We had our first meltdown today.
V was merrily working on an assignment when suddenly she got one wrong, “Oh, man!” she said. “I pushed a wrong button by mistake.”
“It’s okay honey,” I said. “Do you want me to go over it with you?”
“No Mom, I’ve got it.”
One minute later…V groans, “I got another one wrong!”
“Okay, let’s go back to it.”
I explained the problem. I showed her an example. V was happy again…for about thirty seconds.
Then the tears started flowing. Another one wrong. Empathetic, I returned to the heart of the lesson. I tried consoling her to let her know that she is not in this alone and it’s okay to ask for help if the problem seems confusing, even after we get it together.
She wasn’t having it.
V started crying as if I had punished her and taken away her favorite stuffed animal (Mr. Chili Bear). Seeing that I was in the twilight zone, Daddy came in to intervene. He gave a great speech and used a J.K. Rowling quote (V loves Harry Potter) as an example to instill the idea that we are not perfect, and all successful people fail before they succeed. Great pep talk Dad! Too bad it only made her hysterical. We [Mom and Dad] had to step away. Dad instructed her to go to her room to work through her feelings and come down when she’s ready. Next thing we know she’s stomping and screaming “THANK YOU!“, running up to her room, throwing her shoes down the stairs, and slamming the door behind her. It was at that point that I decided I had had just about enough. We do not condone disrespect in our home. She was now punished. Nothing dramatic. I simply informed her that it was no longer her decision to come downstairs; that decision was now ours.
During our next break, Dad and I went back up to check on V…
Discipline & Tough Love Time
Still crying, she told us that the only thing wrong was that she “hates [her] lesson”. Mark tried opening a calm conversation with her again. About one third of the way he encountered snark and sarcasm, and it was at that point that I intervened and took the tone. You know the tone. Just because we homeschool, it doesn’t give V the right to stomp her feet because her program challenges her. I spent a year researching all that’s been implemented this year and we are finishing what we started. We’ll be creative along the way, but we are not abandoning our goals. That’s what she wanted, to throw out our curriculum because “getting one wrong is discouraging.” No way. It was time for some tough love. “Enough is enough,” I told her. “Your break is over. And if you ask Dad nicely, he’ll run though the science lesson with you that you missed. You have a quiz on Monday. You have three minutes to splash some water on your face, blow your nose and get downstairs.”
Tough love intervened and the rest of the day went great. By the time V’s science recap was over she was cheerful again and asked to return to the lesson she had so despised. She didn’t finish it, but she did make progress with a genuine smile and at an even pace. I’m confident that this won’t be the last time we have a day like this, but I’ll take the small victories whenever I can get em’.