And just when I thought the excitement with Bradley was over - it wasn't! The exams are finished and the classes are busy with a class project which I thought Brad was winning with. I got the info off the net and he took it to school. Next morning I asked for his homework book to sign and saw that he was supposed to have created a cover page for said project. Not done so I rushed and helped him throw something together and off to school. About an hour later his class teacher phones me at work to say that Bradley hasn't done anything on his project. He was supposed to do a section at school the day before and finish it at home that night and this wasn't done. I never even knew about it. And while she had me on the phone - Bradley was involved in a fight at school the day before and he and the other boys involved were hauled in to speak to the HOD in front of her GR7 class where she gave all involved a detention. As the offenders were leaving her class Brad apparently turned to her class and mouthed at them 'F--k you all' whereupon they all put up a fuss and reported him. He was hauled back and given another detention. After this upon returning to his own class he laid into another boy (his former best friend) and started punching him (the poor little boy was white with shock). Well I've had my experience with the schools and I realised that there was probably another side to it. So upon questioning Brad his answer was:
1) the boys had ganged up on him and picked on him and he was defending his honour, thus the fight;
2) the class were apparently calling him 'big head' in Zulu as he left the class (which the teacher obviously didn't understand) and therefore the swearing;
3) the best friend who he punched has been goading him and egging him on to fight him.
(My little angel looking as though butter wouldn't melt in his mouth)
Well, this opened a window for me to speak to Brad about restraint equalling strength and not buying into the gang mentality which seems to reign in the schools these days. But it brought back memories of me as an older sister shouting at the kids who were teasing my brother about his 'big' ears as we walked home. Things change a lot but they don't seem to change at all. How do the parents of bullies and gang members conduct their parenting? Are they bullies and gangsters themselves? Are they even at home? We don't realise as parents the small words or actions or a moment of time spent with our kids which will stick with them and impact on them as adults. Life skills are so important. Teaching your kids self-confidence and restraint is top priority. I don't see my kids as extensions of myself but as individuals who have been entrusted to my care. Disappointments are stepping stones to teaching life skills.