I would like to open by saying that I try very hard to recognize that my children are not perfect. The idea that "they can do no wrong" is silly.....they are kids and will make mistakes and bad choices. If we adults do it, so can kids.
My brain and my heart have been very prepared to get called to the principals office for my daughter. She is feisty and will really fight when she needs (or feels the need) to. However what knocked me off my feet this week was getting called by the school pricipal regarding my son.....and having my son SUSPENDED for 4 days.
Bug (my son) and a few of his friends had been discussing some changes they wanted with the computer lab, and it escalated into a joke that involved breaking into the school. Now.....these boys are 11, and I know they are not going to really go through with it. However, I do agree that they cannot joke around about something that is illegal and/or will cause harm to another person or place. Better to have a slightly excessive punishment now in the 5th grade, than to go too light and have him think he can get away with something in High School that will show up on his record and keep him out of a college. And so he has been parked at home for the last week......and his room has never looked cleaner!!!
There are all kinds of discussions that can go on about how to handle such a situation, and what punishments are fair or excessive. However, I think what is interesting is how this affects you as a parent. The feelings of concern and disappointment are so heavy......and the desire to give in and just hug them and say "hey....let's not do this again" and then go get ice cream are overwhelming.
When we went through setting up his home punishment on top of the school punishment, it was so very hard. I think I cried more than Bug did....but it was pretty close. He felt so terrible about what had happened (and I am sure about getting caught) that it just broke my heart. Because of this he had to drop out of the school talent show which he had worked very hard for and had to audition for.....it was the highlight of the year for him I think. My heart was broken...it took everything I had to not wrap my arms around him and just say "it's ok". Had to keep reminding myself it really isn't ok.....but it will be.
Let's be honest....we all did KID things when we were young. We were stupid and made foolish choices....just like our kids do now. But I realize now that there is no way I could understand then the impact this had on my own parents. The worry, fear, and sadness must have been extraordinary!
Bug is a good kid. He is a GREAT kid. And all of this trouble has not changed my view on that in the slightest. I know he is just as great as before because he really knows what he did. He is remorseful. And if he wasn't a good kid, he would simply be angry with the situation. He has worked around the house, cleaned his rooms at both his fathers house as well as mine, done all of his homework, written an apology letter to the principal, and given up all his privledges (games, movies, etc) without a whine or complaint. When his sister, Bean, offered to let him play on the computer after her....he even told her "I can't until at least tomorrow."
Today is Sunday, and he will be going back to school tomorrow. He and his father will be meeting with the principal in the morning (Bug says he didn't want me there - just his dad) and Bug has an apology letter to read and give him. He has done so very well, that I want to let him have all of his privleges back. He has pacified himself by helping to coach his sister through all of the computer games and such when not in the midst of cleaning his room. I want to say "I love you....have at at" but I can't. I will be tough.....and just try to not seem mean.
But with any luck....this was just a one time thing for him. I am still sure this was just practice for me.....for when Bean gets into that row and throws her great right hook.
p.s. Sorry to my folks. Everytime something like this happens with my children....I am compelled for doing it to my parents. So....sorry. Again. :-)