two (or sometimes three, because Max takes a long time) doing more school work? What about down time? I need to get him to be more active but his mental health requires that he have several hours of no expectations or work of him. I NEED THE SAME THING.
Max doesn’t like P.E. In fact, he hates it. I did too. I would hate it even now. P.E. is a horrible class in which if you can’t perform well you are constantly humiliated and at odds with your teacher. Plus – P.E. teachers are almost always the bully types. People who LOVE sports and think it’s a shortcoming in you if you don’t. Plus they’re often mean*. I’ve had a lot of them so I know something about this. I know a lot about falling short in physical activity and hating having to do organized exercise. It wasn’t that I hated physical activity – I rode my bicycle all over town and I also walked a lot. Not to mention tree climbing and romps in the park. So how can I reason with Max about P.E. and get him to cooperate when I share all his feelings about it? He might be flunking P.E. at this point. His teacher doesn’t sound like the understanding or flexible type which is all the fuel Max needs to be rigid and difficult.
How can I teach him to be honest but at the same time demand that he not tell people what he really thinks because it might a) get him in trouble b) hurt someone’s feelings or c) make people angry? I know it’s really about teaching him when to share his honest opinions and when it’s appropriate not to. When you should lie to make a person feel better about themselves and when to be brutally honest. These subtleties do not come easily to him. To give him credit – for a kid with very little brain-to-mouth filter he’s doing pretty well at learning to pick his moments but the messages we’re expected to send kids is at odds with the behaviors we’re supposed to teach them. Honesty is the best policy – except for when it isn’t. And he notices these inconsistencies constantly and calls people (and me) on them. Other adults are not keen on this habit of his.
Questioning authority, social mores, ethics, and rules – I approve of all these things and yet as his parent I am supposed to be teaching him to also respect these things. Helping him find the balance is much harder than I ever imagined and as I prepare to go to our second SST meeting at school this afternoon – I have no idea how I am going to face his P.E. teacher without giving her a set-down. How will I be able to mediate between him and the school satisfactorily when I am championing his needs and I am as otherly as he is?
*P.E. teachers are NOT mean to the kids who excel or at least do relatively well in their classes.