Hello, everybody! I’m talking about my kiddo today! I used to wonder what mommy bloggers would talk about after baby and toddler stages passed. That stage is when kids are cutest and everybody wants to see and hear about every little step they take.
Now I know. Now I’m in big kid territory and there’s a whole slew of issues here that I’m not sure I’m qualified for.
This is a great time to talk about my experiences dealing with my little girl who obviously has a bit of a temper. Why? Because the issue of hitting your child is a hot topic in Jamaica right now. I won’t get into that but I wanted to talk about my own experiences with the issue. I can count on one hand how many times I have been spanked by my parents.
Munchkin will also be able to say the same. This isn’t a method I’ve found to have worked for me. Let’s get into the issue and how I dealt with it. Maybe it will help you too.
Life with a kid has been peachy keen all along, not much bumps in the road to report. No hospital visits, no broken arms or legs, good grades and not much trouble at school. I was cruising through like yeah, I can do this, even on my own. Well, that wind got knocked out of me for a quick second shortly after munchkin’s 7th birthday.
Don’t we all love a good Snapchat filter? Last year when munchkin entered grade 2 at 6 years old, I rotated one of her after-school activities. In Kindergarten she took dancing, then we switched to gymnastics in Grade 1 and now we’re on to Karate. My hope for Karate was to instil a sense of responsibility in her while adding another skillset to her arsenal. She’s been in Tennis since Grade 1 and loves it so we kept that along with swimming. As we know, karate students start out with a white belt.
Orange Belt Time
Fast forward to December, just three months later at the end of the school term where munchkin would enter her first Karate tournament. She would be graded as well on the technical execution of her kata.
That’s her in the centre of the podium receiving the gold medal for the white belts in the tournament. In the grading, she went on to skip the white belt yellow stripe AND the yellow belt, yes she skipped an unprecedented two belts, to be awarded an orange belt after being graded. I couldn’t have been more proud of her that night. Low and behold, I couldn’t fathom just what this meant in her eyes.
Karate is her absolute favourite thing in the world and that orange belt meant everything to her. She bragged about it to anyone who would listen all Christmas long. Seemingly, it also meant that she started feeling her power.
Trouble at School
In January when school reopened, little miss thing started feeling herself and started bossing everyone around. When they didn’t listen? She’d pick fights! One day she decided to bop three girls in the head who wouldn’t allow her to get onto the swing when she decided she wanted to use it right then. She’s lucky them three girls didn’t bust her ass! I was absolutely mortified. My munchkin? Instigating fights? How on earth to combat this and where was it coming from!
The first time the teacher brought me in, we discussed the anger issues and I reassured her nothing was happening at home that could have caused this change. You see, not only was she picking fights, when spoken to in class, she would become so enraged that she would scream or even worse, overturn her desk in anger and storm out of the class. Some serious stuff. Of course, the other kids would be frightened when these outbursts occurred.
I remember my decision to spank her after hearing about the incident with the 3 girls. It was clear that just trying to talk to her about her behaviour wasn’t enough. That’s when I spoke to her father and let him know I was going to spank this child. I was going to show her how it felt to receive licks from a big old bully. I remember taking the belt to her that Friday, whack in her hand. She would receive that belt about 8 times or so before I sent her to her room.
What happened on Monday? She was in another fight. After I spanked that child on Friday. Yeah, spanking was cancelled.
The teacher brought me in after the Monday incident to speak with the principal. Munchkin has been going to the school since she was a baby so by now everyone knows us and was concerned about her behaviour. Of course, everyone thought something was happening at home that she was affecting her.
I was convinced it was the orange belt. She is a tall girl. All the other girls are rather tiny compared to her. She complains often that they don’t want to play with her. It seems she mainly plays with the boys at school. She tends to like things that boys like, Minecraft, karate, football. Those are her preferences. I thought she was now showing power over the girls. Bullying them since they didn’t want to play with her? I thought she felt invincible now with her new orange belt. I really had no clue.
Her new teacher was such a sweetheart. Very soft spoken and forgiving. In munchkin’s eyes, quite a pushover. Munchkin will definitely bully around smaller kids if allowed to. I’ve seen her pinch her own brother this past summer because she couldn’t get her own way. Chances are, the teacher was trying to use more soft-spoken methods of dealing with munchkin, which wasn’t working.
Chances are, this has been a bigger issue in other classes that didn’t reach me because other teachers she had in the past had been firmer. I remember her Grade 1 teacher mentioning one issue but telling me that she would get it under control. She was just kind of informing me and reminding me to control it at home as well. I was appreciative.
The principal said the school was rallying around munchkin and it would be all hands on deck to try and get to the bottom of her issue. She advised me that maybe I’m too close to the situation to get to whatever is causing munchkin to be so angry. She asked me to get an older person involved, like a grandma or pastor or something. Ask them to talk to her and see if there are any issues that munchkin is trying to work through.
Her father suggested giving her more attention. She’s an only child here with me, so I tend to be more hands-off with her so that she can learn independence and not be too needy. She’s not an only child in her class and I felt like I was helping her develop her social skills. The teachers do say that when she’s treated like a teacher’s pet, moving her desk beside the teacher, she’s an angel. Once they try to integrate her back into the class, problems.
I decided to look up some anger management and bullying type books on Amazon and we started to read them together. The books were age appropriate and ranged in topics from what to do when you’re angry to what to do when you feel picked on. We spoke about how she’s hurting her friends and alienating herself. We also spoke about ways to deal with emotions like when something happens that causes her to be angry. We spoke about sharing and about respect for her teachers and other students.
Each morning we went over the behaviour that was expected for the day while I was taking her to school. And we celebrated each evening when nothing bad happened at school that day. I did ask her paternal grandma to step in as she is also an educator. And I did pay attention to the attention she needed, versus when I thought it best to give her space.
It took a while, but slowly the incidents became less frightening. They eventually phased to an acceptable minimum. I went with her to the BVI this past summer to see the interaction between her and her brother. It’s clear that she’s spoilt and not able to handle herself well when she doesn’t get her own way. So that’s the new passion project. That one is harder to deal with when the reality is, she’s the only one in the house. Have you dealt with anything similar?
What you got for me? Gimme your tips!
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