Saturday, March 21, 2009

How narcissism starts

I called a mother the other day to come help me deal with her son who was pitching a fit for more than an hour. The teachers and I could not get the child to calm down. Since he was crying and snotting (not a pretty sight on an 8 year old), we could not understand what he was saying.

When the mother walked in, she cuddled and hugged him and interpreted his whining. It turns out, he wanted his money he forgot at home so he could go to the book fair.

So she rewarded his fit pitching abilities by taking him to the book fair.

Since she forgot her money at home, she asked if money could be borrowed from someone at school.

Lets sum this up. Your kid interrupts instruction in multiple classrooms by screaming and crying. Office staff and administration stop everything to help out in during this crisis which includes finding thrown eye glasses and dragging screaming child out from under a computer table. A teacher is pulled from her class to assist in interpretation attempts even though her second language skills were clearly not in the language of whining. Patience has been tried and drinks have been planned. And now you want someone to whip out their wallet to assist you in your sick game of rewarding bad behavior.

Just how big must the ovaries in this woman be but not likely I will ever know as I'm not an OB-Gyn?

This child will have many hard, hard lessons to learn later in life once he finds out the world, in fact, does not spin around him.


Kulio said...

Arrrrgh!!!! She should watch the Dog Whisperer -- I've learned many a good parenting tip from Cesar Milan - ha. We do that with our dogs - they get upset? We pet and cuddle them! What does that tell them? That getting upset will get you love!

Now I will say that it is a very sad thing to forget your book money on Book Fair day...but at that point as a mom I would have immediately taken him out of the school, and home, and put him to bed saying, "No one can help you when you are throwing an inappropriate fit. When you are done, then we will talk."

Why am I saying this to you??? Um, I guess the whole story just makes me desperately want to give a parenting class!!!

Pseudo said...

Did you suggest he not be rewarded? Wondering what a Principal can do ; -)

BTW Love your header.

Call Me Cate said...

I may have bitten my tongue clear in half. Wow. Thanks for stopping by my blog today!

only a movie said...

I know that kid. I love a good tantrum. I think I may be an expert on breaking them.

Yesterday we had two concurrent tantrum throwing boys - for over an hour. My assistant and I waited them out. It was a hoot (really was). We have the luxury of day treatment level staff to do those things so that when they return to their sending schools, they will have been broken of the habit.

You don't get what you want by being nasty and scary. It just won't work.

Kristina P. said...

So, did anyone lend her the money? Entitled kids is probably the biggest issue we are dealing with with out teenage drug addict clients. It's HORRIBLE!

Michel said...

OMG if that had been my mom, your post would have had a VERY different ending. She would have given you money not to report the beating to the police....

Candice said...

Hey nice new look. The tulip stem (on the main paige)looks like my legs at the moment. Just thought you might want to know that.

Shangrila said...

Unreal. My kid would have known to ask politely if she could please call home. Likely, I would have told her that while I sympathized, the natural consequence of forgetting something is having to do without. I tell my kids, "You have a problem. How are you going to fix it?"

Sometimes, as a parent it's so tempting to do the easy thing, to get the big smile and short-term reward of closeness with your kid, but I try to remember that unless I want them LIVING WITH ME UNTIL I DIE, I'd better pony up and give them some basic life skills!

You should've said (hey, you asked-lol!) "Unfortunately, Little Bobby will have to attend two days of in-school suspension for interupting the learning of his classmates and failing to communicate with us in an appropriate way." Then she would've looked like a complete ass for coddling him! Hang in there!

Aracely said...

What a booger, and I can't even bum cash from my mom without my stomach turning let alone some random stranger at my sons school, Wacko!

I love that Waterhouse, I'm hanging one in "my" bathroom when my husband moves out ;-)

Unknown said...

Unfortunately, the mom will repeart her actions as she has yet to learn how to raise a responsible child who can interact/communicate with others.
I, too, would have yanked him home, but then there's no way in hell a child of mine would have thrown a tantrum at scool - they saved all their tantrums for the home front.
God I despise whiny kids!

Beth said...

Kulio - Now I am going to plan to watch the Dog Whisperer. And I'd love to teach a parenting class. The only problem is the ones who need it the most won't come or listen.

Pseudo - You know me so well. Actually, I sent the little guy home and when he came back he had a day of ISS. Since you don't get to go to the book fair in ISS (even if it is the last day), he just missed out. But he didn't seem to care. Probably because his mother took him to Books-A-Million. It is a sad situation.

Only a Movie - I wish we had some other options besides OSS and ISS for fit pitchers. I tip my hat to you teachers who put up with fit pitching on a regular basis. It makes my blood pressure raise.

Kristina - I've always wondered what happened to the kids with no limits. How sad!

Michel - My mother would have backhanded me all the way to the car.

Candice - Nice legs! Girl, how do you handle getting caught up in the sheets?

Shangrila - I actually did punish the child but I think everything she does overrides what we can do. And fortunately, most kids still know what to do when they forget something. It just seems like we have more and more parents who aren't really willing to be parents.

Three Boys 1 Mommy - I hear you on the cash. That could have been part of the explanation from the parent. But no... she couldn't bear for her precious baby to go without.

Beth said...

Gaston Studios - My kids only had a few tantrums at home. I took some pictures of it because I knew they weren't going to live long acting that way and I wanted something to remember it by.

Unknown said...

I can't stand that! My cousins daughter is an only child. One day, when all of our kids (I have 2) were about 6, we went in the store. All of the kids wanted cookies; it was right before dinner.. Cousin said no. Little cousin thew a fit.. Cousin caved in and bought enough cookies for her daughter. My kids were OK with "no." They couldn't understand why she got them just because she threw a fit.

This world is full of self entitled children. I would love to see them throw a fit later on in their lives because they didn't get their way


Gone, long gone. said...

It's not always fair or right to punish the child for the parent's actions/teachings is it? Also some children that aren't well adapted or may have problems outside of general social behavior may become easily overwhelmed and not have the experience or skill to even rationalize that their behavior won't get them what they want once they've melted down.

Sensory Integration Disorder can wear on a child's nerves just as a constant headache can wear on your own. Eventually one small thing can send you over the edge.

I'm not saying that this is the case here, but I am saying that sometimes people are too quick to punish the child. After all, do you punish a dyslexic child if they resist reading for you? Maybe not after you've learned that there may be some reason for the child's behavior that they are not entirely able to control.

If you care about the child then you try to get them the help they need, which can be exceedingly difficult without cooperation between teachers and the parents. Especially parents that have no clue as to the challenges that their own child may be facing because they take the path of least resistance rather than the challenging path that can provide lasting benefits to the child.

Ann Imig said...

Parenting is such a struggle, and I am someone who has plenty of support to draw from. Its so sad to see a basic lack of parenting skills. Then again, same observation could be made about me daily, I'd imagine ;)

Beth said...

dizzblnd - It can be harder for some parents to stand strong before their kids demands. I have had friends who have had the same issues.

Maelstrom - Certainly, it is HARD to know what is going on inside. And I struggle with trying to balance consequences with what is probably consequences the parents should receive. But I am a firm believer that parents who create issues should have to live with the issues - which is why I sent him home. And it is always hard to tell what is going on inside a child with bad behavior. That is why I rely on parents to keep me informed. In this case, the child is not a regular fit pitcher. He seems to be learning that at school, his fits don't work so well. When do the other kids matter? If we totally kow towed to the fit pitchers, we wouldn't be able to teach the standards we are mandated to teach. There are no standards related to fit pitching and it isn't on the test. That being said, eight years old is OLD to be fit pitching. In years down the road, a police officer won't give a shit about a sensory integration issue or bad parenting (which ever it is) if this boy grows up and pitches fits still. It is our obligation to help him learn to control his actions - disability or not.

Ann - I never won any awards for my mothering skills. Parenting IS hard. And I feel for the children who just get no direction or consequences. Somehow you don't seem to fit into that category in my mind.

Anonymous said...

The kid will have many life lessons?

I can't wait to see the one the MOTHER is going to have by being the MOTHER of an uber-spoiled teenager who thinks the Universe revolves around him. I mean, more so than your average teenager.

Think I could find someone to document those years for our viewing pleasure?

Gone, long gone. said...

I do understand that. And sending a child home should be a message to the parent that they have something they need to take action on. I think a punishment like that that forces an inconvenience on the parent is much better than one that only punishes the child (such as writing sentences, or detention). I'm not saying that what you did was wrong, I only wanted to post up something a little off the beaten path of the other comments.

Beth said...

Jan - Good point. The mother is going to learn many lessons.

Maelstrom - I like different views as they often give me a chance to grow. And the only writing a child gets for punishment is writing an apology. I would hate for writing to ever be a punishment (because I don't want writing to get a bad rap). Keep your off the beaten path ideas coming! I like being challenged.

Liz Wilkey (a.k.a. A Mom on Spin) said...

Excuse me. . . but is the book fair more than just a one day event? Perhaps she should have punished him for the day and rewarded some good behavior the next.

Tricia said...

What a story, and what a mother! It's amazing what you must see, experience and have to spend valuable time and energy dealing with.

Pseudo sent me here after reading on my blog that I'm struggling with the idea of public school and have an upcoming kindergartner this fall. I've been reading through some of your archives, and I think you've convinced me that I have to find a way to keep my child in a different environment, preferable Montessori, rather than jump into the GA system. Probably not your intent, but the more I read in various places, the more concerned I am about student (and parent) culture of public schools. I think I may have to start buying lottery tickets!

Unknown said...

This is just another day at the office for many who work in the school system.

I have a child in the classroom who never brings a snack. One time I lent him a quarter for the snack cart because he was hungry.

He started to expect that I was always going to do that! When I told him I couldn't do it he said, "My mother said you have to give us something to eat, IT'S THE LAW!!!

I wrote a quick note to his mom explaining that he was without a snack everyday and was very hungry at snack time. We could provide a snack for him from the snack cart for $1.25 a week.

A note came back asking for a list of what was on the snack cart, as she wanted her child to have a "healthy snack".

I sent her a list ( which was beyond the call of duty).

A note came back bemoaning the fact that there wasn't fruit on the snack cart and that she did not want him to have a snack from the cart.

He still does not bring in a snack, and we checked to see if perhaps he was hiding or had thrown out something he didn't want.

Whatever! We tried.

Peace - Rene

Beth said...

lizspin - The book fair is a week long event. I agree with you on letting him go to the book fair as a reward for good behavior.

Tricia - I worry about writing stories that make public school sound bad. The stories are real and they are a part of what we deal with on a daily basis. Honestly, the stories about the vast majority of students would be rather.. umm... boring. And we get a lot of students who move to our school each year from private schools. Still, I wouldn't dream of sending my children any place but to public school. My boys have had experiences and opportunities that a private school could only have wet dreams about. And they've learned the brutal truth that there are all kinds of people out there. It hasn't all been perfect; however, it has mostly been good. But where we send our kids to school is a personal decision and I respect that. Good luck with your choice. I'll be more than happy to answer any questions you may have (you can email me).

Rene - Hilarious! That mom wasn't too worried about the unhealthy snack as long as she wasn't paying for it. Sometimes, you just can win with them.

Fragrant Liar said...

I wonder if Mommy interpreted all the unwanted attention for her brat child as a reflection on her, and it was she soothing her embarrassment that was the impetus for taking her kid to the book fair. ??

Lori said...

This is why my awe and respect continuously grows for you and others that teach and work at schools. I know that all of you deal with many things that go above and beyond your job description. Constant challanges, budget cuts, parents, children with a wide range of issues...ect. Yet, you get up every morning, Monday thru Friday and do it all over again. Not enough thank you's and getting blamed for things that are out of your hands. Bless you for all that you do for children to get an education.

One of the greatest lessons we can teach our children is in fact that the world does NOT spin around them. And that can be tough in this "all about me" world. Hope you have a happy Monday!

Tricia said...

Beth, I'm in love with you already. But truly, if I bombarded you with questions, I'm quite sure you'd ban my email address as spam. I don't want to be one of the parents you describe in your blog, really I don't. But, I truly have so many questions/concerns related to the bureaucracy of public school...the methodology used to teach, why we test until we're filling in little bubbles in our sleep, has No Child Left Behind exchanged creativity for accountability for both teachers and students, why some schools use Montessori methods in the gifted programs, but not in the "regular" classrooms, why we expect children to develop at the same pace, why we have parents who don't seem to care, and helicopter parents who seem to care too much, why do children have to switch teachers each year, when it seems to take just that long for a teacher and student to truly know each other and click, why we try to make our children conform rather than celebrate their individuality and play to their strengths...oh my goodness, do you drink? Can I take you out for a margarita and pick your brain until I'm may take awhile :o) I don't question the validity of public school vs private school, because quite frankly the teaching methods are very similar...I question the whole system. I truly am a parent in hell who wishes she could simply take it at face value, but I can't.

nikkicrumpet said...

OH goody....I can see a future politician in the making. God help this planet.

Smart Mouth Broad said...

I swear I know this woman and her child. I had no idea they traveled so far to school. LOL Grrrrr

Jason, as himself said...

I've actually been thinking a lot about narcissism lately. Believe it. Or not.

Anonymous said...

I don't know how I found you but I've been reading you for the last .... ok way too long... you are cracking me up. And I can only breathe a sigh of relief you don't work in my daughter's school- I know this because I am in Florida and not Georgia! ;)