What Time Is It?
After day two of school, I found Dylan in his room, awake, with his light on. “School” means that he’s got to get up at 6 a.m. Plus, he seemed to be doing something quite hastily when I arrived.
“What are you doing?” I asked.
“I’m just turning off my lights to go to bed,” he claimed.
“Okay,” I said. “What were you doing before I got here?”
He seemed to realize his error – but still wanted to cover it up.
“I was just saying goodnight to my friends,” he said – meaning “I was using electronics after 10:00.”
“You were on electronics?!” I asked, astounded. He’d done so well, all summer, putting away the gadgets at his assigned time. And now, only two days after the school year started, he was back at it again.
“Um, yeah…” he stammered. “What time is it?
His red-LED-light skull clock glared knowingly in the corner: 11:36.
“Seriously?” I said. “You expect me to believe you have no idea what time it is?”
He glanced at his clock. “Oh, yeah, well I don’t really look at the clock.”
Long story short: Day Two and Dylan has already lost his electronics privileges for the week.
We will try again during Week Two and see how it goes.
Meanwhile, I wonder what it is about the school year that creates so much stress, so much angst, or so much excitement that the kid who broke almost no rules this summer is suddenly breaking them again.
Is it the influence of his friends, again?
I remember in preschool when I blamed all of Dylan’s problems on Nick. I couldn’t wait until Dylan got out of preschool, so he could get away from that darned troublemaker, Nick.
Midway through the first month of kindergarten, I realized that Dylan was the one causing the trouble. Poor, blameless Nick hasn’t done a thing wrong since.
Maybe it’s just the sheer freedom of being away from parental rules all day – and being back with a group of kids whose rules aren’t quite so strict.
Do I change the rules? Do I change the consequences? Do I get stricter, or more lenient?
As with everything else, I just have to guess. And then I have to take the next step forward.