Am I Being Too Tough On My 1st Grader?
My son is six and in first grade. He is a bright student, extremely social to a fault and like his father - likes to be the "funny man". Having gone to an academic based preschool, he was extremely bored in Kindergarten and we worked with his teacher to insure he was challenged and learned to behave, without trying to break his spirit.
Now in first grade, the teacher has a disciplinary system where the child is warned once when breaking the rules by talking out, not listening, etc, and then after a warning looses 5 minutes from recess and does not get a good behavior stamp in their take home agenda. If they continue the behaviior after loosing 5 minutes, it goes to 10, etc for each additional infraction. We discussed the rules with our son after 1st grade orientation, however he came home from school the 2nd day and had lost five minutes. We expressed our disappointment and explained that this was his only "free pass" since he was still learning the rules.
However he came home the next week and lost 5 minutes for shouting out in class. We took away soccer for the week as a punishment and that seemed to work until today, when he came home again loosing 5 minutes for talking during class and not listening to the teacher when she repeatedly asked him to stop. These types of infractions make me extremely aggitated b/c I believe after a warning he should be listening and respecting the teacher.
I make a huge deal when he comes home with a good behavior stamp and if he gets one for each day of the week, the whole family gets to do something special of his choice - a special dinner out, miniature golf, a trip to the ice cream shop, etc. If he does not get a stamp, he goes to his room and stays there all evening, only to come out for dinner and also looses his good behavior reward for the week. I have tried taking things away and that did not seem to have an impact on him.
Other boys in his class that also live in our neighborhood loose 10-15 minutes every day. Some have even gotten full page letters home from the teacher about their behaviors. I have spoken with their moms and they believe that the teacher is too strict in handing out the punishments and if they were to discipline their kids they would be punished every day, so they have decided to not hold any weight to the teacher's policies. I do not agree with this philisophy and want to support the teacher and effect my son's behavior positively. I want him to understand that there are consequences to breaking the rules. There are other boys in the class who have never lost 5 minutes or not received a good behavior stamp. So I question why my son cannot comply with the rules, when obviously the rules are not so unjust because there are children who are able to adhere to them consistently.
Reading other posts, particularly about boys this age, I know it is very difficult for boys this age to be in school for a full day. I am not afraid to be the "mean" mom or the disciplinarian, because I know in the long run my son will thank me for holding him responsible for his actions. I am just wondering if I am being too hard on him. He has lost 5 minutes 4 times since school started in mid August. I am not expecting him to be perfect, but I think that a warning to stop a behavior should be enough and there should not be a time he looses 5 minutes. Am I being unrealistic?