When I was in the mode for checking grades on First Born I neglected to mention that I checked Middle Child's grades. This is his first year for assignments being graded such as in Junior High. I was a tad shocked to see he was missing all but ONE assignment in math.
I was somewhat shocked, but not really. A recurring theme throughout school for him has been. . ."He doesn't seem to be paying attention. . .He gets distracted and doesn't finish his work. . .He likes to talk to others. . .He reads when he should be studying or listening. . .Needless to say he gets a little distracted at school but usually does well because he's pretty smart.
So to see that he was missing so many assignments was nothing new, although a little extreme compared to past problems. We talked about it and he assured me he would talk to his teacher. The next day he assured that his teacher was going to give him the makeup assignments. The next week he assured me once again that he was working on them in class. I finally emailed his teacher to find out none of the above was true! This surprised me somewhat.
Then I remembered he is of the personality that will avoid conflict at all costs. I worry because that is not a good personality trait. I even told him I'd rather have him fight me and tell me he doesn't understand it then just tell me "ok, ok, ok." But, now I know and need to work on teaching him more assertiveness.
Olaf talked to him about the missing assignments. He asked what we could do to help him. Of course Middle Child said "Nothing." After talking some more Olaf threatened to take away the Nintendo DS if his homework didn't get done. Then he asked if there was something that would be worse punishment, therefore making him want to turn in his homework.
"Yes, there's something worse!" Middle Child replied.
"What is it?" we asked.
"I'm not going to tell because it's horrible!" he cried in anguish.
This really intrigued me because I didn't think there was anything in his world worse than taking away his DS. I pried until he finally opened up and told me the worst punishment we could give him.
"It's throwing me out on a cold winter night!" he finally confided to me.
I was shocked! Did he think we would actually throw him out in the cold? Did we make him think we would actually punish him cruelly like that? Was I actually such a bad parent that this was a possibility for him?
When talking to Olaf about the reply he put it in a new light. It's not that we are that cruel, it's just that the only punishment worse than taking away his DS is putting him out in the cold!