Monday, November 3, 2014

Detention Matters: someone tell my kid that!

My son got detention earlier this school year and he was so distraught. He forgot one simple signature on his Friday report leading to his 1st trip to detention. A couple of weeks went by and suddenly one day he fails to grab his homework sheet leading to yet another recess lost. Two days later my son forgets his completed homework on the counter at home and once again the consequence is detention!

According to his teacher, third grade is the "year of responsibility." He's going to have a lot of chances to get sheets signed or keep up with daily homework. These tasks are meant to have him stay on top of everything and the threat of detention is suppose to inspire follow through. Sadly, this threat suddenly carries no weight. My kid feared detention until it happened. 

After getting it three times he was completely nonchalant, telling me about it as though he was talking about another weekly spelling test. He may have even thought I'd meet him with an equally nonchalant attitude, but he was wrong. I lost it.

The moment I heard he had detention a third time due to forgetting paperwork, I was quick to give him additional consequences as home (no electronics for a week) which he quickly lamented and the seriousness of detention regained some traction. Then I had him prepare a checklist of daily (without fail) to-dos ( i.e. packing his homework, making his bed). After an unusually fired up lecture suddenly I saw the switch! 

My kid was reminded that consequences aren't meant to be taken lately. This was particularly troubling to me because I felt that my son wasn't learning from his mistakes. I also felt this "okayness" with detention meant he was settling. I may of course be projecting my own issues on my son, but I didn't want to feel as though he thought detention didn't matter. Truth is, it does! Detention is something that takes away his privilege to recess and it's a privilege someone else revokes. I want my children to live lives where they're in control. I want them to understand that mistakes are meant to be learning tools and that we should strive to keep every privilege afforded to us in tact... because detention matters! 

Do you think this mom did the right thing by adding additional consequences, lecturing and expecting her son to regain an aversion to detention
OR is it okay for parents to be okay with detention when they're kids are okay with it, too?

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