Thursday, March 18, 2010

Liar, Liar ~ Now What?

It was the best of days, it was the worst of days, it was a day of good reports, it was a day of bad revelations, it was a day of pride, it was a day of disappointment ...

And I'm done trying to mimic Charles Dickens! LOL (For the confused, that tidbit above is loosely in the style of the first paragraph – the longest run-on sentence I've ever seen – of Charles Dickens' A Tale of Two Cities. EXCELLENT book. I read it my freshman year in high school and really enjoyed it. But I digress.

So, now I have a decision to make: Do I discuss the positive first, or end on the positive? Hmm...

Today was parent-teacher conferences throughout our school district. In the morning, I had Grant's (preschool) conference. He is doing VERY well, and progressing quite nicely in areas we wanted to work on. He's becoming much more social, and most of my fears have been laid to rest. YAY, Grant! :-)

Abby's school does student-led conferences. It's something I hadn't heard of prior to her kindergarten roundup night two years ago, but it works quite well. She basically runs the conference – shows me her work, progress, etc. We work together to make goals she can strive for, too. The teachers (she has a different teacher for reading/writing and everything else) are both there and answer any questions we might have. It goes pretty well. Overall, Abby is doing GREAT in first grade. We're very proud of her – at least on the academic side.

I'll explain the not-so-proud parts in a moment.

I feel background is necessary, especially knowing that I haven't really said much on this blog about anything concerning this particular subject. This year has been slightly more difficult than last year was, behaviorally speaking. She LOVES, LOVES, LOVES to talk. A lot. Nonstop. ESPECIALLY when she gets tired. This has led to her having some behavior issues at school – not listening and distracting others being the main issues. Because of this, we have been offering her incentives for good behavior. When she has a week of GOOD behavior (meaning no warnings), she gets to do something extra-fun on the weekend: see a movie (Alice in Wonderland last weekend) in the theater, spend some extra time with her best friend, stuff like that. Daily incentives include the privilege of playing games on Facebook, PBS Kids, or the Wii; watching TV between dinner and bed (not constantly, of course, just one show); sometimes even staying up a little later than usual. Those incentives seemed to have been working ...

Side note: Sometimes she brings a lunch to school, and other times she buys a lunch. When she brings, it's almost always a sandwich with some side items. She often doesn't have time to finish her entire lunch (some of it is her fault – for talking too much), but I tell her she needs to eat at least part of her sandwich. Whenever she brings a lunch, I ask her if she ate it. Last night was no different. While at dinner, I asked her if she ate her lunch. She said not all of it, but most of it. I asked about her sandwich. She looked me in the eye and said, " I ate about five bites." I said, "OK, good," and left it at that.

Fast forward to this morning, when I finally unpack her lunch bag (usually I do it right after school – not sure why I didn't yesterday) to find her sandwich UNTOUCHED! It was a Smucker's Uncrustable sandwich, and the package was still SEALED! She had a half day today, so I wasn't able to say anything to her until around lunch time. When I picked her up, I asked her about her lunch from yesterday – specifically inquiring about the sandwich. Her response: "I ate about five bites. Wait, no, actually, I ate about half of it." I couldn't help but smile to myself (not sure why, but I know she didn't see) while shaking my head. When we got home, I asked her to explain what I found in her lunch bag. It was then that she admitted to lying. I had to leave soon for Grant's conference, so my husband got to deal with the issue, but I think it's better that way. For some reason, she takes important chats more seriously when they come from him.

I must admit that I have wondered several times today how many other times she's lied about the sandwich, but threw it out instead of bringing it home. I did ask her about it this evening, and it sounds like it wasn't the first time she's lied about it.

And now back to the other part of this.

We walked to her school for her conference, and on the way there she confessed something to me. When I picked her up this morning, she said that she had a great day today. But, apparently, that was not entirely honest. She got a warning today. Meaning that she deliberately lied to me about her conduct at school. :-(

It gets worse.

We have thought for a few weeks now that she was responding quite favorably to our incentives. We were pleasantly surprised – and WRONG! :-( She has been lying about her conduct (and warnings) at school since late February! :-( She has been getting rewarded when she really didn't deserve them. In fact, she has had at least one warning on at least one day per week for the past several weeks – not counting last week (when she missed two days because of her tooth extraction). As I mentioned above, she got a warning today. Yesterday, she had TWO. By itself, not SUPER bad, but still bad. Coupled with the fact that she told us ZERO warnings for the day, SUPER BAD! I did discuss this with her teacher, who said she and the afternoon teacher would pay closer attention to Abby's planner – which is where she notes how the day went.

I am at a complete loss! How in the world did this happen? And, more importantly, now what? Firstly, how do we respond to this? Secondly, how do we trust her now? And, most importantly, how do we prevent this from happening in the future?

If you have any advice, please feel free to share. Again, I am at a complete loss! << shaking head >>

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