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Helping Luey harness his natural tenacity - a lightbulb moment for me...

Ok, been having a few issues with Luey lately. I'd posted on AB about our run in with his teacher last Friday after he dug up the class hermit crab; which had died and was buried with a suitable ceremony the day before. On Friday Luey had decided to dig up the crab because, as we discovered later, he wasn't aware that when something dies, it's stays dead, he thought the crab would be alive again after 24 hours in the ground.

The teacher was mortified (her words), on reflection I'd say because she'd staged the whole funeral so she could show the parents how sensitive she was to all the kids in the class (a photo of said ceremony has pride of place on the notice board outside the classroom)... Apparently, Luey showed no remorse for upsetting the whole class by digging up the vrab. She neglected to tell us that after she sent him to the Vice Principal's office, he'd written an apology because he felt too shy to say the word, "Sorry". She told me he'd shown absolutely not remorse (he'd actually cried in the VP's office, but she didn't know that at the time, though she still did have his written apology, but obviously felt that didn't count)...

ANYWAY, this week was no different from many others in recent weeks. Luey basically argued EVERYTHING. He threw one tantrum after another. Luey, since the age of about 4, has been prone to tantrums, but Dave and I agree that it's not just in our imaginations that the frequency of these tantrums have increased.

Last night, Luey was kicking a ball around the hall, and the tv was on in the loungeroom (adjacent), but no one was watching it, so I switched channels to watch "Gilmore Girls" (only just realised they're on Sunday afternoons, yay!). Luey was NOT happy about this! Apparently he was watching Bryn's "Brum" DVD. He hadn't been watching it at all, he'd been in the study when it went on, and after it had been on for 20 minutes, he'd come out to play in the hallway, but still, he insisted he was watching it, and that I should put it back on. I refused.

He did his usuall Luey thing of standing directly infront of me yelling his protest in my face. I was feeding Bryn so there wasn't much I could do about it, except repeat that he'd been playing in the hall and not watching the DVD and that I really wanted to watch my show and Bryn didn't mind me turning the DVD off because also wasn't watching it...

Luey wasn't about to let it go...

Then this voice in my head said, "He WANTS to argue, this is just an excuse to get that need met. He's not feeling heard at school, so he argues at home where we will engage him and listen to him."

I said to Luey, "Ok, you want to argue. That's fine. You have the right to argue and be mad, that's ok. The thing is, if you want to argue, pick things you're RIGHT about. Pick arguments you can win. Pick arguments that are worthwhile and make sense!"

Luey stopped screaming and stood there staring at me for a couple of minutes, very intensely. I said, "I see you're very angry at Mummy at the moment, and that's fine, and you can keep arguing, but it's smarter to argue about something you have a chance of winning, that you can make a difference with"...

And then he laughed.

And then he went and did something else.

I can't change Luey's basic personality. Luey is a very tenacious and determined boy who is looking for something he can get his teeth into. Some way to use his strengths. He needs his strengths acknowledged, not broken down. We need to find a way to help him harness his natural strengths so he can feel good about himself. We need to teach him how to argue for himself and stand up for himself in a way that wins other people over rather than putting them on the defensive.

This is where we've gone wrong with his teacher, we've put her on the defensive and she and Luey are very similar, they both have a lot invested in being right and in winning. I don't know if we can salvage the relationship with Luey's teacher (I can't stand someone who will misrepresent a child to win points), but we can teach Luey to that WE appreciate his strengths and value them, and that they are a good thing that he can use to his advantage to win friends and influence people positively! I think I know why Luey chose us as his parents! I think I know what our role in his life is!

Comments

casso said…
Wow! What an amazing moment Sif, that is awesome! I was reading it thinking 'Luey sound slike he needs to exert some power because he's feeling so powerless at school' and then as I read on I realise that you not only got that, you also talked about it to him and worked through it all and he responded positively! Jeepers! I am so inspired and really can't wait until I have a moment like that with Harry, where I feel my purpose with her is out there for me to know too.

Inspiring post.
clelkaje said…
Wow! Talk about tuning in to your kid :) I'm sure that is a moment you will both remember!

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