Tuesday, January 12, 2010

did I do the right thing?

The above picture is self explanatory, but there is more to the story....

Last Thursday Kate came home and proudly told me that she only got one wrong on her spelling test. It was a bonus word, so really it didn't count. Then she proceeded to tell me that she wrote a word correctly, erased it, changed it, noticed her neighbor wrote it the way she had originally written it, changed it again, and got it correct! I paused and said, "Kate you cheated." She replyed, "I know, I don't care." Where did my super sweet Kate go? Did she understand what she did was wrong? Did she not understand the seriousness of it? What the heck is going on!!?!?!? Oh, this is one of those "I am a crappy parent" moment too. I guess I blog about the good, bad, and ugly. But I digress.
Me: "Kate you have to tell your teacher what you did."
Kate: "NO! I am not telling her. Dad said people who cheat have to go to the principal."
About three mintues lapse by. I have to leave with Olivia and Brady for dance, Thad and Ryan are headed to hockey, and Kate had to walk to her friend's for a ride to dance.
I found her upstairs sobbing. "I can't tell Mrs. Carney. She will be so mad at me and send me to the principal and...."
Me: "Kate we have to go. Let's talk about this later." I hug her, because she is clearly scared out of her wits. That's no good either.
Later after dance the little kids and I ate dinner at my parents' house.
I asked my parents what I should do. Wayne said, "Tell her you're very disappointed in her and that you hope she never does it again.
Here is where I struggled. I had already told her she had to tell her teacher. I couldn't go back on what I said....but she is seven. It's not like she was cheating on her dissertation. But what message would I be sending if I did nothing? AHHHH.
Ultimately I encouraged her on Friday to tell her teacher. After school I called to see if she had. She had not. I told her teacher everything. Of course she was shocked and dissapointed. Hmmm now what?

Kate stayed home Monday. She had an upset tummy Sunday & yesterday (still does really). I thought maybe it was anxiety over it. Finally last night, I told her that I told her teacher. She was angry with me. "You lied to me mom." My reponse? "Much like you lied to Mrs. Carney?" She got quiet. I said, "Kate you made a bad choice. Cheating is bad, even if you didn't plan to do it. You will write a letter of apology to her. I will either mail it or you can give it to her, but you will do it."
So, back to the little note up top. I emailed her teacher this morning. Kate didn't give it to her! Now, in hindsight, I wouldn't have either. How scary? Finally her teacher called Kate up. Kate gave it to her, and listened to her teacher explain why that was bad. I thought she learned her lesson until tonight. Guess what? First thing she told me was how mad she was at me?!?!?!?! Then I raised my voice. "Kate YOU made the choice to cheat. I don't make choices for you. YOU do. You will not blame me for what YOU chose to do. It was wrong, you were forgiven. Stop blaming ME for it."
Now the question is, did I handle it inappropriately? Did I go overboard, not do enough, or what? I'll tell you this....we all have cheated right? Dang this parenting this is tough some days...


Anonymous said...

I don't think you did anything wrong at all. You made her tell her teacher what she did, and apologize for it. There is no wrong doing there. Don't let Kate make you feel bad for being a parent and doing what you know is right. She is just upset that she got caught doing something wrong and disappointing you.

Don't back down on this.


Getting back to me said...

I think you handled it great. Isabelle isn't in school yet, but I imagine I would have handled it much like you did.


Anonymous said...

Bonnie, you know I am not a parent, but you are an amazing mom because of what you did. As cringy as the whole situation was for both you and Kate, you made her do what is right...step up and take responsibility for her wrong doing. I'm sure she wont be angry with you for long, but you did the right thing and taught her a valuable lesson. Not enough parents would do what you did (in my opinion). Be strong!!


Ben said...

I think you did great, Bonnie. Time, I know, isn't your friend, but about the only other thing you might have done was to have walked Kate in with the note and watched her to make sure she gave it to her teacher. Outside of that, hang tough! Kate has a mind of her own, which is good, but which will give you lots of stories like these in the future I'm sure. :)


ABCDH said...

Oh, wow, once again I am so glad your kids are older so I can learn a thing or two.
The funniest thing of all is that Kate told you what she did when she didn't have to say anything at all.
So innocent at times.

Vicky said...

I'm impressed. You went to great lengths to help Kate not only make amends with her teacher, but understand a valuable lesson. I'll bet she will carry this with her a long time and most importantly you will teach her to trust her instincts. She had the correct answer in the first place and she talked herself out of it.

Be the change you want to see in the world... said...

She did tell you. That says a lot right there.

TBRKO said...

This is funny you guys, because of all the things I was worried about, Kate being mad at me was the LEAST of them. Hello I have kids mad at me daily!!
I just didn't know if I should make her tell her teacher, give her more consequences, etc...
Thanks for your support. It's always risky telling the world when your kids do something you don't want them too.

HHLSS said...

That is the sweetest letter I have ever seen!! She will never forget this lesson in cheating. :)

ssne said...

The letter is so sweet. Wouldn't it have been hilarious if she spelled every other word wrong? Haa haa! Being a teacher of younger kids, I as a teacher would have appreciated you explaining what happened. Kate is a good girl- remember she did come to you, and from my experience, second grade is when they realize they don't have to tell their parents everything anymore, yet she still does.

Melissa said...

Did the teacher call her out in front of the whole class. I am not sure what you should of done. Maybe of said, Kate, I thought about this, you don't need to tell your teacher, because I know this is emabarrassing, but you shouldn't ever do it again or she will have to tell her teacher? Who knows. Glad I am not there yet!