Homework Battle…it’s on!

Homework-Battle...We have officially completed one week of school.  Some things went well, for example, Carlton woke up easily each morning and we made it to school on time.  (Yay!)  He enjoyed seeing his classmates and turned in all his homework assignments. (Yay!)  Other things, however, didn’t go quite as smoothly.  His attitude regarding actually doing homework…well, it stunk.  It was actually the attitude I would expect at the end of the school year, not the beginning!  Thursday night was the “big homework battle” of the week, over an English assignment.  He completed the assignment… which happened to be a writing assignment… which happens to be something he does not enjoy. (no enjoyment=no interest=no focus)  The assignment consisted of choosing from a list of topics to write about, completing a writing diagram (which happens to be a great writing tool for ADDers), and constructing two paragraphs from the diagram.  To make a long story short – he less than halfway completed the assignment.  If you saw the diagram and read the paragraphs, you would understand why I told him he had to do the assignment over. He refused, along with some other disrespectful statements, and the homework battle was waged.  I told him to retreat to his room to calm down, and I retreated to the sink to wash the dinner dishes.  He returned, sulking, a few minutes later, and sat down at the kitchen table.  Because my mommy senses knew he was still mad, I chose to continue what I was doing without acknowledging he was there.  Before long, he began to work on the assignment.  Upon completion, he stomped his way over to me and said, “Here.  I re-did it.”
carlton diagram

Carlton’s lovely diagram which he used to get his anger out at Mom.

As I began to scan over the diagram, the first two points actually looked good!  Then I got to the third and fourth.  The third circle says,”Letting me punch something” – “sometimes that something looks like you.”  The fourth says, “Words” – “I don’t like it when people say things to me that are not encouraging.”  By the time I had read the third and fourth points, I was so frustrated that I forgot to read his paragraphs on the back.  Plus, I knew the statements were directed at me and honestly didn’t even think about how the teacher might respond.  The TEACHER!  Can you see where this is going??? Fast forward to Monday, the start of only the second full week of school.  As soon as I drop the kids off, my cell phone rings.  It’s the principal.  Never a call you want to receive when you are parenting an ADDer.  Am I right, friends?  I needed to come inside right away, he said.  Well…I may have still been in my pajamas…so right away was not going to happen! I was back at the school within an hour.  Carlton had spent first period in the principal’s office, because the teacher thought that his paragraphs had been directed at her, and she felt threatened.  The principal knew Carlton well enough to know this was likely not the case, yet he spent some time chatting with Carlton.  Your curious, aren’t you?  What could he have written in those paragraphs?!  I was thinking the same thing, especially since the principal intimated that at a public school Carlton would have been suspended.  WHAT???
The paragraph that got him into trouble.

The paragraph that got him into trouble.

Wowza!  Can you tell he was…mad?  What you read is a typical ADHD anger outburst.  How would you handle something like this?  As the parent of an ADDer, you have to grow some thick skin.  Yes, the ADDers in our lives need to learn to control their outburst, but this comes with guidance, practice and maturity.  So along the way, I’ve learned to lovingly express to Carlton how his words can hurt me and then comfort him when he cries over the fact that he hurt me.  He really doesn’t mean to. Back to the principal’s office…Carlton understood how his teacher felt threatened and planned to apologize to her.  He also had to re-do the assignment.  My favorite part was that our wonderful, kind-hearted principal guided my son’s heart.  Of course he told him what he had written was wrong.  As Carlton said, “Mr. Farup told me three times over that it was wrong.”   But the principal also told Carlton that anger in and of itself is normal, but we have to learn to control the anger and react the way God would want us too, not the way we want to.  Mr. Farup then shared a personal experience with Carlton about his own anger over an issue, how he wanted to handle it, but then explained how he had to take a step back, calm down, pray about it, and then react in a godly way. Be patient with your ADDers, as hard as that may be sometimes.  Even if you do get called to the principal’s office first thing in the morning when you are still in your jammies.    Help them learn from their mistakes in a gentle, loving way, so they can begin to make better choices in the future.  Carlton and I talked that afternoon, about how maybe next time he can get his anger out on paper, but crumple it up and throw it in the trash rather than turning it in and scaring his teacher.

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