S has not been well the past week. He has been home with a fever that goes up and down randomly and a sore throat. If his fever doesn’t go up through tonight he’s finally going back to school tomorrow.
At the mention of this during supper he lost his appetite and got all moody and said he doesn’t feel good. I can’t blame him really, who wants to go to school. Well, I never wanted to. But he seems like a boy who really likes school. Or at least he acts like it. This is totally normal though. After 5 days of no school and lying around at home it does seem like a downer to have to go to school. What made this incident stick in my head is a conversation he and I had over lunch.
I don’t know how we got on the subject but we were talking about good and bad people. I told him that the majority of people in the world are good and there are few really truly bad people. Which gave me an opportunity to tell him that he shouldn’t feel pressured to do things that make him feel uncomfortable or that upsets him even if a grown up tells him he has to. I told him he has the right to ask why, to say he doesn’t want to and so on and so forth.
S said he sometimes feels like that at school. I was thinking of peer pressure. Of bullying. Of horrible things like smoking. What he told me was that it bothered him when the boys lied or did things that were wrong. And that they get upset when he tells the teacher. (insert frustrated, hair pulling sounds here).
I explained to him that he shouldn’t tattle tale. That, in fact,he shouldn’t point out the bad things that the other boys do unless it put them or others in danger. And that boys are mean and will always be bad and he will be labeled the tattle tale of the school. He then reminded me that when we move back in a couple of weeks he is going to a new school where he will only have one class mate, who happens to be a girl.
My son isn’t a goody two shoes. I’m trying to understand why he would choose to tattle tale in the first place… He isn’t a huge tattle tale when he’s at home… not more than the other kids around us. And he get ZERO attention or reward for it. And he obviously is getting no rewards from his friends at school although I suspect that the teachers probably reward him for it. I do not want my son to be that boy.
The problem is he’s no angel! It’s true he doesn’t like to lie and if he does lie it doesn’t take long for him to confess as it makes him feel bad. But he is tricky, he tries to get out of his responsibilities when he can, he pushes his sisters buttons, he does naughty boy stuff like all 8 year olds do.
He now seems relieved that he doesn’t have to deal with a classroom full of boys in his new school and this gives me a sinking feeling in my stomach now… Again I am asking myself, am I doing the wrong thing here? Maybe he needs a classroom full of boys making fun of him or getting upset at him so he can change his behavior.
So, How do I discourage his tattle telling? And am I depriving him of learning life lessons by taking away the class full of boys?