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Thursday, January 13, 2011

Incentive


I knew the day would come where Red would absolutely refuse to go to school.  It's been taking an average of 45 minutes to get him out of bed each morning since we returned from winter break, but I allow time for that.  I still find the process excruciating.  I try everything -the nice mommy routine, gently prodding,  and talking softly.  Sometimes I get a warm towel to rub his face.  There are days when I want to get a super-soaker and give him a nice in-bed shower.  I haven't gone there -yet, but I have let a bottle of water dribble on his head.  That goes over really well.

Yesterday he gets out of bed -gets dressed, eats breakfast but then comes upstairs to his room and lays back down.  When I return home from taking Blue to school,  I sit in the car for a few minutes reading a blog on my phone, avoiding the fight.  Dad is awake today and is the one responsible for the post wake-up prodding along.  As I am sitting in the car my phone rings.

"Um Honey, Red is going to have to pack his stuff and move out.  He refuses to go to school and I'm not putting up with this anymore."

"I'll be right in."  I get out of my warm car and to out into the 32 degree cold air,  and back into the house where the dance begins.

"Why do I have to go to school?  I hate it! I don't have any friends.  I'm so tired! Why can't I just stay home today?  Why can't I just be home-schooled? I'm not going!"

I can not home-school him.  It would be impossible.  He does not listen to me.  He is not self-motivated enough to complete assignments on his own.  We would both be completely miserable.  Not to mention that he desperately needs the social component of being in school.   Life doesn't get any easier after high-school if you want to have a good future.  He says he wants to work in the film industry.  Those jobs don't come to your house, knock on the door and say, "Hello...are you ready to work now?"  You have to get your education first.

He often compares himself to his one and only friend these days who is home-schooled.  I explain again that everyone's circumstances are different.  If he wants a future in multi-media or film-making he needs to be in an environment that will nurture that.  Besides, his friend actually listens to his mother.  Right now he is going through the painful, doldrum of pre-requisite, freshman classes.  His electives being Art 1 and Social Skills.  This obviously does not motivate him enough to want to get to school on-time everyday.

Back to the dance -I ask him to go brush his teeth and put on his shoes so that we can go.  He refuses.  We tell him that privileges are being lost with each refusal.  Computer time -gone.  Phone -bye-bye.  Still he refuses.

Out of desperation I call his Special Ed tracking teacher -can't reach her.  I try the School Psychologist -no answer.  I call the Special Ed Counselor -no luck.  I finally call the Campus Resource Officer -he is not in his office, but he does he call me back right-away.  He talks to Red on the phone.  They have a nice little chat and within moments -he is brushing his teeth and putting his shoes on. The officer asks that we stop by his office once we arrive on campus for a moment.

We do. "You know son -your mom is legally responsible for you until you're 18.  That means she's the boss.  Legally -you need to come to school everyday without giving her a hard time."

"O.K. I understand.  I will. " he says like a docile little pup. He even put on a half smile.

The officer congratulates him for making it to school and sends him on to class.  I'm thinking -Wow, how very nice of him.  He is so pleasant.  Part of me wanted him to scare the hell out of him -but I  suppose he was taking the right approach.

I go to see the Counselor after Red heads to class.  The philosophy at the school seems to be to remain positive, to give him incentive to want to get there and get there on time.  Mr. K, the counselor-talks about possibly switching his classes around so that he goes to his BASE (Social Skills) class 1st period where he will have some sort of engaging activity that he will want to get there on time for.

I walk away feeling like wow -here I am wanting to put the wrath on this kid, wanting to take away every privilege imaginable, and they want to give him incentive to come to school.  "We want to give him something to work for, not work against," he said. Wow! On one hand I was impressed at their positive attitude on the other hand I'm thinking -I've tried the positive road with this boy -nothing works.

The bottom line is that school is a miserable place for him and he hates going.  I hope that their incentive works.  Meanwhile, there will be no cell phone for a while.  If he wants it back -the incentive will be to get up on time in the morning.


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