August 28, 2013

Crime and Punishment

 One thing that Patrick and I try to instill in the kids is a value for and appreciation of education.  We take the kids' schooling very seriously.  And college?  That's an expectation for us.  Right, wrong or indifferent, we believe it to be important.

 A little back story on Kaden is necessary here.  I've been told since Kaden was in kindergarten that he has AD/HD.  Now while I am not against doctors or medicine per se, I wanted to avoid the pills as much as possible.  I had hoped he was just an active kid and he would grow out of it.

 He didn't.  I have literally tried everything with this kid.  When he was younger, I had his teachers send progress reports home everyday on how he behaved and what homework he had.  When he got older, I put him into Kumon, a tutoring center for reading and math.  Finally, a year or so ago, I decided to find a doctor I trusted and try the pill route.

 Kaden is no longer on the pills.  It was so confusing.  It was like the dosage was too low to make an impact on his education but so high that he was having trouble sleeping and got headaches.  We took him out of Kumon after two years because we thought he might be getting overwhelmed.  We've tried taking things away for bad grades.  We've tried rewarding him for good grades.  We have literally tried everything.

 So this last year was his first year of middle school.  He didn't do too bad, but there were ups and downs and he was required to take summer school as a result.  Of course, that costs money and headache to get him to and from (it was 9-11 every weekday).  He had to take two classes.  And he failed one of them.

 At our wit's end, we decided to try something new.  This summer, Kaden had to earn his playtime.  He is 12, so he's old enough to stay home alone during the summer time.  We would make a detailed list of chores for him to do during the day, complete with an extra box to check when he was done, when he double checked his work and when he was sure it was perfect.  And these were not easy chores.  We're talking clean behind the fridge and cleaning walls and stuff.

 Kaden was not allowed to play with friends this summer until his chores were completed and 100% satisfactory.  Some days he did it, some days he didn't.  But the point was for us to try to teach him that in life, you have to earn your right to play.  You have to work hard to play hard.  It was pretty difficult for me to stick with it.  I mean, I hated when he didn't earn his free time and was all mopey around the house.  But I kept my eye on the prize and stuck with it.

 Well, our house got completely cleaned inside and out this summer.  And at the risk of being overly optimistic, it seems to have had an effect.  Kaden has been a lot more organized this year, hasn't seemed to miss any assignments and has even read a whole chapter book of his choice (this is HUGE for him)!  Needless to say, he was way more excited to be back at school this year than ever before.

Pink Polka Dot Dress-Rue21, gifted by my sister; Lace Capri Leggings-Macy's I think?  They are super old; Shoes-vintage; Sunnies-Target; Butterfly Bracelet-vintage from Mom; Earrings-Wal-Mart

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