Jack got a smiley face!

Well, Jack’s expression could sum up how I’ve been feeling about the past couple of weeks. He’s been testing boundaries in all areas and as much as school breaks are wonderful, they are hard for kiddos that thrive on routine. We’ve been in the trenches of training and disciplining these past couple of years and he completely understands his behavior is not appropriate and/or acceptable. (Imagine pig noises during morning meetings.) I told my friend at this point, Jack may be in a time out… for the rest of his life.

The charmer has been testing which adult will let him get by with this or that…flashing his adorable smile or ability to distract the victim with a hug. Then proceeds to say, “Trust me mom, trust me.”Nope, not today Jack.

Routine, repetition, firm and direct instructions, modeling, and so many other strategies are what help him thrive at home and school. Some days I’ve got a little extra patience, encouragement, and communication, and some days I certainly don’t. We feel that just because he has Down syndrome, that doesn’t give him a free pass to be disrespectful or out of control. By setting high expectations, it communicates to him and others that we believe in him. It’s so tempting to make excuses, give in, and not hold him accountable for his part… but how will that impact him as he launches into the world? How will that impact his friendships, coworkers, family, and friends?

We desire for him to be a respectful, hard working, contributing, loving person, and we know that it’s possible because we believe he is responsible, capable, and full of potential. He came home from school last week, got his folder out, and proudly showed me his daily communication sheet that reported he earned himself a smiley face! It had been over three weeks since he had earned one. Everyone’s worked hard for that smiley face: Jack, his awesome teachers and paras, and us at home. We celebrated with his favorite, Panino fries. We’ve grown in our creativity, understanding, patience, communication, expectations, and for sure celebrating the little things! This week…we’re back to square one… and all I want to say is “Come on, buddy…stopping being a punk”.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed in the season you are in, you’re not alone…don’t give up, the hard work will pay off, know it will make you stronger, and don’t believe the lie that this phase will last forever. What we know on this journey is that each season has it’s own timeline and parenting isn’t linear. So high five to all the parents and teachers doing the hard work. I see you. I feel you. And I’m cheering you on as we help our kids reach their greatest potential.

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