Exuberance and Repentance

Monkey, who is now ten, has always been a very exuberant boy with a spirit that is simply impossible to contain. Not that I’d want to – his joie de vivre is one of the things about him that I love the most. However, what it does mean, is that at school it sometimes causes a problem. He will find a million reasons to get up from his desk (loo break, put something in the bin, get something – anything that means he can leave his chair) and en route he’ll stop at every other table to chat and socialise. His school reports have always been amazing, top grades all through for attainment and only the occasional B for effort – he is very lucky to be equipped with an intellect that means he doesn’t have to try hard to get top results.

Having said that, it is also his downfall. He gets bored, and that’s when the chatting and socialising take over and his teacher’s main problem is that kids who don’t have the same results end up falling further behind due to Monkey distracting them. Usually it all gets resolved by Monkey getting harder work to do (since year 3 he’s had maths with the years above and his teachers give him books for children 12+ to read), but there is the occasional mishap and this week was one of those. Twice – two days in a row – his teacher asked to have a word with me when I picked him up, and Monkey is now, as a result, serving time.

No screens (be it TV, iPad, Nintendo DS or Xbox), and no light nonsense like Diary of a Wimpy Kid to read. Oh no. This time I am not just threatening punishment, I’m following through and I will not let my bright kid scupper his own potential, because that’s what he’s doing – he rushes through his school work because he finds it easy, and doesn’t do his best. All he cares about is get it done so he’ll have more privilege time, but he’s not going to get away with that anymore, I won’t allow it. So I bought a stack of the classic reads (Huckleberry Finn, Goodnight Mr Tom, Charlotte’s Web and Treasure Island to name a few – hopefully these will feed his very capable brain and also ignite an appreciation for proper literature and not the light tosh like Wimpy Kid), and until he is once again showing consistent levels of doing his best and accepting that school is for learning, not socialising, he will be reading these classics and the screen time will be very limited.

I also made him write four pages reflecting on his behaviour. Why he made the decision to be chatty and cheeky, what went through his mind, what he will do to correct his behaviour and I also told him to focus on how bad he felt about being punished and use that as a reminder before making the decision to be naughty again. He’s freaking funny, I’ll give him that. His dad and stepmum had planned to take him to Centre Parcs this weekend, and mid-scolding from me, this dawned on him.

Oh my God, daddy will probably cancel,” he complained and got weepy.

We told him that this would be up to daddy and he may very well cancel, which we would totally agree with as Monkey has to learn that there are consequences. He just can’t behave like a complete criminal and expect to be treated to amazing weekends away, that’d send the wrong message. In his ‘Pages of Repentance’ that Evil Mamma made him write, the possibility of this weekend at Centre Parcs was mentioned. He’s bloody funny, even when he’s all glum:

“Daddy will probably cancel Centre Parcs, which will feel like a kick in the dangly bits.”

I marked his pages A+.

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