Saturday, November 1, 2008

And I Pay Money for This

We have carefully considered our options, and we will be putting Rocky into public school.

There were several things which convinced me. First, we spent all summer working with Rocky on academics, bringing him up to grade level on several subjects. This year, Rocky has asked his special ed teacher on several occasions to let him do the same math as the other kids in his class, but she has told him that he needs to do the same math as the other two boys in the "mobile unit". I don't understand the reasoning behind this, and when I was asked, I was told, "He needs to be with his class." Yes, and if he can do the work, why not challenge him by letting him be with most of the kids (aren't THEY the class?), not the kids who are delayed.

Second, the private school has informed me that it is my responsibility to get online every night and make sure he does the correct assignments. When I commented that part of his education was that he needed to write down the assignments and part of his educational plan was that the teachers were to check his assignment book, and that he needed to be accountable, Iso why did I need to get online to check them, I was told, "He may not have them down properly." I repeated that part of his educational plan stated that the teachers double check the assignments he wrote down. They told me they don't have time for that, so I was going to have to do so.

Oh-kay. So when I went online to check assignments, guess what--they weren't there. Guess Rocky isn't the only one who is not doing what he is supposed to.

However, the upshot was when one teacher decided it was her place to give me advice on parenting my child. She sat there and said, "Let me give you some advice. I have raised three kids to adulthood, and all turned out very well. What you have here is a child in puberty. Blah blah blah blah, be consistent, and don't let him get you upset."

I asked, "Have you read his history?" Oh, no, they didn't have access to that. The principal said it was part of his permanent record. At the time, I was trying to be nice, so I refrained from adding that it was all too easy to blame the mother for her poor parenting.

So let me say this now. To all you teachers out there: There are children in our society who have experienced unbelievable trauma. They have suffered physical, emotional, and sexual abuse. They have been neglected, starved, burned, molested, electrocuted, cut, beaten, and poisoned. Like prisoners of war, they have post-traumatic stress disorder, but to add to the horror of it all, these kids didn't suffer this torture from a perceived enemy, but at the hands of a birth parent, someone who violated the most sacred of responsibilities, the parental bond. And if the parent didn't actually do this, they sure didn't protect the child.

Then there are people out there who take in these children and take on their suffering. They attempt to lead normal lives while they, themselves, are abused by these children, who are now taking out their anger and lack of trust on the new parents. Rocky has healed from a lot of his trauma, but on this journey, we have had urination throughout the house, raging for hours and hours, fire setting, false allegations of abuse and neglect, constant battles for control and manipulation, stealing, constant lying, self-mutilation, abuse of animals, and threat of bodily harm to us and our other children. This behavior has been driven by fear and has created a vicious cycle--fear drives the behavior, which we need to address so we can get to the fears, but dealing with the behaviors leaves little time for the fears.

So, yes you have had problem children in the classroom, and you may have had a challenging child at home. Yes, your consistency and clarity about expectations probably did get results. However, they also caused more stress in the child once he or she got home, which makes homework that much harder. We don't tell you how to teach, so why do you think you can tell us how to parent?

So until you can tell me that "pushing your buttons" means that you have been awakened at night by a three year old holding your bread knife to your throat, or that you have to check your shoes for feces before putting them on, or that you frisk your child every hour for sharp objects which he can use to hurt himself or for matches because he set the house on fire not once, not twice, but four times, then don't deign to think that your banal parenting advice can help. Instead, sit down, put your santimonious attitudes about your superior knowledge of children aside, and for once, shut your mouth and open your mind to what you really can do to help a child.


Reverend Mom said...

Have you considered how distorted our view of normal is? We consider normal what others consider unthinkable. For you, checking your shoes for feces is routine. For me, asking Daughter if the voices are back and what they are telling her is routine. I hope that the new school will ease some of the school related stress around your house.

Munchkin Mom said...

Yep, we have skewed normal.

I went to a PTA meeting, which was a guest speaker on effective parenting (I sat in the back and was quiet the whole time), and one mom said her worst discipline problem is getting her five-year-old to sleep once she put him in bed. There she sat, whining about this, with her perfectly manicured nails holding her Lexus SUV keys and omnipresent Starbucks cup, and I thought, "Oh, to have that as my worst problem."


debinca said...

Hi Girls, Lova ya both.... Owl

all I can say is been there done that.