I have been struggling with Michelle. She is the type of child who goes right to the edge and then takes just a little step over it. She does this frequently at school constantly earning herself yellows for the day. Typically it is little acts of disrespect. We don't like disrespect of teachers in our house. You are impeding the education of all the kids in the class when you act out. She does this at home as well and seems shocked by the natural consequences of her actions.
I few weeks ago she had a field trip on a Friday. I told her on Monday that if she get a yellow that week she wouldn't go. She hadn't had a single green week all school year. Since she really wanted a new bike we tried positive motivation allowing her to earn a bike. That did not work, actually she got more yellows after we offered that motivation. Well, she got all green that week. She showed me that it is possible.
After that week she had the issue with the respite kids and then back to her yellows. The school counselor told me that I should be glad because it is just yellows. No, that is not acceptable to me. Those are little periods of disrespect. After discussing the situation with friends, Tasha and another therapist we came up with a plan. I looked hard at what she really likes, what motivates her and it was hard to determine. She is not swayed by typical consequences or positive reinforcements. However, after thinking about it, it dawned on me that clothing is a huge deal for her. After a bad week we took all her clothing except for her jeans, school shirts and plain t-shirts. We told her that for every week she earned all greens she would earn back two outfits. She asked if she could pick the outfits and I told her yes. Well, she has had all greens since. Obviously we have found what motivates her!
Yesterday I had a parent teacher conference and her teacher mentioned that she suddenly had a great improvement in behaviors in class. That is great. Only now it has been replaced with another behavior. She is not turning in her papers. This is a new issue, started when the behaviors got better. I talked with our therapist. She told me that she expects that she will always replace behaviors with something else when a behavior is no longer working for her. Oh, and to be aware, teenage years are ahead. So, we are managing the school work issue. Her grades are awful because she is missing so much work. However, I know that she is doing the work. I will sneak what papers I find into her Friday folder and just let that one go. Her teacher will no longer send papers home with Michelle (I got the failed eye exam a month late). Hopefully if we don't make a huge deal of it she will stop. I just wonder what she will replace it with.
At this time I am tired. Just tired. I could use a mental, emotional break but that isn't going to happen. The thing is you can't show it. You can't show that you are feeling beaten down. My way of dealing with life sometimes is to start creating. If I wait too long and get too low then I can't even get motivated to create. Luckily it is a great holiday time to make stuff. We are planning an ornament party. Anyone have any great ideas let me know. In the mean time, I am always searching for lost papers.