I know I've been a total blog slacker. A lot of things have been going on, but I am not at liberty to talk about them publicly. At least, not yet. You know, since whenever I write anything on any blog, I am under the scrutiny of whomever thinks it's OK to run to the school with printed out pages, as though I'm writing a new edition of Mein Kampf.
But, I digress...
Today I actually have something important to say. It's something I've probably written about before, but a posting on an online message board compelled me to talk about it again.
So, simply stated,
What happens at school needs to stay at school, and what happens at home needs to stay at home.
Example: Your child's behavior is especially challenging at home. You speak to the school and decide that how your child behaves at home dictates whether or not he earns stickers on his chart at school.
(Hmmm, was that too blunt?)
The consequences a child faces due to behavior at home, must be kept at home. You can do your own sticker chart. Have him earn things for making good choices. But it has to only be done at home. I am not sure how often this type of thing happens, but it was brought up to me once, and I declined. I didn't want to blur the lines. I didn't want to confuse my child, as to why she was earning/not earning at school for things that didn't happen there. It's just too much.
This probably happens less than the next scenario, though. Punishing a child at home for something that happened at school. (Side bar: I don't like the word "punish". Our kids should have the opportunity to earn, not have things taken away. Positive discipline is key with Autism).
My daughter has a lot of behaviors at school, but they take care of the consequences for them there. Home has to to be a safe place. It has to be a place where she can come home after a long day, and escape. School is so hard for our kids. There is so much going on, and it's an overwhelming place. They work incredibly hard just to make it through the day, and sometimes things don't go perfectly. The school has a plan. They take care of it. My children have sticker charts, and opportunities to earn preferred activities. When things go very wrong, there is a plan for that, too.
What my children don't need is the expectation that once they get home, to the place where they should feel the most comfortable, I'll be waiting, angry. Ready to take something way. To yell. To make them feel worse. Nor do I think it's a good idea to have a child earn something based on behavior at school. Again, those line shouldn't be blurred.
Also, our kids aren't thinking about home when they are at school. They aren't saying to themselves, well, mom told me if I was really good today, I could go pick out that new toy. They are present in school, thinking about school, and we shouldn't add to that worries about earning/not earning at home. Talk about overload. Sometimes, I think parents expect more from their kids than they would themselves. We stress ourselves out trying to think about 100 things at a time, do we really want the same for our children? Our children who already have a hard enough time navigating the world?
Both of my kids have experienced bad days at school. Like, really bad days. But, once they come home, they know everything will be OK. They know I am there to help, to talk with, but never to make them feel worse. I never want them feeling scared of coming home. This will always be their safe haven.
I know a lot of people don't agree with me on this. I know a lot of parents don't make this separation. Just ask yourselves this: if you don't separate them, where is your child's safe place? Where can they relax and decompress? Where can they release some of that anxiety and worry, and just be? Try to imagine the feeling of chaos when nowhere is safe. Please don't do that to your child.
Just take a moment to think about it. That's all I ask.
*Steps off soapbox*