Parenting, Thing 3

Hope For My Adorable Little Demon Child…

As Wes gets older, I start to very easily see that a lot of his behavioral issues relate back to one thing: He’s perpetually bored.

At his parent/teacher conference a few weeks ago – she pointed out that his standardized test scores from earlier in the year were ABYSMAL. Like, in reading? He tested in the “needs immediate intervention” level. In Math it was close, but more like, “consider intervention”. I thought this was INSANE because – with his school work – it’s obvious he’s a good reader and good at math. But then his teacher pointed out a KEY element on the report.

The test time.

Do you know how long he spent taking a test that should have taken 20-30 minutes? TWO MINUTES. He basically filled out random answers and then finished because…BORING!

And when he gets in trouble at home? 9 times out of 10 it’s because he’s bored and I won’t give him attention or his sister won’t. He tortures BOTH of us when he’s bored.

It does help to see this as a “reason” because I can then convince myself he’s a struggling genius (he’s not) instead of a sociopath…but it still always concerns me because the only way he ever seems to have fun is when he’s torturing us in some way for attention. He can’t just enjoy himself in a normal way that doesn’t make someone around him crazy.

But last night? At Disney on Ice? HE WAS SO GOOD.

He made funny jokes, we danced, we sang songs…it was just a fun night all around. Sometimes I don’t like to take Wes places because he can be SO BAD, but last night? It was just a fun night and no one was torturing anyone. We even stopped on the way home for French Fries and STILL had fun even eating french fries! It was just nice and a reminder that he has the potential to enjoy himself without torturing everyone around him or showing off in inappropriate ways just to get eyes on him. He was NICE and he was FUN and it was EXACTLY what I needed to stop the nightmares I’ve been having lately of him being sent to juvenile detention at age 7.

Will he go back to his fun-by-evil tendencies? Yes. Will I continue to struggle keeping him from being bored but also teaching him that he needs to be able to entertain himself sometimes? Definitely. Will he make us all crazy? Without. A. Doubt.

But it will be easier with last night to remember that some days are better than others. They’re not all going to be a struggle.

3 thoughts on “Hope For My Adorable Little Demon Child…”

  1. My younger son is very similar in age and behavior to Wes. We have found that he misbehaves when bored as well. We asked his teacher to give him harder and more work in the classroom than the other students. It’s a Montessori school, so this is pretty easy to do. His behaviors quieted down almost immediately because he had so much work to do. He’s not averse to working and is quite proud of all the (volumes of) work he now brings home, but we learned if you give him much free time, he’ll find some way to cause trouble. I do look forward to a time when there can be down time at home and I won’t turn around to find a toy explosion in his room… which is one reason we’re so excited about his learning to read. I’d like to think it will encourage him to focus the curiosity and apparent need to stimulate his brain into an activity that doesn’t lead to more work later (for all of us). I also wanted to mention that I’ve found your “listen the first time” rule so helpful in our own family. It’s now tied to their allowance and so they have financial reasons to listen the first time. With time I have hopes it will become a habit.

  2. OMG, do we have the same kid? The ‘do anything to get attention’ behavior was driving us crazy. Thankfully as he’s gotten older (he’s 6 1/2 now), he’s able to realize how his behavior impacts other people. Wes’ learning empathy will save your sanity. In the mean time….our kids love logic puzzles. We have Rush Hour and Shape by Shape from ThinkFun–endless levels of difficulty, tactile, plus QUIET.

    We also ended up with complete opposite kid who is going to give herself an ulcer by grade 5 if she doesn’t get 100% on this week’s spelling words. (yes, I self medicate with wine and lifting heavy things)

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