Nor am I a teenager. Or, for that matter, pregnant. What I mean is that I’m an adult. An honest-to-god, almost middle age adult with three kids, a house of my own, a husband and a mini van. I may not have all my shit figured out but goddamn by now I at least know how to handle behavior issues with JP.
I’m so fucking irritated.
My parents picked him up from school today and promptly called when they got to their house. JP was very ill-behaved during the last hour of class and in his silliness left his handheld video game in his cubby. But what JP did isn’t the point. My parents are the point.
Mom talked to me first when they called, “Tonks, I want JP to talk to you. And I hope…well, I just hope you handle this the right way.” After talking to my son I talked to my mom. My parents were always really big on words when I was growing up. It wasn’t enough that I’d been caught misbehaving, oh no, they’d harp and harp and harp. So not only did JP get a 20 minute conversation in school with my mother and his teacher, he also got a lecture from my father during the 25 minute drive home. For starters I don’t really think it was my parents’ place to take JP to task over his behavior. Second, Dad’s lectured was laced with inaccuracies, was focused primarily on JP’s behavior next year (and 7 1/2 months is woefully far away for an 8-year old) and probably utilized more scare tactics than necessary (um, no, there’s not detention in 3rd grade). And then JP had to sit there while my mom harped
to at me.
Look, when JP misbehaves at school I try to let him leave it at school. I may talk to him about it but, generally, I figure his teacher has handled the situation and if she wants me to weigh in, she’ll let me know. I grew up in a house where grudges were held (and held…and held some more) and I try not to do that to my own children. Does he get off free and clear at home? No. But unless it’s super bad behavior (or repeated bad behavior that results in a phone call) JP and I will briefly talk (do you know what you did wrong, how could you handle it better next time, etc. types of questions) and that’s it. It’s what our psychologist (who my mom hero worships btw) told us to do, it’s what the therapist told us to do, it’s what the school social worker has told us to do. It is not what my parents do.
So when I said (irritably, because JP has been a pain in the ass this week and I’m frustrated by his behavior and because my mom was making a much bigger deal about what happened today than necessary), “Okay. Well, he knows what the consequence is and now we need to stop talking about it.” and she got huffy with me (my hell!), I wanted to lose it. I didn’t. At least not out loud.
What gets me about all of this is how it started. “I hope you handle this the right way.” Does she have any idea how insulting that is? Why not just say, “I seriously doubt your ability to raise your children but since you gave birth to him I’m required to let you try.” That, at least, would’ve been honest.