I have a child who is passionate about sharing his thoughts with others—a 9-year-old boy who loves to lead, imagine, play, and create. He speaks to both adults and peers the same.
And sometimes the way he communicates is intense, loud, and can even come off as rude or argumentative.
He is stubborn, wants to do things his way, and can be selfish. He internalizes his emotions when away from home, which can lead others to think he doesn’t care.
But he loves with his whole self and is extremely loyal. And all he wants is to be accepted and to be shown that he is cared for.
He is very smart—often an A student. But his mouth frequently gets him in trouble. His greatest challenge is keeping his mouth shut. So he finds himself in trouble with authority frequently. And his peers dislike his inability to keep quiet.
School is a challenge.
Discipline results in a loss of privileges to talk with his peers—no recess, exclusion from celebrations, sitting alone at lunch.
I do not sugar coat my child’s behavior. I know that he is not perfect, or the type of student that every teacher dreams of having in his or her classroom. In fact, most teachers would probably dread having him in their class because his talking is disruptive and off task.
Yet I, as a parent and former educator, struggle with accepting the choices that are made for my son because of his faults.
He talks too much and is constantly told to stop talking and is yelled at by his classmates to shut up. He gets sent to the office to do his work so the rest in his class can focus and he can as well.
He misses recess and is therefore prevented from talking when it is a time where he is permitted to talk.
He comes home defeated because no one likes when he talks—because he is constantly told this throughout his day.
At school, talking is his addiction. Yet no one helps him to control it. He is offered punishments when he doesn’t comply and rewards when he does. But there is no system to help manage his addiction.
As a parent, I am asked to punish him at home for his behavior in school—talking.
I try my best to show my understanding with his educators. In no way do I want to be confrontational or act in a way that alludes educators to think I am defending my son’s behavior.
He is not perfect. He has faults.
He could probably be categorized at ADD in school, but medication is not a solution I am willing to accept.
But is it wrong of me to want to scream at the top of my lungs that the people he is with for 35 hours a week need to raise him up, not bring him down?
If he doesn’t respond to material rewards, explore other options.
He is not a hopeless cause.
But if he is treated like one, he may one day shut up and no longer share anymore. And if that does happen, then the situation will take a drastic turn.
Praying for clarity, peace, love, and understanding. And most of all, help.