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Let them eat cake…?

Back when we moved in to this house, I quickly looked at the hall bathroom and realized it wouldn’t work for my mom.  For you see, she needs an ADA toilet, and the existing one was way too short.

So, we picked out a new toilet, and Troy and my father-in-law set to work at replacing it.

Then we realized that the vanity was too large for my mom’s wheelchair to make it in the bathroom.  So, we decided to replace the vanity.

Then, since we were replacing the vanity, my father-in-law pointed out that the old linoleum might get damaged with ripping things up, and we should just replace that too.

What started out as needing a new toilet, became a bathroom with just sub-flooring and a shower.  I kept walking by saying “how in the world did we end up here from something so simple”.

That’s kind of how I feel today.  I apparently started a weird shit storm on Facebook with what I assumed was a simple question.  And yes, we all know what happens when we assume, right?

Before I go in to what happened, I need to take you back, way back. (cue time machine music).

From the time my kid could use his body independently, he’s been using it to touch other people.  He is a very tactile kid.  Some of those touches were good, and some were of the “ok, you’re not being nice” variety.  He cannot run in a group of people without elbowing someone who is close to him, and he cannot walk by a friend or someone who looks upset without hugging them, giving them a high five, etc.

The idea of a space bubble is something we’ve worked on for years.  YEARS.  He’s been in two preschools, and now kindergarten.  And I’ve shared my past struggles with you all in this space.  I’ve shared how my kid is always the high-energy touchy one.  I’ve never once proclaimed to know how to do this mom thing.

At preschool it was “these are things to work on”, and now that he is in “school” school, it’s becoming a legitimate issue.

We’ve tried everything over the years.  EVERYTHING.  I felt like we’ve read every book, tried every form of sticker charts, reward systems, punishments, positive reinforcement.  EVERYTHING.  It’s exhausting to constantly have the kid in every situation where the parents give the side eye because he can’t keep his mitts to himself. I’ve cried myself to sleep many a time just trying to figure out what the hell to do with this, and how to get him to understand.

Secretly we call him Lenny like from Of Mice and Men.  We say he likes to pet the rabbits, but sometimes he just pets too hard.

Now, let’s flash forward a bit to the start of school.  We talked for weeks and weeks leading up to kindergarten about boundaries, personal space, keeping our hands to yourself, etc, etc.,  And on day three, he got on the “red” portion of the color chart for talking out of turn, tattling, and putting his hands on others.  So, we talked and talked and talked about different ideas on how to fix this.

And then the next week, he did the same thing again.

So, the next week, there was punishment.  He lost dessert, he lost TV, and he lost movie night (it was a Friday). And we talked some more, and more, and more.

And then there was a blissful two weeks where his reports were pretty decent, and Troy and I were high fiving each other, because hey “this time something we tried was WORKING”!!!! And it felt really really good.

Let’s now flash forward to Thursday, the day of Jack’s parent teacher conferences.  It was conference week for the whole school, so this wasn’t a specially called conference.  I knew it wasn’t going to be pleasant, but I didn’t realize it was going to be a beat down.  Working in corporate, we’re very specific about using “sandwich” style feedback.  You start off by saying something the person does well at, then talk about areas for improvement, and finish with another positive.

Picture a 20 minute conference.  17 of those minutes were “this is everything you kid basically sucks at” (and now, she didn’t use those words, but it felt like it).

Huge issues are: tattling, putting his hands on other kids (newsflash), distracting other kids, and not being an all around great citizen.  She told us she has sent Jack to the interventionist a few times to work on impulse control, but it doesn’t seem to be helping.  She told us she needed us to also work on this at home.  I wanted to sob, because we have.  We have tried SO HARD.  I asked her for additional resources because we had been working on these things, and the suggestion we got back was “be consistent, and if he doesn’t get a good report at school, there needs to be repercussions at home”.  Ack, again, things we’ve tried.

Then the last three minutes were “oh, and he reads at the fourth grade reading level, we stopped testing him for site words at the third grade level, when we do the 15 minute number writing tests, most of the kids flip their lid after 2 minutes of trying to write to 10, but Jack got to 100 in 6 minutes, and was upset he couldn’t keep going”.  Oh, and here is a chart showing the average of all kids in the class and their reading comprehension.  And this line here that goes off that page, well that is Jack.

Before you comment that “Jack is bored and not being challenged”, the answer is for sure.  But in defense of school and his teacher, even while challenged, Jack exhibits similar behaviors, so it’s not just a matter of making sure he is learning at the appropriate level.

So, we came home, feeling like we had been kicked in the gut, and feeling SO discouraged.  That night, while Jack was in the bath, he and I had a really long conversation.  We talked about specific behaviors that needed to be improved, and we also talked about what in the world we were going to do if this continued at school.  I listed bunch of consequences I was thinking of, and then he got to select what thought was appropriate.  Options: no dessert, no TV, and no Nerf guns.  He chose no dessert, and when I said “and for how long” he said “a month”.  I said “let’s dial it back a bit”, and he chose two weeks.  At this point, I was desperate for RESULTS, so we agreed to it.

He also came up with the idea of having something on his desk like a sign that helps him visually remember what to work on.  We talked about what to put on it, and then I said I’d make it over the weekend, and we’d laminate it so it would be strong, and really help him remember.  I took him to school on Friday, and we talked all about impulse control, and what he needed to work on that day.  We talked about making good choices. Just a point of clarification, we always discuss good CHOICES and bad CHOICES, instead of “you were a bad kid today”.  We want to him to realize that the choices he makes now don’t define who he is, i.e., “that was a bad choice, but you’re still a good kid”.  I felt pumped!  He was board, I was on board, and this was going to work.

And then I picked him up from school and was told that he was in trouble twice in for the same thing (putting his hands on other kids) within 50 minutes of the day starting.

I have never wanted to scream so loud and for so long in my life.  The amount of incompetency I felt in that moment as a parent cannot be measured.  Maybe NASA can figure out a scale that would adequately demonstrate my sense of hopelessness in that moment.

We got in the car, and Jack said “I lost dessert, didn’t I” and I said “yep”.  We got home, and he smarted off to me, and I sent him to his room.  For a really long time.  I couldn’t properly speak to him when I was in that frame of mind.  It wouldn’t be fair my extreme anger in that moment to be projected on to him.  It was only what I could describe as an out of body moment.  I was watching myself crumble and deconstruct in the kitchen.

So he stayed in his room for a really long time.  I went in there, and he had fallen asleep on his bed.

I woke him up, and we talked about why he was in his room for so long.  And then, because I was all out of rational words at that moment, I broke down.  I sobbed, I ugly cried.  I whole body shook cried.  Which naturally set Jack off crying.  When we could both calm down long enough to talk, I explained why I was crying and how I was so frustrated that I didn’t have any more words to explain my feelings.  We then started crying again, and he said “I’ll do better mommy, I promise” which just broke my heart and made me sob harder.

We sat on his bedroom floor crying, rocking, and snuggling for probably 45 minutes.  I kept hugging him, and kissing him, and we wiped each others tears.  I ended it with “I will always love you no matter what, but this behavior has to stop”.

And we went out to the computer and made the sign we talked about taping to his desk at school:

  • F: Feet and hands to myself at all times.
  • O: Only talk when called on. No tattling!
  • C: Carefully do my work and not distract others.
  • U: Use my words and not my body. No tattling!
  • S: Space bubble – respect other’s personal space.

FOCUS JACK! Make good choices!

Troy was gone last night, so Jack and I ended up sleeping in my bed, crying a bit more, and snuggling pretty much most of the night.  Please note, Jack does consider a foot in my ribs while in deep sleep “snuggling”.

I woke up this morning, realizing he had a birthday party to go to this morning, and holy crud, what about the whole no dessert thing.  I thought “hey, let’s get some input”, and posted the following on Facebook:

Would love some input. After Jack’s behavior yesterday at school, I took away dessert for 2 weeks.

He has a birthday party today. Do I include the cake as dessert and make him sit this one out? On one hand, that shows I mean business. On the other hand, he’ll be super called out at the party because of it.

Leaning towards allowing him to earn a small slice of cake based on his behavior at the party. And then no dessert at home for 2 weeks still stand.

What say you? Help me find the perfect mix of “Hurricane Hardass” and “help him improve”!

And wow, there were some comments indeed.  I would say most were civil and helpful, but some where so far out of left field that I thought “they don’t know the background here, and I did a piss poor job of explaining the situation”.  There seemed to be a lot of questions about how being punished at home by taking away the dessert  at home helped him realize his behavior at school, and that the type of punishment should reflect what he did wrong.  So, I posted this:

Ok, so it seems like my last post didn’t give enough info. my bad!

1) today’s party is not for Jack. his birthday is in april. I would not take him as a punishment but the host prepaid for each kid. I would just give her cash, but we pulled out of this same party last yr because of a last minute cold.

2) the issue at school is ongoing since school started. we had a conference with jack’s teacher on Thurs. Thurs night jack and I had a long talk about what if things didn’t improve, what would the consequences be. HE chose the dessert as his punishment for future reoccurances of the same behavior. Including the length of time.

3) he got in trouble the very next day for the same thing at school. He knew what was coming if he didn’t improve.

4) he is getting in trouble for being handsy and in people’s faces at school. To make the punishment fit the crime, what would I do…not touch him or hug him for a day or so?

There is more to this behavior thing at school which I will post in my blog tomorrow, but the important facts are he chose his dessert punishment and had many many warnings before the hammer came down.

hope that clears up any questions!

And wouldn’t you believe it, it didn’t clear up any questions.  It seems to have brought out more, including being accused of shaming my kid, him likely having ADHD, and being the kind of mother that wouldn’t hug my child as a punishment.  I really think we need to teach people how to read sarcasm in 10th grade English.

And then Jack and I went to the party, which was like the North Korea of dead zones for cell reception, and I didn’t really have a chance to read many more comments because I couldn’t even access texts on my phone.

And it was a good thing (I’m really starting a lot of sentences with “and” today…),  a really really REALLY good thing.  Because I could think about the situation and be calm, rather than being an ass all over Facebook trying to defend myself.

It was a roller skating party, and my boy can’t skate to save his life.  We held hands, and went very slowly around the rink.  VERY slowly, and I pipped in with some tips, and tricks, and MY thoughts on how HE should learn to skate.

And it didn’t work.  He ended up falling a ton, which I knew was going to happen, but he was having none of it.  He got so frustrated at one point, that he “skated” away from me saying “I don’t want your help”.  He ended up falling in the middle of the rink.  Lots of kids skated by him and said “you should get up”, and a few skated over to me saying “Jack fell”.

I really didn’t want to run out there and just pick him up.  I needed him to learn that even when you feel awful because you can’t do something, or can’t do something well, you can always get back up and try again.

After watching him struggle for a bit, a little girl who was great at skating, skated over.  She didn’t say anything, she didn’t tell him he wasn’t doing it correctly, she silently held out her hand, and helped him up, and they skated off together.  Jack later told me “skating was fun with a friend”.

And isn’t that what we all need some times?  To be allowed to make mistakes without being humiliated, told we’re wrong, and that clearly we’re terrible at this task?  It seems like a hand up, a smile, and some grace speaks so much more than anything.

So, to people on Facebook who suggested books, and other things, I’ve written them down and will be checking them out at the library.  I’ve probably read it already, but it doesn’t hurt to try again, right?  If we fall down, we get back up.

To anyone who had less than helpful comments, and felt better about themselves by trying to make me feel bad about my parenting, I offer you my hand, a smile, and hoping that this tough ass job we call motherhood would be better experienced with a friend.

God bless.



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78 comments on “Let them eat cake…?”

  1. What a lovely lesson to share! Thanks to Jack and your friend. And Sarah, thank you for sharing these intimate moments with us. God bless you.

    • Amen sister!! Too bad there are so many people who think they have it altogether & can criticize others. There is but one who can judge… And that would be The Heavenly Father.

  2. I’m so sorry to hear you are going through this and that some FB “friends” were less than supportive. I hope things get better for you and for Jack. Best wishes. You’re doing a great job and you’re doing the best you can.

  3. I know the last thing you want is more advice but what about video taping him so he can actually see himself and actually see what the teacher doesn’t want him doing? Just another random idea. As for the punishment, that is your decision you are the mom. I know my mother would have let me go to the party but not have any cake…but that was back in the day when people didn’t judge or criticize as much. Just remember this everything will be okay in the end you are doing just fine.

    • Actually, the video taping is a fantastic idea! My son also has trouble with personal bubbles, etc. And he thinks he’s doing things right, when he’s not. I video’d him in judo to show him, and he was completely surprised! Good luck!

    • Jack loves to watch himself on tape, so we’ve recorded the good and the bad. It doesn’t seem to help him very much.

      BUT, it did help Troy do much better on interviews, so it’s not a total loss. 🙂

  4. Oh my goodness. I’m so sorry that this is going on. Jack is a smart kid. He will catch on eventually but the road there is a long and crappy one (obviously). Coming from a therapist position maybe you could try having him earn anything fun…nerf guns, television, dessert etc. Then make a jar with extra special “treats” in it. Going on a outing with Troy…nerf gun fight, an extra movie, extra dessert. Just ideas that I have found work with other kids I see in counseling. I don’t know if you have tried that.

    I’m sorry that people were being jerks. You and Troy are great parents. <3 you!

    • We’ve honestly tried the “earn” rewards thing, and it wasn’t effective long-term. But I love the idea, and see that we’re on the same page!

  5. I saw the Facebook fiasco. I felt absolutely horrible for you. Anytime who had read your entries for any time at all should be able to spot sarcasm (my favorite form of humor), know the obvious love and support you have for your son. You know what you are doing 🙂
    My hope is this will not discourage you from sharing here, or on facebook , because your posts brighten my day.

    • Have no fear, because I am who I am, and if people want to move on or say something about it, they’re welcome to. I put myself out there online by having a blog, so my skin has gotten thicker over the years.

      My sis texted me to check on me, and this was my response “I am seriously ok. Only I have the power to make me feel shitty, and I refuse to let that happen”.

      Thanks for the kind words!

  6. Parenting is so so hard. It is obvious from your blog that you are a great Mom. Sorry about the reactions you got online today, people can be jerks. Hang in there, kids have a way of challenging us in ways we never expected.

  7. How about a few words for you here–don’t post stuff like that on FB? You can solve this problem, you work like a dog at it but in the end, it’s not your fault. Jack WILL change his behavior some day and get better, but it’s not your fault. Sometimes things are out of your hands and all you can do is go for the ride. I had one who kept me up nights with worry, gave me grey hair like you wouldn’t believe, and drove me batshit crazy. (He’s an adult and doing extremely well now. I won’t detail the screaming matches when he was a teenager, Oy Vey!)

    There is a basic truth about schools and teachers, they are geared towards the median child, PERIOD. Anything else they can’t handle, and don’t want to. Believe me, I heard this when I was training to be a teacher forty years ago and it hasn’t improved. Short of paying big bucks for a tutor or putting him in some sort of special private school, there is no alternative.

    All you can do is go on the way you are, or give in to the drugs mantra they all spout nowadays. Or homeschool, which may not be an option for you because you work. We did it with four kids because one of ours was like Jack and I couldn’t see any other way to help him, but we had part time jobs and could stay home with them.

    Which reminds me, there was an article by someone who came up with an herbal oil mix that seemed to help her kid. If you want the info on it I can look it up and send it to you.

    • The question to me was so innocent, that I had no idea anyone would or could possibly react that like.

      That being said, by restricting things I’m curious about or want to say means that people who chose to be unkind win. I’ve been an open book on this blog for four years, and have never experienced what I had today. But I can’t change who I am – an oversharer – and if people want to react poorly and make themselves look like idiots, then I can’t control that. I can only control how I react to others, and my vote is to always take the high road. Which is hilarious coming from someone who loves potty humor! 🙂

      Would love more info about the herbal mix if you can find it. Thanks so much!

      • Here’s the link to the website. I cannot swear if this works or if you should try it. Most of the stuff she posts is great advice and very usable, though I have to ad the caveat that I have not used this stuff. I don’t think it will actually harm Jack if you use it, unless he has an allergy to the ingredients, and at the worst it might actually work without being the resort to pills from the doctor.

      • And it must be something about Lutherans and potty humor! I was raised Lutheran, in a German/Danish family so I whereof I speak. My dad and I would swap dirty jokes, potty jokes, etc. But some GL’s can be seriously pompous, I have a brother who is guilty of that!

  8. Hi Sarah,
    I don’t spend time on facebook, so I don’t know what other people have said, but after reading your post I felt compelled to write you a few sentences. I have experienced what you are experiencing, albeit over many and very different issues. And what I am reminded of when reading about your week, is that very, very often there are no fixes for behaviors that don’t fit our cultures’ idea of how a kid “should” behave. Also the average American classroom is not for everyone. I have been following you for a few years and I definitely get it that you guys are stretched to the limit time-wise and financially, but I just want to put it out there that maybe there is an alternative method of education that would work better for Jack right now, rather than him trying to squeeze his round little self into that square hole every day. I don’t know about Washington but in California, the public school system has been forced to create alternatives for kids who can’t or don’t want to fit the mold. One last thought, I am sure others have told you, this won’t last forever! You are going to have some spectacular stories to tell at the dinner when he accepts his Nobel prize!

  9. Oh my. I have to say we have struggles at our home with the “repeat offender” issue. Its so challenging. And there is no one right answer because every child is different. I pray that you find what works in your home for Jack. One day he will be all grown up and you’ll have this amazing, brilliant young man to show for all the hard stuff. Praying for you both.

  10. There were times when I would get so frustrated with my kids (all grow ups now) that I would cry and the same thing would happen, they would start crying, then we both would be crying. I think it does kids good to see how vunerable we moms can be, that we aren’t super-human and yes, they have upset us to tears! That may be what Jack needed. Maybe he’ll carry that picture in his mind and know the next time he acts up in school, it might make you cry again. Good luck with all of this. And keep in mind the majority of children grow up to be productive adults. Jack will too.

  11. Wow, I saw both posts earlier and knew there was a shit storm a comin. Sorry About That
    It is obvious that you are a great mom and at least to me that you were looking for some community support and ideas. I have nothing to add but what others have already said. Just know that this too will pass. Both with Jacks school and the wonderful internet. Please don’t change how you post. I love your style and attitude. Now the wind she is a blowing, better get off the net!

    • Man, I must be so dense, because I had no idea that a question about cake would lead to THAT!!!

      I won’t change how I post. I can’t change how people act, but I can control how I react, and my choice is to respond with grace and civility. Nothing says “fuck off” better than someone who refuses to stoop to the negative.

  12. I’ve known my husband since kindergarten and he was a “Jack”. He got into his share of trouble at school because of his behaviors. His parents never made him think he was a bad kid just that he did weird stuff and made poor choices. He grew up to be a brilliant man, loving husband, and wonderful father. Keep on loving Jack and don’t lower your standards for his behavior. You are doing great. Don’t listen to the asshats on FB. He’s a smart kid, but just needs to learn how to tame the wild monkeys in his head… Either that or you could take him to the dog park before school and run him until he’s tired. That works for our border collie 😉

    • Ahhh, I love your story, and that you married your own “Jack”!!

      And yes, the wild monkeys need some taming.

      I wish the running thing worked, but it doesn’t. The child has unlimited energy from sun up to sun down. I’m always tired just thinking about it!

  13. Oh gosh. You have a gifted, intelligent child. The problem is not necessarily with him but with how our society must function. My children were both gifted and had above average intelligence so our lives have never been easy. I will tell you, though, we received a great “nugget” when our oldest child tested into the Gifted and Talented program in Colorado. We went to a meeting and the children were insane! Most of the children were either picking their noses, crying, or rolling on the floor. The head of the program stated, “When your child is in the bottom 5%, people can tell and they help you. Those children are usually unable to control their bodies, emotions, or anything else. When your child is in the top 5%-well, there’s a problem with how society views them. You have an intelligent child who others expect to behave like an adult. These children have the same issues with impulse control as the lower 5% but it gets missed and can create even larger issues. To top it off, others around you don’t realize how much more help you need with a gifted child and blame you for their follies”. The program in Colorado encouraged these children to express themselves freely while learning at a more rapid pace. Interestingly, most of the behavioral problems either slowed down or stopped altogether because there was such a large network of people who understood that these children don’t learn by conventional methods. We moved to Washington and these same gifted children are called highly capable and are expected to learn at an accelerated rate, but not in any way creatively. We had some difficulty until the children went to high school. The high school understood the need for my children to express themselves, move their bodies, and get up to learn something in a different manner. Jack will be just fine. He’s not a “bad boy” and you guys are not bad parents.

    • I love how the creative aspect was brought in to it!! Jack’s school does have a gifted program, but it doesn’t start until later maybe around third grade.

      I refuse to let him be pigeon-holed in to a bad kid category, and eventually we will find what works best for my boy!

  14. Man, this sounds so discouraging and heartbreaking and I feel for both of you. Sometimes the internet is great at helping with stuff like this, and sometimes it feels like they couldn’t possibly have made you feel worse and yet somehow they did. I’m sending positive thoughts.

    • Actually, I disagree. They can try to make me feel bad, but I am the only one who can ALLOW them to do that. And I am taking a stand and am not letting that happen. I appreciate your positive thoughts, and your kind words!

  15. This is awesome. I wholeheartedly agree! Keep up the hard work

  16. All I can say is motherhood is a bitch sometimes. Solidarity sister. You’re doing a great job.

  17. I was a special education teacher prior to staying home with my daughter – I specialized in working with kiddos with disorders involving sensory needs. I now stay home with my 8 month old who has (funny enough) been diagnosed as having sensory processing disorder. One thing I firmly believe about kiddos is that behavior communicates what they cannot.

    Have you ever read about sensory processing – specifically the proprioceptive system? I’ll put some links to good information. Jack sounds very much like many of the kiddos I worked with in the schools and like my own daughter. I’m guessing you would say that he SEEKS and almost seems to NEED to touch, bump, and move. For a lot of kiddos I worked with, they were getting in trouble for the same kinds of behaviors. But when we added “heavy work” and movement breaks into their day, that behavior improved so much! Their behavior was communicating a need to move more and get more sensory input to their muscles and joints. Things like carrying a stack of books to another classroom, jumping on a trampoline, wearing a vest/jacket with some weights hidden in the pockets when walking to specials/lunch/etc., sitting on an exercise ball, having a bungee cord between the legs of their desk they could kick on, etc. gave several of my kiddos the extra input they needed in order to be able to sit still and calm in the classroom. Its something I would recommend looking into if you haven’t already! An occupational therapist could work through a sensory profile with you and come up with interventions for home, community, and school that might help Jack feel more in control of his body.

    (Side note – Most of the kids I worked with who had these struggles were VERY intelligent kiddos! They were also testing off the charts! But, people then expect more from their behavior than can be expected from a young kid – especially if that kiddo just needs to move more!)

    Feel free to send me an email if you want more information. As I said, my daughter has been diagnosed as having these sensory difficulties so we’re in the middle of figuring out how to help her through her days as such a little tyke 🙂

    Some links:
    Description of Proprioception:

    Ideas of Ways to Give Sensory Input:

    Description of Proprioception That I Wrote: (this is the whole story of our daughter’s struggles – part way through the post is a long description I wrote of the proprioceptive system to help her grandparents understand what it means):

    Hopefully this information is helpful to you and does not come off at all as judgmental at all! I myself have a need for additional proprioceptive input and know where these kiddos are coming from. You guys are great parents – I’ve been reading here for years – and you have done so much to give Jack what he needs! Go to bed tonight knowing you are AWESOME!

  18. Oh, I’m sending you hugs and strength and a great big “parenting is hard” look. My son (who is now 25) had all sorts of behavior issues that we’d talk about and talk about. My best advice is to listen to the good advice from the trusted sources (and sometimes a random voice chimes in with something interesting), but ultimately, you know your child. You know what you are trying and what just doesn’t fit in your world. You are going to be judged and critiqued and shamed. Ultimately, he’s your child and I don’t have one doubt that you are doing a great job! Talk to his doctor. He/She may have some suggestions. With my kid, it was a combination of medication and the years he was medicated, we used to introduce coping skills and behavior modifications. This will not last forever. Your goal is not to raise a perfect kindergartener but a responsible, caring adult member of society. You are going to have to use your long vision here and realize that, yes, you have things to work on but he’s a great kid, who is smart and caring. Ultimately the rest is skills. You can teach skills. You can’t teach smart or caring. Stay strong. Keep your ears open to suggestions that just ring true even if they are off the beaten path. And cry when you need to. This part of your life is short — believe it or not. Hugs!

    • What kind and insightful words; thank you!!

      He actually had a ped appointment today, and we discussed referrals for an occupational therapist and behavioral specialist. Going to see how this week goes with his “FOCUS” chart, and then I’ll call if necessary.

      • I do hope you get some answers that help! And can pass along to the rest of us because my grandson is going th esame way now.

  19. Please, please, please r e l a x! The entire situation is being blown out of control. You have a little boy, he is in kindergarten and he is there to learn. He will learn. Part of education at his age is social skills. The way the teachers are reacting to this is going to create a problem and they are making you feel inadequate. I honestly think you might rethink this entire thing. Children mature at different ages, boys especially. He is obviously highly intelligent and so you do not have to worry about him being behind educationally. Have you ever considered homeschooling him this year? It honestly sounds like he may be socially maturing a little slower. He is not broken and neither are you. You sound like a uber responsible parent who is beating yourself up for NO reason. He sounds like a awesome little boy. Think about it???

    • I’m actually pretty calm about it today; I have nothing to feel bad about, and I know this too shall pass. Thanks for your kind words!

      Homeschooling is not an option even if I wanted it to be; I work full-time outside of the home. He is definitely socially immature, and honestly the idea of keeping him away from kids in the classroom by homeschooling him doesn’t seem like it will move the dial forward in his skills.

  20. I didn’t see the whole exchange, but I’m SO feeling for you after reading this blog. I have a good friend whose son is ADHD and has constant impulse control issues… kleptomania being just one of them. Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on your view) medication has helped him tremendously in school, as he is a bright kid, excellent grades, it’s just behavior that gets him in trouble. I know most people scorn at “medicating the problem,” but in his case, it really has helped. To see him without meds he is a completely out-of-control kid as if on Speed. To see him ON meds, he acts *completely normal* like you would expect of any other kid his age, not some doped-up, sluggish stoned kid like some would have you believe. I hope you have explored a medication angle, if there is possibly something out there that would help. And I say this with caution because I and most people I know don’t like going that route.

    Having said that – my daughter is in a homeschool class (Classical Conversations) and one of her classmates seems to be an extremely bright kid who learns at a faster pace than others (and he is only 6!) and is very fidgety and distracted in most of class. But still he learns, and he excels. The class tutor is very patient with him, knowing his tendencies and just constantly reminds him to pay attention and takes away whatever might be distracting him in the moment. I wish for you that Jack could be in a different environment that would more closely cater to his needs than try to conform him to society’s ways!

    Many prayers and virtual hugs to you, Jack and your family! Parenting is HARD, and those out there who think they have it all figured out are fooling no one but themselves.

    • Thanks so much for your kind words! You got it; this shit is hard.

      We’ve been monitoring/exploring the ADHD angle since he was 3, and every ped/expert we have met with agrees that he doesn’t have it, and whatever they could prescribe wouldn’t fix what ails the boy.

      • Sarah,

        My heart just goes out to you. I posted a huge long post further down- but seriously… your son sounds like my son 🙂

        I know you are super busy with everything- but if you ever need to vent or talk feel free to email me or find me on facebook. I have had SO much success with my son with the Feingold diet. I stumbled along this diet after reading “Why Can’t My Child Behave.”

      • I’ll check it out for sure!

        Jack had food allergies for two years (birth to two), so he didn’t eat much food that would cause any of those behaviors, but even back then he was a handsy little guy.

  21. I just had to post and say that I think you are a great mom. An excellent mom even. I hear lots of parents don’t even show up at the parent teacher conferences now, so you are already ahead of the curve.

    My mom works with special ed kids and I hear stories all the time about kids with these issues that really just aren’t excelling in the particular learning environment set up for them. She did once mention to me that some of her kids need a “fiddle.” This is a small object that they can fiddle with that helps them focus and keep their hands occupied.

    The reason she mentioned this to me is that my husband would have been a kid that could have used a fiddle (heck – he still could!). He is brilliant (and very successful, by the way), but was very active and had a very hard time sitting still and behaving as a kid. It definitely sounds like Jack could be gifted (like my hubs), so hopefully they will check him for that. From what I understand, that can be a difference of night and day in terms of learning environment.

    I also think you can demand answers and help from your school. There have to be more resources for you and they do have to teach your kid, even if they don’t feel he fits into their box.

    Good luck! You are great and a terrific mom! This is just a season.

  22. One more vote of confidence that you will figure out what is best for your kiddo. Mom’s who know there kids really do know best.

    Weird random thought- find him a girl playmate that will stand up for herself. We babysat a boy who was a year younger but bigger than our daughter. He sounds like Jack- smart but very physical with no personal bubble understanding. Emma set him straight while also learning how to be a little more tough.

    Anyway, love and positive thoughts to you guys while you figure it out!

  23. I’m a lurker on your blog. You were a huge inspiration for me to start my own business doing something that I love love love! You are awesomesauce. I have a Jack at home. His name is Tucker and he is 13. This is a good thing…1) because his dad and I haven’t throttled him, yet and 2) he’s getting so much better. Every day. Every choice. Every decision. So as a mom, I was instantly pissed when I read the fb crap. People suck. The people who are so mean and opinionated obviously live in a freaking weird rainbow land of unicorns that poop daisies and their perfect children are far from perfect. I’ve worked in the school system for several years. With SPED kiddos and in regular classrooms. It’s hard to be a parent. It’s frustrating. It makes gray hair’s pop out over night. But, it’s so freaking awesome when things go right. No one can tell you how to parent Jack. You guys have to find what clicks. To throw out a couple of things that have worked for us, in our situation, 1-2-3 Magic is a really good parenting book and dvd. Also, a book called something like cookies and choices. Everything you described fits that book. Good read, good ideas. We mixed and mashed until we figured out a system that works for us. It probably freaks perfect parents out, but my kids are still alive and I can still pluck the grays before they get too unruly. Love your boy, love yourself. You are doing just fine. I promise it gets better! Jack is gonna do some pretty amazing things.

  24. I have a 5 year old named Jack too. I swear they would be a match made in Heaven. He’s a boy, and I refuse to believe there’s something wrong with him. I took my Jack out of VPK because the constant “behavioral” issues were too stressful on all of us. Not running away from problems at all! (Sarcasm) I love your sarcasm. It’s inspiring. You’re doing great at the Mom thing. You’re doing it the way God intended for you to raise him. But seriously, reading your “Jack” stories is so comforting to know I’m not the only one with “boys” (Logan is 4 and is Jacks only match). Thanks for sharing, I have no advice… My Jack lost candy for October, the whole month 😉

  25. Hey Sarah,

    I haven’t read any other comments, so this might sound repetitive, but I want to say a few things. Your recent post moved me. I don’t know Jack like you do, but I wonder if with all the incentives he has, and how badly he wants to try harder, if he is really capable at this time of impulse control. I think you are a great mom, and I think you are absolutely, 100%, spot on with the main idea I took away from your post. Sometimes we can’t fix things for people, sometimes we just have to be there with them through the tough times.

    I know you will keep looking for solutions, but in the meantime, try to ignore the looks and comments that suggest that you are responsible for his behavior. Trust yourself and your husband to make the best decisions for Jack. God gave him to you for a reason, and you two are the best, most capacitated people for this job.

    Keep loving him and working with him, but accept him with all of the difficulties and quirks that make him special!!

  26. First of all HUGS! Parenting some kids is just harder thank others! First off.. I personally would NOT have withheld birthday cake at another kids party as part of the punishment.. Probably would have confiscated the treat bag.. but not used that moment as a shaming time.
    In regards to behavior… UGH! He sounds so much like my oldest son. Super intelligent yet doesn’t seem to get the norms of appropriate social interaction. He also struggled with focusing. Many boys tend to mature more slowly and take some extra time to get this…

  27. Sarah, I didn’t read the other comments and sorry FB was so rough on you. I wrote awhile back about not getting my email updates about your lovely chicken…I am finally back on the list and relatively caught up on blog reading. I just have to say that LOADS I mean literally and figuratively LOADS of kiddos have impulse control problems! Mine are in there too. Not every school is as adequately prepared for a challenge. Possibly your problem is not just with Jack’s issues, but also with those trying to handle them. And I agree that he is not being challenged in school and that having too much time allows him to notice anything that needs tattling. He will likely grow out of these issues with more practice being in a confined condition. In the mean time keep looking for answers even if they come with snarky remarks cause that is what all “good moms” do when our kids have troubles. BTW the “right” teacher makes all the difference. Hope you and Jack get some good news on the school front soon.
    -Angie, enjoying fall in Ohio (without chicken)

  28. You are fine & he is fine & someday, something amazing will come from all these shenanigans!

  29. Hugs, hugs, and more hugs for both you and Jack. Nothing in my life has been as heartbreaking as not being able to make my son understand how to behave properly, except maybe the comments from smart-assed know-it-alls who were certain he’d be an angel if they were in charge. No, make that his disappointment when he realizes he has failed again to do what is asked of him.

    Motherhood is hard, and so is kindergarten, especially for little boys. I’m so glad you make it clear to Jack that he makes bad choices, and not that he’s a bad kid. Not every parent, or authority figure recognizes the difference.

    You’ve gotten some great advice, and I’m not sure I have much to add. This journey is a marathon, and some days you will want to just curl up and cry. But my mantra is failure is not an option, and neither is surrender.

    Actually, one suggestion I do have is when dealing with the school, I find the favorite punishment is taking away recess. My position has always been if ever there was a kid who needed to run around and burn off some energy, it’s a kid who is struggling to behave in class. No one loves your child more than you, and no one knows him as well as you do. You are his best advocate.

  30. I feel for you…I also agree that parenting is the hardest job in the world! And it sounds like you’re really ‘putting your back into it’ which is more than most!

    I can’t get over the school though! My son is the same age as yours, but our school year starts in January here (Oz) so he’s 3/4 of the way through “prep”… The first year of school… He’s no saint, but the only reports we get home is when he gets hurt in the playground… And his academic reports are only focused on his learning… He has bruises all over his shins and we asked him how he got them… He said “Charley kicks me under the table” we were getting ready to have a word with the teacher about Charley… But then Noah confessed that he kicks Charley too, it’s a bit of a game…. No reports from the teachers about that! They just handle the situation in house… Not to say they won’t investigate if I’m worried about something… They’re good that way… But at the start of the year the Vice Principle, who investigates issues, told me that the Preps have trouble getting the ‘no touching’ message… They allow for the fact that they’re ‘kids’ in a new environment and are adjusting to lots of change… Is Jack’s school a military prep one?

  31. Hey, just my 2 cents: Birthday cake isn’t normal dessert, but a way of celebrating someone else’s life, so I wouldn’t include it . . .
    Anyway, love you! I’m way past raising kids, but I read your blog ’cause it’s real and true and funny, too.
    Yes, let him eat birthday cake, but no dessert after dinner, imho, which sounds like what the consequence was supposed to be in your mind . . .
    He’ll be fine; he’ll catch up to the social norms eventually. He will. Don’t stress too much; you’re a great mom!

  32. Oh, how I wish I could hug you and then turn around and to slap all those dingbats on FB who think they know your kid better than you!
    I, too, am married to a Jack– only his name is Jeff! He was full of bad choices in school. In fact, I don’t imagine he ever made good choices from the stories I have heard. He was super popular- Homecoming King, etc- but the class clown. His ‘bad’ choices included peeing on the radiator so when the heat kicked on, the whole school smelled, and other things that make me shake my head and think, “OMG.” Back in the 60s and 70s though, he would be punished by “paddling.” It did take him until after he graduated before he “outgrew” his bad decision making, though!
    Flash forward and we have now been married 30+ years and he is the most loving husband and the best father around. It is like he got all his “bad” choices out of the way when he was a kid so he only had room to make good choices in his life.
    We now have a grandson that has made his share of “bad” choices in K and 1st grade with our daughter and son-in-law having multiple conferences at school, lots of tears, lots of yelling and so much frustration. Finally Jeff stepped up and said to them, “You know he is just a kid, right? You can’t expect a kid to act like an adult.” And that was the turning point. When they stopped expecting him to act older than he was and they talked to the school about it, things started to change.
    We are now 8 weeks into the new school year and there hasn’t been a single call from the school. He is excelling at school and was even elected as the 2nd grade representative to the student council.
    I guess what I am trying to say is maybe Jack needs to be Jack! He may not be ready to NOT violate other children’s personal space so instead of getting upset and punishing him, try turning it around and say something like I bet Suzy doesn’t like when you touch her or get so close to her. Or I bet Mike would rather you didn’t put your hands on him. That way it isn’t all about Jack.
    No one knows your kid like you do so keep your head up, Mama, and if you need any help slapping a few dingbats, give me a call 😉

  33. I don’t have kids, and I don’t have any room to talk. And frankly, my opinion shouldn’t matter. But I think you’re wonderful, and also think that you should know that. I’m sorry you had a rough day with facebook and parenting and teacher’s conferences. But you’re still wonderful, and even moreso for your tenacity and for caring. Don’t give up. It will all work out. I don’t have kids, but I was a difficult one, and I know this to be true.

  34. Oh my gosh! You have been through the wringer. I have gone back and forth with whether or not to post – you’ve had more than a fair share of replies and I don’t know that I’ve got anything different to add. Just please know you are not alone with your struggles.

    Though my son is much older – he’s 23 now – we went through many of the same issues. His first few years of pre-K and elementary school were tough. He was bright, funny, charming but also talkative and loved to be in the middle of things. Like you, there were several conferences and phone calls about misbehavior. Lots of promises on my son’s part about improvements. He was labeled as a difficult student and it effected everything. It reached a pinnacle in 3rd grade – with a very uncompromising teacher. It was a tough, tough year. Ultimately, we had to move for work reasons to another state and it made all the difference. The new state/school district had many more resources, ideas and a seemingly endless belief in my son. From 4th grade on, we had no problems. He was homecoming prince in 9th and 10th grade and starting quarterback all four years.

    From the very beginning our situation boiled down to my son’s inability to focus on task, be quiet and follow instruction. No amount of punishment/incentive had any permanent affect. I think the root cause for my son was that I put him in kindergarten too soon – he just didn’t have the age appropriate skills yet. He should have had another year to mature. In our home state, kindergarten was for any child who turned 5 before Sept 1. My son turned 5 on Aug 31. I had the option to postpone for a year, but I pushed ahead thinking it wouldn’t be any big deal. It was a huge deal. And since it was a concept he never really learned, it continued to be a problem for a long time.

    Here’s what I learned through our whole experience:

    – At this age your handsome little boy wants nothing more than to make you happy. You and your husband are the biggest and best influences. Continue to have those moments where you build him up and encourage him. Sometimes what happened during the school day could really wear my son down. It was heartbreaking. He wanted so much to be good.

    – The chemistry between my son and his teacher was paramount. If my son felt like his teacher was behind him, he would bend over backward to accomplish any task. This was true in elementary school and it was true in high school English composition, biology and choir (because girls are in choir, lol). When my son was labeled the bad kid in 3rd grade, everything fell apart. The teacher and my son completely disengaged. He would spend days ignored by his teacher with his head down on his desk and his jacket over his head. When we moved to the new state, I shared my concerns with the new principal. He kept an eye on all his classes and made any necessary adjustments. His grades soared, he won the best citizen award that year for helping an autistic boy with hearing sensitivities during fire drills. The difference between 3rd grade and 4th grade were night and day. We learned a bad fit with a teacher could result in failing easy subjects (math and science) while a good fit with difficult subjects (history, writing) could have straight As.

    – You are his best advocate. I have a hard time speaking up, making waves, etc. This was never truer than with the 3rd grade teacher. She felt like she’d been teaching for 30 years, she had a system and she wasn’t going to alter her system for anyone. I didn’t necessarily want her to change her system but I did want her to see my son as a person who was trying and to recognize the attempts instead of constantly belittling him. I didn’t stand up for him and he suffered.

    – The school my son was in through 3rd grade was a well-respected private school that cost a fortune. The school were my son excelled was a public school. Find what works best for your family. I remember telling my son’s high school principal at graduation that at every meeting with teachers, I felt like teachers were solely focused on my son – that outta 1000 kids they were only interested in him and what was best for him. That’s something every kid should experience.

    I’m not going to say everything was perfect with sunshine and roses. There was always a difficult transition at the beginning of every school year as we tried to find the right balance in teachers. Sometimes he just had to struggle through the year with a teacher that wasn’t a perfect fit. But he needed to learn how to get along with people he didn’t necessarily agree with or like and still succeed.

    I have to say that when I read your initial post about Jack’s classroom behaviors – my heart went out to you. I felt so helpless in those first few school years. That 3rd grade year felt like a huge dark whole had swallowed me up and I know it must have been worse for my son. I was heartbroken for him. I felt like a failure and I was frustrated with my son (why couldn’t he just behave????).

    So really, after typing all that out, I have nothing really helpful to add. Just know that you are not alone – many parents struggle with similar issues. The great thing about social media is that you can get a million different opinions, ideas and experiences. The bad thing about social media is that you can get a million different opinions, ideas and experiences. 🙂 I hope you can ignore all the negativity and find comfort in those that support you. Ultimately, this is your life, your son, your family. Make the decisions that are best for you and I believe the best will come.

  35. Hi Sarah,

    First of all, I love your blog, especially your honesty and sarcasm! You are one of the hardest working mamas I know and thanks for taking the time to share your life with us. I can only imagine some of the off-handed comments and feedback you must deal with. Some people just seem to really get their jollies from putting down and judging others.

    I am a mom with twin 5 year-olds who are both on the autism spectrum. Please don’t take this the wrong way, but has this ever been a consideration for Jack? I obviously only know him through your blogs, but you have shared traits that are common for high-functioning autistic children (and remind me of some boys I have met in our local autism community). He doesn’t sound ADD/ADHD at all. You have described him as having troubles socially, as far as understanding personal boundaries and interacting with other kids. Behavioral and social skills are two main factors in an autism diagnosis.

    I am not an autism specialist, just a mama trying to be helpful. I apologize if this has been touched on already. And please do not read into my comment as anything more than a suggestion. I did see in one comment that you have a referral for a behavioral therapist. I think that would be a good start. And an OT can quickly discern if Jack’s lack of a personal bubble is a sensory-seeking behavior. I would suggest moving forward with that because you have done so much already.

    Good luck and hang in there!

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  37. WHOA! What I took from this is your comment “This shit is hard”. I purposely didn’t read the FB thread first because I can imagine the procession of ‘input’.

    What I love about this is comments from your loyal readers who are not those who blog about perfect children when they are still toddlers (personal peeve= come back and tell us how highschool went). Great comments from your peeps with good support, ideas and advice that is non judgy.

    I’m a ‘school interventionist’ (school psychologist) and am married to a grown up Jack. (when we met I was in my internship and he told me “I was tested by someone like you!”). Your Jack will be just fine because he is super smart and kind. Believe me when I say that the school should be more worried about less capable mean kids. I have seen many kids who have early issues turn out just fine because they are smart and kind. You are also super involved parents….schools tend to report more stuff to those who listen. Jack is a perfect storm…totally bright, wants to do well and has parents who care. That’s all that matters; it will get better and he will go on to do great things but hang in there for the time being.

    He’s your awesome little man.

  38. Nothing like a good mom shaming to start the day! I read your follow up post and it sounds like you’re doing much better than I would in the same situation.

    The only thing I can muster when being judged by fellow mothers is a rage induced exclamation of “DERP DERP DERP!” You’re much more eloquent 🙂

    And also, you’re doing great, which I’m sure is not so helpful from an internet stranger…but all the same. Keep on keepin’ on!

  39. Well, that settles it. Jack has an incurable disease. He’s a BOY. They all act like this at one time or another. I have the fortune of having 3 of these creatures. While they love their moms with all their hearts, they are foreign creatures. You’re doing a great job, and don’t let anyone mom-shame you otherwise just so they can feel like high & mighty wretches. At the end of they day, he’s a 5 yr old little boy who is testing boundaries. I recommend a hearty dose of ice cream for you. 🙂

  40. I am so sorry for the shitstorm on FB. You are his mom, and you are doing the best you can. It will work out. Hugs. I hate crappy days.

  41. Oh how I feel for you! And I am about to give you a TON of hope 🙂

    My son in kindergarten and first grade- total nightmare. He was constantly in the principals office for some of the similar behaviors your son is having trouble with. He was almost put in a 5 pt harness on the bus because he wouldn’t stay properly seated. I had many-o big ugly cries because of his behavior. I have one other older son that NEVER behaved like this and a younger daughter who had better social skills than her older brother.

    My son was diagnosed with ADHD at 4 (not medicated controlled by diet) and mild SPD. He was HARD to discipline (nothing really stuck long term) he was hard to handle- but he was never really bad. He has a heart of gold and is very sweet and social- but just doesn’t take to social ques and is so dang implosive and active. He was given the nickname of “Tazz” from my husbands co-work after just seeing him for 5 minutes.

    So now- he is in second grade. I got a phone call from the teacher a few nights ago (I talked to her before school started about some common issues with my son) and I thought “here we go again…” BUT she was calling to tell me how WONDERFUL he is!!! We turned a corner. He LISTENS! He keeps his hands to himself! He follows rules!! He talks when it is his turn!!! He is creative and loving and unique (all things I knew- but to hear someone say that instead of all negative.. meant the world to me!)

    So.. here is my advice from a mom that has been there, done that! Do what feels right to you. Keep loving him. Keep guiding him. Keep truckin’ along momma! It will get better. You many not feel like it- but he is learning from you. Once the maturity catches up it will get better. And as for the judging- been there too. It can make you feel so small. But if you do what feels right and follow intuition you will get there. What I remind myself when it gets hard- “God gave me this child because HE knew I was the best mom for him.” Even when you don’t know what is the right thing to do- you are the right mom to help him reach his potential.

    I swear it is the genius children that are the hardest to raise 😀 Sounds like Jack is a little genius. I know my little Landan is super smart too 😀

    • I love that — “God gave me this child because HE knew I was the best mom for him.” What a great mantra, something all mothers should hear. Okay, now I have to go call my mom and tell her I love her.


    • The call from the teacher made me smile a huge smile. I’m so thrilled you are all at a place now where he has a good fit. I hope we get to that point soon as well.

  42. Wow. I can offer no advice on your child-rearing or on how to deal with awful comments on facebook. I have no children, but it sounds like one of the hardest parts of having a child is dealing with everyone else’s opinion on how you should raise children. I just want to say, I am so inspired and encouraged by your reaction and response to the situations you’ve been in lately. I think you’ve handled it all with poise and strength, and you sound like an incredibly fair and communicative parent. It’s abundantly clear that you love your child and are doing your best to do right by him, and honestly, since you’re taking the high road, I’ll flip your haters the bird for you. You rock.

  43. I really enjoy your blog from afar, although I do proudly sport my “what doesn’t kale you makes you stronger” gear whenever I can. You have no shortage of advice, but that’s not going to stop me from sending more! This is from my late father in law –kids usually turn out fine by the time they’re 35. My husband likes to add that he originally said 25, but as everyone got older he modified it 🙂 He also said don’t use names that start with a “J” because they turn out to be brats but I think it’s too late for that (his fourth child is a J name and is a fine upstanding citizen, but did cause his fair share of grey hairs). I personally would say trust those good instincts of yours and maybe spend an hour in the classroom if you can to get a feel for the environment.

    • Aww, so glad you like the Kale stuff!!

      I like your FIL’s concept about “J” names. When/if we have another one, you’ll be happy to know that my preferred boy and girl name do NOT start with J!

      My MIL was an elementary educator for 30+ years, and she is planning on volunteering in his classroom so she can evaluate and monitor his behavior, the management style, etc.

  44. I didn’t read all the comments, so if I am repeating something, sorry. Does Jack have something he likes to touch in his pocket? Like a squishy ball, a rabbit’s foot, anything he can touch and play with? This might help with his need for tactile stimulation. Also, (talking as a mom, teacher and principal for 30 years), can you tell your teacher that you need her to focus on the good in your boy? He is an amazing reader, what is she doing to channel that? It might not change his behavior, but she might need to change her focus on him. If his teacher is focusing on his bad behavior, it could be giving her more of that, instead focus on his good behavior and document that. I know it is hard having a very busy boy, I have 4 boys and everyone of them was a different kind of challenge…they all turned out fine, in spite of me and their teachers!
    God Bless

    • Ever since I read everyone’s comments, I’ve been researching the concepts of “fidgets”. I’m taking him to school on Friday, and will talk to his teacher then. She strikes me as the kind of person who doesn’t want a “fidget”, but I hope she is willing to try it. If it helps, it’s worth it, right? And yes, I agree with you that she is not also focusing on the positive.

      My sister (a teacher) brought up the idea of a large rubberband around his chair legs so that he can kick at it. Her friend’s kiddo is in a kindergarten class, and the teacher strapped bungee cords to EVERY kid’s chair legs.

  45. the view from the outside in, is shadowed and brings with it a touch of blindness. No one can really know of another’s marriage and the same goes with raising children. Unfortunately folks have no problem with speaking up and telling someone what they are doing wrong in the child rearing arena, and unfortunately it is an arena, because we raise children everywhere we take them and spend time with them.

    Each day you do the best you are able to do, is a good day. And the love you share for your son, means you are working hard to help him make improvements, aka choices. thank you.

  46. Hang in there, parenting is not for the faint of heart!! I can speak from experience, as my kids are now 30, 27 & 24, it’s all a roller coaster, no one is perfect you do the best you can (some days are easier than others)!!
    You’re an awesome mom!!

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