In some ways, life was easier in the ’80s because my parents would just whoop me when a teacher called saying I caused trouble. It was simple. But I don’t spank, so I have to sit my kids down and have long talks. Then they get time out that is longer than Avatar. I also confiscate favorite toys, especially Jessie from Toy Story. I don’t enjoy punishing my children, but it’s what I have to do sometimes. Actually, I kind of hate it.
I had to get tough with my 6-year-olds when the principal called me at home recently–one time for each girl. There was a lot of nonsense on the school bus, and my kindergarten girls were getting into it with a fifth grader. This kid was a tough cookie–he argued, spat, hit his little sister and told kids where they could and couldn’t sit. Once, one of my children, gave him a punch. (I did not teach her to punch; her little brother did.) On a separate occasion, my other kindergartener brushed him aggressively with her backpack when he told her to move to another seat.
Anyway, because of the strict anti-bullying laws in New Jersey, called HIP, every incident must be reported, and I received the phone calls that my children had “made bad choices.” I felt awful that the principal had to reach out to me. I felt even worse that my kids were involved in school bus apocalypse (well, it seemed like it at the time). But it was a talking point. They now understand that mommy will turn into a head-spinning, snake-haired monster if they do bad things at school. They are supposed to tell a grown up about these issues and not fight back on their own. Fighting back makes them bullies, too, according to HIP. (The law was struck down by the Council of Local Mandates on January 27 as an unfunded mandate. But supporters vow to have it reinstated)
Anyway, the bus ride to school is a little more comfortable now. That fifth-grader got kicked off for creating a ruckus with all the kids, not just mine. If this is our only problem for the rest of their lives. Between now and college, it’s smooth sailing, right?