In My Opinion
Raising A Creative Child in a “Drug & Therapy Happy” School System
The other day I arrived to my youngest boys’ school to pick them up. As I approached my 7-year-old’s teacher, she pulled me to the side to “talk”.
Turns out that my-7-year old had been written up by his gym teacher that day because he insisted on raising his hand to ask a question, and when ignored he called the teacher’s name while the teacher was speaking. Even when asked to not interrupt, my son continued to raise his hand and call on the teacher for attention. So, he was written up and pulled aside to have a talking to. As he saw the paper being marked, he began to cry asking that it not be given to me. When he realized that his pleas were not going to be honored he begged and cried and begged some more. Loudly.
Once in class he was so upset he refused to read along with his classmates. “You have to read,” said his teacher. “I don’t feel like it,” responded my child. “But you have to, it’s reading time.” He refused to and didn’t.
“I don’t think he understands consequences,” his teacher told me.
I sighed. “No. He understands consequences, he just doesn’t always like them and he challenges them,” I responded.
“Well, yes. Right. He doesn’t like them. Maybe he should talk to someone, you know, so they can brainstorm ways in which he can better deal with consequences he doesn’t like,” his teacher said. I could see she was carefully choosing her words and “brainstorming” was her safety word.
She continued, “Maybe, by talking to someone, you know, so they can brainstorm…like a Social Worker. Of course, I need you’re permission…but I think him brainstorming would …”
I interrupted her, telling her I needed to deal with my child and walked away.
Of course I spoke to my child about interrupting and not wanting to do his work and the rules and guidelines he has to adhere to at school, but the entire time I was angry with the teacher and her inability to see that all the things she described my son doing were things of childhood – as annoying and frustrating as they are, it is what it is. I was angry with her inability to look outside of the box and be better trained in her approach to him. And, I was pissed that my kid never got to ask whatever the hell question it was he needed to ask that got him into all this trouble in the first place – maybe not right then and there, but eventually? All he walked away with was hesitation to ask a question and a piece of paper.
The other problem with giving permission for “someone to brainstorm with my child” is that the system is set up in such a way that once I allow this to happen and go on his record, he will never be allowed to act as children do again because the label will have been slapped on him for as long as he goes to school and the system doesn’t know how to look past labels, which often time only serve to further limit and segregate the child in question.
What I gave my son was 30 minutes of time out in his room, where he happily did his homework, read the effing book his refused to earlier on and calmed down enough to talk to me about what happened. I also approached his teacher last year, who was better at communicating with him for tips on how I can work with his new teacher.
Too often I hear stories of teachers and school administrators pushing to counsel and medicate their students. I often feel that all the stresses to deliver positive data has set it up so that only the kids who follow the rules as they are laid out, who never speak out of place, who color inside the lines and who can repeat back the lessons being taught to them can succeed. Then these kids can grow up and work at a corporation where they can continue to do the same.
We need to encourage creativity, originality, fearlessness and courage to take on the unknown. Sometimes it means having to speak out of turn and refusing to follow the norm. Of course I am going to teach my son the importance of rules and the whole “there’s a time and place for everything” thing. Of course raising a child who questions things and challenges you is harder, but it makes for a much cooler adult in the end and someone who can do real good in this world. No ‘let’s tone it down’ therapy or drugs need apply.