Saturday, June 14, 2008

The Moravian Swearing Bear

Dante's been attending Extension Classes (for Gifted and Talented Kids) this term, every Saturday from 1 - 4pm. He had to undergo an assessment to see if he was bright enough to get in and passed that easily enough. This term they are learning Science concepts (in a proper high-school science lab) and Ancient History. It's pretty amazing. Dante's getting to hang around with kids of the same level of intelligence as him (so he can't get away with talking rubbish) and learn lots of fun and interesting things. He's really enjoying them and I'm so pleased that I looked into it. (And note: it's not like those Saturday tutoring things that a lot of kids get sent to where they just do work that they would learn in school anyway... I don't think those are of much benefit.)

So I was quite surprised when earlier this week I got a phone call from the secretary of the Extension Centre asking Dan and I to come in to have an interview with the Director. Alarm bells immediately started ringing. Wasn't Dante smart enough for them? Were they going to kick him out? Is it because of his constant scratching and fidgeting? What could it be? The alarms rang even louder yesterday when there was a message on our answering machine saying that the meeting would be postponed until Dan came back because the Director wanted to make sure that both parents were there. Oh s*#%!

So when I dropped him off today I popped in to the office to ask them what it was about, that I was getting quite worried. The Director was around and had a quick chat with me to explain the situation and allay my fears.

Turns out our son is a bit of a Moravian Swearing Bear. He's been cursing up a storm during his classes and some of the other kids don't like it. He doesn't swear at home around us (although I heard him once and told him off straight away.) The Director wants to work with us to develop some strategies to help Dante learn about setting limits, understanding his emotions and controlling his behaviour. I think there will be a lot more to it than that but it's a start. Dante has had trouble making friends there and it all stems from this basic behaviour problem. But he stressed that Dante was not in trouble for swearing and emphasised that I should not punish him for it.

I'm so relieved by this. I mean, it's still a problem that we have to deal with, but I'm glad that there is someone who has identified that there is a problem and is willing to help Dan and I work to resolve it. For the past year or two (or more) Dante has been an endless source of frustration to me. I just can't deal with him sometimes, and his behaviour makes me want to tear my hair out at times. I shouldn't be so hard on him as he is generally an excellent child, but things have definitely been going downhill. I know a lot of it has to do with my own impatience with him, and the simple fact that I can't give him the attention that he once got. It's been getting me quite down at times, making me wonder why I ever had kids and looking up boarding schools!! I don't want to be like this. I want to be a good mother who is caring and patient, who doesn't yell at her kids constantly and has more time, energy and willingness to play with them. Maybe this will be the change we've needed.

I hope so.

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