This is part of parenting I never really thought about. I didn't think about when it would be the go-to punishment. I never considered when it would start. I just kind of ignored it all together. I remember getting grounded. I know I was about Phoenix's age. I was still unprepared.
It all started on Friday when I got a call from Phoenix's home-bus driver. These calls are usually to say she's outside to drop him but this time, it was a little too early for that. After the noise in the background calms down she tells me he's out of control. He's been throwing things on the bus, yelling and when she told him to sit down and be quiet, he came at her with a big "Eff You".
I was shocked.
I talked to him on the phone; he was inconsolable, distraught, and completely incoherent. I knew I was too angry and he was too upset to get any real answers so I told the bus driver I'll be waiting.
Panic sets in. Overwhelming anxiety. What happened? WHY would he say that? Mentally, I'm ripping him apart like I would another adult. I'm freaking out. How could he do that?? There must be a mistake. He's only recently started to speak with real fluency and intelligibility, could she have misheard him??
The butterflies kick up real good when I see his little bus pull around the corner down the block and I brace myself for impact. He's in the front of the bus, not his usual seat and as soon as she stops, he's up to get off. 'Sit down', I say when she opens the doors. 'What happened?' I ask.
Between Phoenix and the bus driver, I get the full story. Phoenix gets "dollars" in class for turning in homework and at the end of the week, he gets to turn in his "dollars" for something at the "store". He had gotten something from the store and was playing with it on the way home when another kid, K.C. (not his real name), a FIFTH GRADER, snatched it from him and started throwing it around the bus. The driver saw Phoenix with the toy, then saw it flying around the bus but didn't see K.C. take it from Phoenix so she assumed, he was the Thrower. She yelled at him for it and he responded with, "FUCK YOU" because he hadn't done it.
Congrats for standing up for yourself, Little Man. Poor choice of words, though. I kept my cool during all this, kept my voice calm and neutral. I told him it was a bad choice to use those words and made him apologize, of course. I informed him that his choice to use those words had earned him a Punishment: No Xbox, t.v. or computer for TWO DAYS. Not too harsh, in my eyes, but to him it was devastating. My little angel turned into a little monster and stayed that way for most of the weekend.
I did so many Time-Outs, I think I aged a year or two. He was defiant, full of back-talk and it took every ounce of self-control I possess to keep myself in check. I stuck to my guns and kept reiterating that he was responsible for his choices and he could choose to make better choices and not be in Time-Out or on Punishment. It must have gotten through because he eventually mellowed out a bit and started acting more like his happy little self. Of course, threatening to take away his birthday party may have had an impact as well.
Is seven too young to be call a tween?? Because I swear this is pre-teen behavior, right here. He is not a "little boy" anymore. He's growing up way too fast.
He didn't want to go to school this morning, either. He was afraid of getting in trouble for the bus incident at school. I tried to assure him it would be okay, that it was okay to be scared because he knew he'd done something wrong. 'It can't be any worse than Punishment at home, can it?' I asked. He thought no recess was definitely worse than no t.v. or Xbox for two days.
I'm hoping this is an isolated incident and that I did the right thing. I don't want him to think he is bad; I want him to know the choices he made were bad and to think about what he's doing before he does it. I'm trying to show him actions have consequences, good and bad but I'll admit, I'm really glad I didn't have to take away his birthday party.
Someone please tell me this gets easier as they get older. PLEASE???