A Mother’s Frustration

I'm going to vent here for a bit.  Occasionally I just need to get things down on 'paper' so feel free to read, sympathize or don't.  Just don't judge.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

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Transition to 4th grade has not been the easiest.  Going from a class of 17 to 26 is quite a change. More children means more personality differences to learn to deal with. The teachers don't have as much time to give to each student and are under increasing pressure to teach all the skills they are required to teach. 

The kiddo has been struggling with behavior for the past couple of weeks. I know and the teachers have also said that he becomes bored easily. The boredom then leads to distracting behavior, complaints from other children, inattention, and a few grades lower than we know he is capable of.  

I am so very thankful he is a gifted and intelligent child. I don't mean for that to come across as conceited. Heaven knows I can't take credit for it. We are very blessed in that respect. But that in and of itself can cause issues when they are among 25 classmates who are on 25 different levels. He has wonderful teachers who do their best to challenge him, but getting it across to him that he has to focus and pay attention even if he understands the material quickly has been challenging these past couple of weeks. 

The educational system in general isn't fair to the teachers by overcrowding their classrooms. However the majority of teachers I know go above and beyond to compensate for this. I won't go off on all my frustrations with the bureaucracy and politics of our country's educational system for right now though.

His stubborn streak, which when guided in the right direction will one day be his strongest trait, isn't much of an asset right now. Throw a few strong headed children in one group together and disagreement is bound to rear its ugly head. And I wonder if to make up for his small size he tries to argue louder than others.

And yet, that's something they each need to learn — getting along with others and compromising.

Being an only child, the social aspect of school is just as important for his growth. There are times when I think how much more and all the enriching things I could teach him if we home-schooled, but the social aspect would be missing here in a small town with fewer opportunities for home schooled children. I am thankful that our system sees the importance of enrichment activities like foreign language, extra science and art.

But in general I think the higher level children are the ones left behind. I'm not saying any less time and attention should be given to the other children, but it seems so much focus is put on the ones struggling that the ones who are ahead are left to themselves in many cases. I'm not saying my son's teachers are that way. They are not. They do their best to challenge him and I am very grateful. 

After a meeting with his teachers this afternoon I am spent. Physically and mentally.  Not sleeping well last night didn't help matters either. I just want to go hide in a warm bubble bath.

Frustrated with trying to figure out how to guide his strong will, help him see the potential for becoming a good leader, how to discipline him, how to get him past the boredom, how to make him see that an argument isn't the answer to a conflict and that being a leader does not mean being the boss. And how to do all this while still encouraging his God given gifts and talents and individuality. It's just a bit much. I know it will pass.

It's brought me to tears a few times. I've disciplined and lectured until I feel I'm punishing myself more than him.  I question everything from how we've parented him to does he have ADD to what he eats. I truly don't think an ADD child could sit for hours and build lego cities or paint or read, but the thought does flit across my mind on occasion.  On the other hand I know I would not give him medications that haven't been around long enough for researchers to know what problems might arise years down the road.

If I'm honest with myself I'm also embarrassed. Do people see his behavior and think I'm a bad parent?  I also don't want him to have a reputation as a behavior problem causing others to treat him badly. He doesn't make friends easily and that can worry any parent.  I don't want him to grow up lonely and friendless. I will readily admit he's not the easiest to get along with.

I know this transition will take a bit of time. He will get there. He and I both will be okay. I know that. God isn't surprised by any of this. He sees the amazing person the he will become. I only see small glimpses. Small extraordinary glimpses I am thankful for.

There is a special education child in his class.  They have been classmates for 3 years now. And I am so proud of how he helps this other child and treats him. He is such a good friend, helping with his work and anything else. One of his teachers made the comment that she overheard this child tell him that he was his best friend.  I am so incredibly grateful for his tender heart toward these special children and I am so grateful for teachers that see that in him and praise him for it.

I am thankful that he is here to cause problems like this. I know many children are fighting cancer or lyme or disabilities. I'm not writing this to have a pity party or sound ungrateful or gain sympathy. I have friends who no longer have their children here on earth to become frustrated with. I know this little bump in our journey is nothing compared to those nightmares. 

Thanks for just letting me write my frustrations out. I know tomorrow will be a new day and with it a new perspective.  Sometimes it's just tough being a mom.