If They Really Are Naughty...

I am a mother lost in knowing what to do.

Over this last 365 days, it's been an interesting year with señor Calvin. He is one handsome kid with a VERY spirited soul. I was also a spirited child, but it's like he is the new 2.0 version... smarter and faster! So here is the breakdown of what's been going on:

He debates (even when I don't allow it). He yells way too much and talks so loud all the time. Like all the time. lol. Mr. Sonboul always tells him this; "We are right here Calvin, please stop talking so loud". He only wants to do homework with me and NO ONE ELSE! He never does it the first time I ask. He tell lies from time to time, to not get in trouble. He will not read for his teacher, even though he can totally read (I have to secretly record him, so his teacher can pass him off for reading levels). He tries to tell his teacher...how to do her job. No lie, he corrects her. He hates doing paperwork and would rather sit at his table and get in trouble.  

Mr. Sonboul and I have been talking and I really...REALLY think that Santa might bring him coal in his stocking this year. I know that parents all over the world tell their kids the tale of the "coal in the stocking", but has anyone ever really done it? Now let me switch gears and say that I LOVE my Calvin. He is the cutest little things and I adore him. Mr. Sonboul and I are super strict, so know that this strong willed personality hasn't come from our parenting. This is just who Calvin is and I knew it from the moment I was preggo with the little munchkin. His sassy ways often have Mr. Sonboul and I giggling when he isn't looking and think "How in the world can a 6 year old do this?!!!!".

I have prayed about it a kabillion times and I know that this is who he needs to be. That I shouldn't change his spirited ways, but guide it. So will getting coal in his stocking guide this strong willed child? I'm willing to try and see what happens. No punishment works...really they don't. He can't care less. So maybe Santa can cause him to "care a little more".

Thoughts? Am I crazy for wanted to do this? I'm 95% sure I'm going to go through with it.

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Emilie said...

I did it once to my brother (who was 12 or 13 at the time) and he literally started crying on Christmas morning. I still feel like a MIP about it. It really robs the sweet joy of Christmas. I mean, it could literally ruin his entire Christmas and he will always remember that.

Just a thought.

chksngr said...

Perhaps scaling back on the presents and a letter from Santa that says that he wanted to bring Calvin so much more, but that there were a few opportunities that C has to improve his choices. Something like "Calvin, I've been watching you for the whole year and I have to say your growing up and learning so many new things. I've brought you some gifts for the times when you made good choices, like...(listened, did your homework the first time, helped your brother...whatever). I had so much more on my list that I was hoping I could bring you, however some of your choices have not been wise. I'll give you some examples so you have things to focus on for the next year. Can you please read for your teacher? Talk in your inside voice? Do your homework the first time your mom or dad asks? I'll be watching your choices over the year and I hope to bring you some very special things next year." I think, when he finds out ALL about Santa, he might be wounded by the coal...but personal encouragement from Santa to do better...maybe that is an option?

Leslie said...

Then come December 26th he realizes that the only thing to motivate him is 365 days away. It may help you have a better December NEXT year but I doubt it's enough to help him the other 11 months because the punisher is too far in the future. You could consider a letter from Santa explaining that Santa wanted to get him a ( ) but couldn't because he wasn't nice. However he still gets something. Just not what he REALLY wanted???? Or a stocking 1/3 full of coal whereas Bradley's is all full oc the other stuff. That way it doesn't kill his spirit but makes him realize his behavior is serious??? Just brainstorming

The Sonboul's said...

I love all your thoughts so far, because I'm totally lost on this subject. This is what we had come up with: Christmas morning he gets the coal and a note. The note will say that he is sad he has to give him coal, but that he has made to many naughty choices. Let him sweat it out for a day and then the next morning, he bring him his Christmas gift and a count down chart for 365 days. Almost like an..."I'm watching you and your parent will give you a star on the days you try to be nicer and do your work at school". That if he doesn't try to listen and choose good choices, next year you are really only getting coal.

We just met with his teacher and she said this "Your kid is super ...SUPER smart and it drives me crazy because he doesn't even care! I can tell that he can read, because he reads thing around the room all the time and yet, he won't read for me". We all sat in the parent/teacher meeting not having an answer of what to do, but to just keep trying. She asked me (because I was just this spirited), what worked for you? I said "Even though I was naughty, I never really like getting in trouble, so in the end I always made the right choice". The difference is, Calvin can't careless if he gets in trouble and it's "Almost worth getting in trouble" attitude.


Emilie said...

Wrecking his Christmas Day is not the answer. In 20 years he will remember waking up on Christmas morning with a little heart filled with joy and then being crushed. Even if you give him the gifts on the 26th he will still remember.

Remember how I am still traumatized about the birthdays my mother cancelled to "teach me a lesson"? Did I learn anything? No. Did I come to hate and resent her for ruining really important dates in my childhood? Yes.

I think it's a really bad idea.

Diana said...

I agree with Emilie. Perhaps encourage good behavior throughout the year by having Santa leave 11 less items in the stocking this Christmas, but include a letter saying that he would be watching you throughout the year as Felicia (chksngr) mentioned.

If Calvin is good and makes better choices, then one of Santa's helpers will leave deliver a small gift on the 25th of each month. If he hasn't been a good boy, then he does not receive the gift as it goes to another child who has been much more behaved than him that month.

Just some ideas!

The Ark said...

Nana agrees! No coal! Do not spoil his Christmas with such a sad memory of such a majacial time in his little life. I like Leslie's idea of the letter though. We careful, it really could traumatize him. Even though he is difficult at times, it could really effect his special spirit. Love, Mom

Jennifer said...

Not sure how well this would work for a 6 year old but when I was having trouble getting my son up in a timely fashion for elementary school, I finally asked him what he thought would help make it easier to get up. He came up with a reasonable suggestion and once implemented, it made our mornings so much better. If you could ask your son what he thinks would help him remember to talk in a quiet voice, or what would make it easier to read aloud in front of his teacher etc., he might have some ideas and feel more in control of those situations. Just a thought. Good luck!

Cindy deRosier said...

I would not give him goal or do anything to make him think you love him less when his behavior isn't ideal. Clearly, you love him no matter what, so gifts given from the heart shouldn't have strings attached. Christmas gifts aren't rewards to good behavior.

I'd recommend a visit to the pediatrician for a complete checkup. Tell the doctor everything you've said here. There are a number of conditions that can include some or all of these symptoms/traits.

In the meantime, I'd start maintaining a detailed journal of all negative behaviors. Not only will you notice patterns (for example, maybe he's cooperative with Grandma or uses an indoor voice at church or whatever), but you can also show it to him each night and discuss the choices he made that day, better or worse.

Good luck!

Ashly said...

My daughter would not I mean NOT clean up her toys. She was 4 and we were really having a hard time with this. One day in Nov I told her to clean them up, no response. I mentioned that we were going to have to throw them away. She got out the trash can and tossed them all in. She would rather throw them away than put them away. I explained that if she did indeed throw them away that she would not get any toys for Christmas. We went through with it. She has never had a problem since. Good Luck. Its prob harder on you.

Ashly said...

I should mention that she did get gifts, just not toys. (A new car seat, a toothbrush, fruit snacks, clothes, new jammies but no toys. I stuck to it and It worked for us.

nerllybird said...

Hi Heidi, I haven't posted a comment on your blog before although I subscribe on Google Reader, but I had to add something to this! I have worked with children who have challenging behaviour, and I have had plenty from two of my sons. The coal idea is not a good one. It is, as several people have pointed out, incredibly cruel to do such a mean thing to a child on Christmas Day. I know you're not a mean person and that you're looking for something that will work with Calvin, but this isn't it. All that this will do is to make him hate. You could argue that half the people in the world haven't been good enough to get presents on Christmas morning, but guess what - we get them because we have someone who loves us, no matter what. Someone who wants to make our Christmas Day fun and happy.

If you need to address Calvin's behaviour then it is best done, IMO, in a mature and intelligent way, by talking to him. There are some good suggestions already in this thread, and hundreds more out there if you look. For my part, if someone I loved, and who I thought loved me, deliberately ruined my Christmas in such a cruel fashion, it would do absolutely nothing to improve my behaviour and would probably make it worse. Christmas shouldn't be about material possessions and about being rewarded or punished. It should be about love and family, and not used as an opportunity to make a point or hurt someone. I know that you know all this, but Christmas Day is tomorrow and the coal thing is SO not good!

Everything else that you talk about doing with Calvin sounds fantastic and spot-on. You need to have faith in your parenting and carry on doing what you are doing, and it will be okay. x