Tag Archives: personalities

Dsyfunctional Families

Standard

I came across this article about dsyfunctional families and learned about the various roles within.  It was easy for me to determine which role accurately described each one of my stepsons; and eerie how accurate the descriptions are!  Evan is the “scapegoat” and Ethan is the “adjuster.”

“Acting out child” – “Scapegoat”

This is the child that the family feels ashamed of – and the most emotionally honest child in the family.  He/she acts out the tension and anger the family ignores.  This child provides distraction from the real issues in the family.  The scapegoat usually has trouble in school because they get attention the only way they know how – which is negatively.  They often become pregnant or addicted as teenagers. These children are usually the most sensitive and caring which is why they feel such tremendous hurt.  They are romantics who become very cynical and distrustful.  They have a lot of self-hatred and can be very self-destructive.  This often results in this child becoming the first person in the family to get into some kind of recovery.

“Adjuster” – “Lost Child”

This child escapes by attempting to be invisible.  They daydream, fantasize, read a lot of books or watch a lot of TV. They deal with reality by withdrawing from it.  They deny that they have any feelings and “don’t bother getting upset.”  These children grow up to be adults who find themselves unable to feel and suffer very low self-esteem.  They are terrified of intimacy and often have relationship phobia.  They are very withdrawn and shy and become socially isolated because that is the only way they know to be safe from being hurt.  A lot of actors and writers are ‘lost children’ who have found a way to express emotions while hiding behind their characters.

Parents, Stay “In Touch”

Standard

A few weeks ago my school held Parents-in-Touch night.  I have a 150 students.  I only met with 22 parents.  In my seven years of teaching, I’ve come to find that many parents are really not “in touch” with their children.  They are quite clueless as to who their children are.  Anything revealed at a conference should not be news to the parent.

Some of the parents I conferenced with had no idea that their child was failing one or more classes.  One memorable parent staunchly defended her son’s poor work and study habits.  She informed me that it was my job to call her when he missed an assignment.  “He know I’m crazy!” (I didn’t disagree with her on that self-assessment), she passionately cried to explain why his low grade had to be my fault.

I attempted to show her his many zeros, but she was not very interested.  Apparently I was more to blame than he.  She never mentioned the fact that I had contacted her earlier in the school year to warn her that he was not doing any work.  Or that midterms serve as a warning as well.  Nevermind the talking to your child part.

Part of our job as parents is to know the kids we are raising.  By knowing them, we are staying in touch with them.  When you know them, you don’t waste valuable time playing the blame game because you already know the score.

I even wonder from time to time if the parent and I are referencing the same child.  Teachers often see a side to children that the parents might not necessarily see.  Not because of bad parenting per say because it could be a myraid of things.

Last year Nicholas gave me a note from his teacher that said he was playing in the bathroom with another student.  After reading it, I asked him why he was playing around.  Intially he attempted to say that he was not.  But because I know my child, I knew well enough that he was.  Nicholas can be too playful at times.  And sometimes that’s just what nine-year-olds do.  Had I had the attitude “my child can do no wrong” I would have lost a valuable teaching moment to remind him about how he is to behave at school.

Teachers do not enjoy being the bearer of bad news, trust me.  If we could report only good news about your child, we would!

Here are a few ways that parents can stay in touch with their children and have a productive parent/teacher conference:

Spend real time with your kids: This might sound like a no brainer, but it isn’t always easy to do.  I am often with Nicholas, but not really spending time with him for various reasons.  Therefore I try to incorporate him into things such as helping me cook.  In this time I am able to kill two birds with one stone by doing something I have to do (cooking) with something that I love to do (spending time with Nicholas).  Sometimes I will even have him read the newspaper to me while I fold laundry or load the dishwasher.  These times make for interesting conversation.

Get to know their friends:  Nicholas loves to see me interact with his friends and their parents.  It might not be for an extended period of time, but it shows him that I care about who is interested in.  I think this also helps him choose freinds wisely because he knows that we are paying attention.

Realize that all kids have strengths and weaknesses:  As much as we love our little ones, they are still human.  I know that Nicholas can be very talkative, is a bit immature at times, and will rush through his work if not monitored.  On the otherhand, he is extremely articulate, fun-loving, and always in pursuit of adventure.  Notice that these are the same traits just worded differently.  I never tell him that he talks too much because I want him to use that skill in a more positive light.  But nevertheless, I am aware of his limitations.

Volunteer at their school:  Almost everyone at Nicholas’ school knows me as “Nicholas’ mom or Mrs. Morocco.”  When I have time off of work I make sure to pop in for a visit or to volunteer for a few hours.   I try to do most of my “volunteering” at home because of my work hours.  I collect box tops, donate for school events, and help organize field trips.  When Ethan’s science class conducted an experiment using Diet Coke, I happily contributed.  I am currently saving paper towel rolls for a future project for that particular class.

Show support: One simple way to do this is by attending school functions.  Even if your children are not involved in a particular sport or activity, you can still attend school events to express your school spirit as a parent and help foster your child’s.  Next week we have a Math Family Night that we are all looking forward to attending at Nicholas’ school.

Be aware of academic ability:  It’s important for you to know your child’s academic strengths and weaknesses.  I have always been very strong in English and very weak in math.  Fortunately Nicholas is balanced in all areas.  However, if you know this ahead of time, you can suppplement the weak areas with tutoring, extra practice, or monitoring the progress being made in that particular subject area.  It’s true, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. 

Teach Good Study Habits:  Because Nicholas makes excellent grades he feels that this exempts him from studying.  Therefore, I have spent a lot of time teaching him the importance of having good study skills.  I try to point out that he won’t know everything all of the time.  I have also taught him how to break studying down into more digestable parts.  Cramming is such a bad, bad practice!

Work with, not against: In most cases issues with the teacher can be resolved.  If you receive bad news about your child, don’t immediatedly get defensive.  I like when parents are proactive and ask what we (student, parent, teacher) can do to remedy the situation.  It makes no sense to report a problem without brainstorming a soluton.  We are not the enemy or out to “get” your child.  Working together works.

Teach Self-advocacy:  Many students are afraid to ask questions when they are confused about the material and they shouldn’t be!  Encourage your children to speak up for themselves.  I like to tell my kids that I have many talents but mind reading is not one of them!  I can’t always look at a child and immediatedly know if they need help–especially so when you ask and they decline.  Let your children know that it is perfectly okay to need assistance!

Strange Fruit

Standard

A comment emailed to me from a reader, Old Friend on Makes Me Wanna Holler inspired me to write this post.  He mused that Eliza is a of a rare breed.  I have to agree; Eliza deserves to be in a class of her own for she is the strangest of fruits.  I try and try to understand her with little success.   Her behavior and life remain a conundrum.

 

There is no way I can explain why she has done some of the things that she has.  Or why she presently operates in a state of frenzied paranoia.  The old saying goes that you can’t compare apples to oranges.  I don’t know what kind of fruit she is, maybe an Elipple.  Or an Elnana.  Perhaps an Elizaberry.  She might just be a Dingleberry. Whatever she is I know that she is a lot different than your everyday garden variety.  The fruits of her spirit are quite devilish.

 

With that being said, I can’t compare her to much of anything.  It is really fruitless (pun intended) of me to keep attempting to understand her.  I just have to accept the fact that she is not healthy (overripe) and therefore does not have the capacity to act in a sound manner (leaves a sour/bitter/mealy/disgusting taste in the mouth). The rancidness of her fruitage is nausea inducing.  Fruit cake is not something I enjoy eating.  So I have stopped trying to psychoanalyze her behavior.  But this is really hard for me because I like fruit!  It is so versatile—you can bake it, puree it, can it, cook it,mash it, candy it, dry it, kebob it, and even use it as a garnish.  But it has its limitations.   You can’t heal it.  Fix it.  Reason with it.  Understand it.  

 

Me and most of the people in my circle are pretty normal fruit.  We are the apples, blueberries, pears, cherries, watermelons and strawberries of life—you know your everyday type of people produce.  While I love exotic fruit such as guava, passion fruit, and kiwi to name a few, my appetite just does not tolerate alien fruit.  Unfortunately, I am going to leave Eliza in the fruit bowl (bin) where she belongs!

Opening Up

Standard

             I am a very private individual.  I keep most of my thoughts close to my heart.  I am hypersensitive regarding most things.  I care deeply for others.  I don’t like to work on teams, believing that I can get the job done better on my own.  I could accurately be described as a loner, preferring my own company to that of others.  It feels safer this way.  

            It is not easy for me to open myself up to others.  Yet I know it is necessary in order to fortify relationships.  I am still hesitant to tell Eliza too much about me.  I don’t want to give her any future ammunition.  I want to be okay if the tides do happen to turn. I know that it is necessary for us to communicate, however, she does not have to confide in me the way that she has been.  This shows a little growth on her part.  She could keep things strictly about Ethan and Evan.  And this used to be the way it was. 

            But in her most recent letter she wrote I really appreciate you sharing with me how Evan is feeling.  I expect him to be angry with me.  I actually expect all of my boys to be angry with me-I don’t blame them.  I mean, look where I am… I’ve made some bad choices in life and I feel I have truly learned from my mistakes. When people are at the mercy of others, they will say and do anything to get comfort.  Does she really mean what she says?  Only time will tell the story of El…

            Truthfully, I don’t know if I’m brave enough to expose my “weak” spots to her.  But yesterday I took a tiny step in that direction.  I sent her eleven poems from a collection of poetry that I am creating called  Dark Days.  One poem in particular revealed a lot about me, entitled Where I Come From.  Keep reading because I plan to write a post regarding how she and I even got on the subject of poetry.  Stay tuned…