Unfair Treatment

Owen has been getting in trouble at school lately. Not big trouble. Not embarrassing trouble. Just a more frequent note home, time on the bench at recess or points taken away in class. When I ask him, he says he just gets distracted, he gets bored or my favorite…”they thought it was funny.” Apparently, his teacher didn’t think it was as funny as “they” did.

I’ve punished him at home. discussed options with his teacher and looked at it from different angles. Though I admit to being a little worried at first I am not anymore. He’s just exploring the boundaries again. I think we all do it at different stages and in different ways. I was so rarely in trouble in school that it shocked me to think of him misbehaving or causing problems. However, he’s not me and he’s a boy. It’s different for boys, because, well, they are boys I guess. They have to bang their heads against more walls for some reason. I don’t know.

I also admit to worrying over my parenting and whether I were overlooking something, but his teacher reassured me that he is a very good boy and that it has nothing to do with me. I like her.

One of his complaints since the beginning of this “getting in trouble at school” phenomenon is that one of the other boys is often doing the same thing and doesn’t get chastised nearly as quickly or severely.

I haven’t talked to his teacher about this, but I doubt it’s as different as he perceives it and even if it is…there’s a reason.

After asking a few questions about the other child and the things he did I felt I understood. I remember this same issue from when I was a kid. Another girl and I would be involved in the same activity and I would be scolded more harshly. It infuriated me as a kid, but I understand it now. It’s unfair treatment based on expectation levels.

I explained it to Owen as well. If you have been a well behaved child on almost all occasions and then suddenly act out of character, you will be punished quickly because it is well known that you can do better. Being disobedient is NOT who you are, and therefore discipline comes to correct the difference in your behavior. If you are a child that consistently misbehaves you will eventually be ignored and your punishments will be dealt with less disappointment. There is a differing expectation level between you and the other boy. The upside to this comes when something special happens. If there is an opportunity to handle a special project for the teacher or the class and you and the other boy are the only two available to do it, who will she choose? You, of course.

To my utter amazement, an example of what I was telling him happened the very next day.

Today, when I picked him up from school his teacher walked him to the van and explained that the National Day of Prayer would be observed on campus this week and each class is expected to have one student represent them with a prayer. She asked Owen to say the prayer for their class and he accepted the responsibility. (That’s my boy!) She also said that he had a very good day and didn’t get in trouble once. Yay!

I love it when God orchestrates circumstances and then makes it look like He’s backing me up.