Monday, July 5, 2010

Dear Teachers...

My son Jake is all boy. I've written about him before. Not only is he all boy, he is stubborn, strong-willed, opinionated, and impulsive.

As you can imagine, this makes him rather difficult to deal with at times.

Recently, he's been having a lot of trouble with his Sunday School teachers (who were also his Vacation Bible School teachers, by the way). For whatever reason, they don't seem to be able to control him. I'm not really sure why, because, while I realize that he's more difficult than the average kid, well, every other teacher he's ever had has managed to do just fine, and in fact to come out at the end of the year just gushing over how they love him. So I'm not sure what the deal is now.

I'm not trying to be mean, this is not directed specifically at his teachers now (both very nice women) and I'm certainly not one of those parents who thinks my child is perfect and all fault lies with the teacher, but....

Dear Teachers (present and future),

Jake is smarter than most kids his age. He doesn't like a lot of things that other kids his age like because he thinks they're for babies. Please understand and accept this and do not try to force him to do them.

Jake doesn't like to be touched. Please don't try to tickle him or pick him up or swing him around or anything like that because he DOES NOT LIKE IT!

Jake has lots of energy. Sitting (or standing) still longer than five minutes is very difficult for him. Please don't expect him to do it, at least not without a fight. If you absolutely have to have him sitting still, give him something to do with his hands - some playdoh, a paper and markers, anything, just to keep him busy. His hands will be moving, but his backside should stay put.

Jake doesn't like help. He'd much rather do something himself and get it wrong than have you stand over him helping him. You can blame this on me if you'd like, because I'm a process over product parent and personally I'd rather have a lopsided art project that's held precariously together than a perfect little craft that I know the teacher did most of the work on.

Jake has a lot to say. He will disagree with you when he feels like it. Please don't just hush him up and assume that what he has to say isn't important or relevant. Sometimes he has much more in-depth thoughts about things than most adults I know. Let him say what he needs to say. Just imagine, ya know, that it's you talking and think how you'd like it if you got hushed up all the time.

Jake eats all the time. Please, no, forget the please, this is not a request. DO NOT DENY HIM FOOD just because you don't like the way he's acting. I don't care if he's had you pulling your hair out all hour long, if it's snack time, give the kid a snack. And by the way, if you were in a paid position of teaching, you could get FIRED for denying a child food when all the other kids are eating.

Jake knows an empty threat when he hears one. Don't tell him he won't get to __________if he does/doesn't do ___________ unless you really mean it. All you do otherwise is undermine your own authority.

Jake gets upset. When he is upset, leave him alone. You trying to either calm him down, cheer him up, or force him to participate when he is like that will only make him worse. It's your choice. Leave him alone for 5 minutes while he calms himself down (which he's actually really good at) or fight with him for half an hour because he just wants you to leave him alone and you keep bugging him.

Jake gets every single one of his "abrasive" qualities FROM ME and I'm smart enough to realize this.

I don't like people to touch me either.

I don't like to do things that I think are stupid either.

I don't like it when people assume that because I'm younger than them I can't possibly know what I'm talking about either.

I am also stubborn, strong-willed, opinionated, and impulsive.

The only difference between us is that I repress most of mine and let it explode out of me with the force of a thousand hurricanes about two or three times a year, while Jake lets his out a little each day.

I know he's difficult, but he's still a little boy - a six year old boy still learning to deal with his own personality and if you could just have a little patience, a little understanding, and a little love for him, you'll get along just fine.

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