Thursday, April 9, 2009

A Lesson in Listening

David is in trouble at school again! He has a three-day suspension. I could almost see it coming, but it wasn’t until today (the second day of the suspension) that I think I know why he’s having such a problem. He isn’t listening. I gave him several easy chores with one- or two-step directives to complete. However, I found that either the steps were not followed in the order I gave them or they were skipped altogether.

So we went over the chore directives and I explained what he didn’t do correctly. David thinks that when he is told that he is to clean out the grill he knows how, because he wants to do it his way. The problem is that when he is finished, his way is not correct. A case in point is when he was to clean out the grill and cover it from our weekend barbecue. He cleaned it out and left the bag of ashes on the grill, the lid left up and the cover on the ground. All these issues had been addressed with the directions. But his mind shuts off after he gets the general concept. This is happening in the classroom when he is given work and then doesn’t listen to hear what the directions are. He then gets upset and angry when the adult tells him he hasn’t gotten it right.

Even though many tell me this is a normal stage in a teen’s life David takes everything to extreme. So I usually have to take my correction to the extreme also to get the point across. After verbally talking to him about the issue and what needs to be done, it has continued. I am now having him sit down every hour with a notebook and I will give him 10 directives. David will have to write exactly what I say without me repeating it. If he missed it, I will say it one more time and he must rewrite it. David really doesn’t like to write so this is also helping with his handwriting skills. I have explained that this exercise in listening will continue until he can consistantly follow the directions we give him the very first time.

This will seriously cut into his fun time until he begins to listen.


rita said...

Your posting this is very helpful to me. I just spent the last two days having our 10 year old step-grandson here during his spring break. I saw a lot of the same issues. Assuming he knew what to do and didn't want to be told but then not being able to complete the task and being frustrated. Not wanting to listen and not wanting to be TOLD anything.
He has the added behavior struggles of wanting to be the center of attention at all times.
I told Ray last night that I have a greater amount of admiration for you and Rich than I did 48 hours ago.
Excuse me now, I need a nap! :-)

Kim said...

We're just winging it as we go. I do take a more creative correct route, but the normal ways have never worked.
I am usually exhausted at the end of the day. I just wonder how single parents can make it through the day.