Elementary of Entitlement…

 I saw this little article floating around Facebook

The “Entitlement Generation”

and while reading, the quote below really stuck out:

“I won’t be held accountable at school because my parents will come and yell at the teacher for me.”
 
I really think this is where the entitlement starts for kids, other than at home obviously.
 
This is where kids first learn that they are always right even when they are wrong.
 
This is where they really figure out they can get away with anything and not face the repercussions out in the world, because rules and consequences don’t apply to them. Where they realize they actually can control & manipulate any situation. When they began to believe they are no longer the kid and are on the same level or above the adult.
 
Parent’s, you are doing your kid a big disservice by not backing up the school and your child’s teachers.
 
It’s one thing to get away with stuff at home with parents, but once a kid figures out they can do what they want at school with no regard for rules or authority and not have to answer for it, they began to live their life that way and grow up with that mentality. They apply that experience they’ve learned in school to the rest of their life, and the next thing you know, you have a 30 year old living at home in and out of jail that can’t hold a job because they don’t know how to respect their boss or take any personal responsibility. They have an entitlement complex. And it started with you, the parent,  in Kindergarten because you thought Mrs. Smith was too hard on little Johnny. 
 
To not back the school, is to teach your kids that they are above the system. That it doesn’t apply to them. That mama can always get them out of it.
 
In our home, the teacher is always right. We will listen to our children and let them tell their side and then we explain to them why we are holding them accountable, but we always back the teacher and the punishment.
 
Even when our kids are only kinda wrong or if we don’t agree with the punishment. We back the school. To not back them is to immediately take away your child’s respect for them.
 
I am probably the only mother in the world that got a call from the office when her kid was in Kindergarten, and when told that the punishment was a choice between swats or in school suspension, replied with…give them BOTH.  Even though, I didn’t think what they did was that bad or even wrong, but because I had previously told my kid the next time they went to the office for ANYTHING they would get both. In the end, it doesn’t really matter how my kid got to the office, what mattered was teaching them the weight of being there and following through with consequences,  AND showing your child you respect the discipline process and the adults & their decisions that landed that kid in the office. 
If you don’t respect the adults/teachers/principals/aides/lunch lady/ whoever, their decisions, their punishments, the rules, and the system as a whole…then your child won’t either.
It’s pretty much the same system in place as out in the real world. When you are a kid in school it’s made up of teachers, rules,  principals, the office, & in school suspension. When you are an adult it’s cops, laws, judges, a courtroom, & jail. Same system. Only the first is  more fair and understanding and meant to prevent use of the second. The first one is in place to love, guide, direct, & discipline your child. It deserves as much respect or more as the second that is only in place to keep order and punish. You don’t see mama’s up in a courtroom yelling at the judge telling them why the cop is wrong and their baby shouldn’t be sent to jail. As parents, you must teach and model for you kids respect for the school’s system so that they can also respect it and they don’t end up a part of society’s system.
Just this week, Daynie had to go to the office. She came home so upset saying she didn’t do it and still got in trouble. A little girl she was hanging out with went to two other girls and told them something ugly that involved a cuss word. Daynie did not walk over to those girls and say it, in fact, she stayed behind. The girls told on both Daynie and the girl that actually said it to them, and off to the office they went. In Daynie’s mind, she did the right thing. And in it’s simplicity, she did.
Now there was a lot more to this story regarding events that led up to the girl saying what she said and why these girls included Daynie when telling, but in the end the real issue at hand was did Daynie do it or not. No she didn’t. Then why did we as parents allow her to be punished for it? Because it’s a good lesson. We told Daynie that is the consequence for continuing to make decisions regarding friends that she constantly finds herself in trouble/drama/bad situations with and that will lie about her. Also, for standing by while her friend did something wrong. Daynie may not have actually walked over and said it to those girls, but she bears just as much responsibility for discussing it with the friend and being her audience while she did it. We used this as a teaching opportunity to make Daynie understand her responsibiliy and to explain to Daynie how to handle these situations. She should have said I want no part in it and walked off. She needs to learn at this young age that when you hang around with someone doing the wrong thing, whether you are doing it or not, you are now associated with it and can and will be blamed for it too. I’m glad she has the opportunity to learn this lesson in elementary with cuss words, rather than  later in life with something more serious like cheating, stealing, drugs, ect.
I’m sure you are thinking, well that’s the lesson WE taught her by allowing the unfair punishment to stand but it still doesn’t excuse the school for punishing her unfairly.
Stop right there.
Remember when I told you whenever our kids get into trouble at school, Danny and I always assume the teacher is right? That’s because this ain’t their first rodeo. They’ve seen it all and we trust them to handle these situations. They were there. We were not. And that’s the whole point.
Your kid comes home and tells you their version of events. Either they know they are wrong and want to spin it to seem like they weren’t, or they, from the perspective of a child, were right and want to convince you that.
So if it isn’t a cut & dry situation, where the child’s story and the teacher’s note or whatever and/or maybe the punishment just don’t align properly and we just really need to get to the bottom of something…we will call the teacher and ask for their version. Often, this helps us as parents when knowing the full story to better address it with our kids, especially to shut them down when they are trying to manipulate their version to get out of trouble. I will never just take my kid’s word for it when it comes to an adult. I will always investigate further and see what the adult says.
 I believed Daynie did not walk over and say that to the girls, but I didn’t believe she was completely innocent in the situation. I called and spoke with the vice principal that handled it. Although Daynie was telling the truth when she said she told the teacher she didn’t do it and got sent to the office and punished anyway, she was only telling a half truth. She did get sent to the office based on the fact that she supposedly said that to the girls, but she did not get punished for that. Her punishment, as explained by the vice principal, who listened to the whole story from the girls and made decisions based on that and years of experience, was for discussing and saying it within the conversation with her friend. The friend amitted in the office that Daynie did not walk over there and say it, so the principal knew that.   So Daynie was not being punished unfairly. She was punished for her part in it, just not the part she told us when telling her story.
As for Daynie initially being sent to the office based on something the girls said she did. That’s just the way it is. Danny and I were not upset about  her getting sent to the office for that. That teacher has a class and a lot more to deal with then petty girl drama. That teacher doesn’t have time to go into he said/ she said with a bunch of 10 year old girls and try to dissect all their stories….she just needed to send them to the office to let them handle it. Once at the office, the vice principal went into depth and figured out the truth and disciplined accordingly.
The issue at hand that bothered both Danny and I enough that I felt I needed to address it was not that Daynie was sent to the office based on something she didn’t do, but the fact that when questioned by the teacher about whether she did it or not, when Daynie said no, the teacher would just ask her again and again until Daynie finally said yes. Daynie’s words to me were…”Mom she wouldn’t take no for an answer. My only way out was to say I did it. If I didn’t then she also would have wrote lying down and I would have gotten in worse trouble.” Basically in the mind of a 10 year old, the teacher already believed she did it, so Daynie didn’t want to be branded as a liar too and thought that just admitting it would render a less severe punishment.
Danny and I both drilled into Daynie that she better NEVER under any circumstances admit to anything she didn’t do. Period. If no one believes her or the adult won’t listen, and she honest to God did not do it, then she needs to demand they call her mom and dad immediately so that we can come up there and figure it all out together.
The reason this angered us is not because we don’t want our child getting into trouble for something she didn’t do, although that too, but because we don’t want her to rationalize that it is acceptable admitting to something you didn’t do because you think you will get in less trouble. Like I said….today it’s cuss words….tomorrow it could be stealing or drugs.
We also don’t want her to think that admitting to something she didn’t do is her only option against an adult that has already made up their mind. So let me just end this part by saying, I did call and talk to the teacher about it. I did not go into the convo being accusatory and telling her she was wrong. I asked for her version of events, as I always do first, then I told her Daynie’s version. She agreed she didn’t know a lot of it when making the decision to send the girls to the office. I told her that was not my issue, she absolutely should have sent the girls and let the principal handle it. I voiced my concern about her asking Daynie over and over until she admitted it. The teacher said she did do that and really didn’t think that much about it at the time but looking back she can see my issue.
Ya’ll…these teacher’s aren’t perfect either. They are doing their best and dealing with a whole lot more than just your kid. I appreciated her recognizing and understanding my concern, but the purpose of my call was not to tell her what she did wrong or to put her in her place, it was to make sure that it did in fact happen the way Daynie said it did. My main issue wasn’t the teacher questioning Daynie in that way, as much as Daynie giving in and admitting to something she didn’t do.
 
I know that some parent’s sitting here reading this are thinking only about the “bad kids” and office visits, but folks, this applies to the small stuff too. There’s so many ways this can apply to you and your ‘good’ kid too. 
 
A few weeks ago Daynie was looking at Garridon’s spelling test and said  Garridon spelled the words right but the teacher counted them wrong because his handwriting was so bad that they were hardly legible. He should have actually made a 100. Now, I was driving so I didn’t actually check the words myself, but if Daynie said they were right then I’m sure they were. Both of my kids started that….”see that’s not fair” blah blah blah blah.
 
And I know quite a few silly moms would march their tails right up to that school and put that teacher on blast because they so wrongfully held bad hand writing against their kid when their kid was really right and handwriting shouldn’t count against them and doesn’t really matter because the answers were right. And that mom would have looked just like my 8 and 10 year olds whining in the backseat “that’s not fair”.
 
Well guess what…life’s not fair. And it does matter. Every bit of that whole situation matters. Parent’s who don’t allow kids to experience “life’s not fair” now, have a child who get’s a big old slap in the face by reality later. When life’s not fair there is usually a hidden lesson involved that makes you a better person in the end. But guess what…in this instance…it really was fair. The teacher’s decide on their tests what constitutes a correct answer. His teacher had every right to count those wrong. 
 
I simply told my kids…oh well…that’s just the way it is… I guess if Garridon wants it to be counted right then next time he will write more clearly. And guess what…the next few spelling test that came home were back to his usual 102’s & his handwriting was almost perfect.
That kid learned a lot of valuable lessons from that simple situation that he will carry through his whole life. I’m thankful that he had a teacher that cared enough to teach it to him and thankful that I had enough good sense to shut up & allow her to.
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