Friday, 29 November 2013

Chomp Chomp

I got a very surprising call from Nathan's school today.  They needed me to come in for an immediate meeting because Nathan bit 3 kids.

Wait, what?

Nathan has never been a biter.  Not even as a toddler.  Alex has never been a biter.  It was one of the few behavior problems we didn't have to deal with for him.

I was honestly in shock after I heard about it.  My brain kept trying to figure out where he could have seen the behavior modeled (did I make a mistake taking him to see Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs 2) or wondering if the teacher misinterpreted (was he trying to be helpful but his hands were full ... nope, can't even finish that one). 

I'm hoping my readiness to take this very seriously will give us some leeway to actually solve the problem.  Initially the principal suggested I take him home since he was obviously having a bad day.  I vetoed that.  Aside from the fact that there was less than an hour left in the school day, I did not want to reinforce the behaviour by rewarding it with a trip home.  (Hmm, bite people and go home early.  I can totally do that!)

I spoke with Nathan but he was not forthcoming with details.  All he would say was that he was upset.  So I reminded him that if he was upset, he should tell the teacher.

I also took away his screen time for the day.  He was not happy about that.  Ordinarily, I wouldn't institute a punishment without a warning for the behaviour but Nathan knows better.  And this is not something to mess around with.  I don't like taking away screen time for more than a day at a time.  Too long and my kids just forget about it as an option and it ceases to be a punishment.

Tomorrow we'll review the new rules:
- No biting.  Ever.
- If you bite, you lose screen time.
- If you're upset, tell the teacher.

Hopefully we can stop this before it becomes a habit.  I think it's really critical to give kids a model of what they should do rather than just prohibiting stuff.  The teachers are being really supportive, which is good.  Even the principal came around after I explained my reasoning for refusing to take him home.

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