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Tuesday, February 12, 2013

How to handle children’s achievements, disappointments

For the most part, my children are well-behaved and intelligent little people. They seldom get negative reports from their schools, but when they do it’s a big deal. There are a few things that can make it a big deal:

    1. If one child brings home a shining achievement and another brings home a “I’ve been bad” letter … at the same time.
    2. When the negative report has to do with something I’ve talked to the child about one million times.
    3. When the child with the bad report is already owed something good. For instance, I have a random reward system and if the reward is still pending then what’s a parent to do?

A combination of all three of those is happening now. Let’s go back to Friday afternoon: When my children came home from school one of them told me, “Amareah got Student of the Month.”

“Really?!” I answered enthusiastically. “Amareah? You earned student of the month?”

She replied affirmatively and I told her, “That’s awesome. So proud of you.” We did our typical “high five” and continued about what we were doing. It was a busy afternoon and before I had a chance to get back to the achievement, it was time to take the girls to the Valentine’s dance at their school.

student of the month Amareah 2ndWhen Amareah was leaving the dance I told her father about her achievement and for her not to forget to bring it back home on Monday (yesterday) so I can see it. Yesterday she showed me her certificate. As you can see it’s specifically for being “Most Responsible.”

I’m not surprised Amareah is being responsible because, for the most part, she is and she definitely deserves an award for it. What makes it a little, uh, interesting is the fact that one of her other siblings came home with a letter the teacher made them (I’ll refer to the person this way as to not give away the culprit child) write, which read something like this:

Dear Mother,

I am writing this letter because I have been having trouble focusing. I have to bring this letter home to you and ask that you please help me think of three things that will help me focus in class.

Your child,


Sign x__________________________________

Can you imagine the look on my face? “Mother” is none too pleased! Especially since they received a negative note on their last report card, which was excellent, about: 1. focus/self control, 2. work independently. So, I’m sure you know I’d already discussed this with them. In fact, every morning I gave a reminder about focusing and/or staying on task.


With my oldest daughter’s help, I sent her sibling to school this morning with three things to try to help with focus, including silently repeating everything the teacher says. Amber says she started doing this in middle school when she found herself getting bored or daydreaming. She also told her sibling she uses that technique now as a senior in college.

I would tell you the other three things, but for the life of me I suddenly can’t remember what they are. Can I claim pregnancy brain even though my youngest is almost 6 years old?

For the past three weeks, I’ve been promising this particular child their random reward and I planned on making good this week. And I’d like to get a random reward for Amareah as well. I’m sure she’ll gloat and make the other children feel bad especially the one who is in trouble this week.

Do you have multiple children in the same age range? Share in the comments how you handle these types of situations.

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