Small Talk

Below red

February 26th, 2014

A man who learned I'm a housewife now shared with me his experience in between jobs. He said it was great for a few months, but then he was bored, bored, bored after five months and dying to get out of the house.

I would like to experience that for myself. Here is why I have not, in my two periods of unemployment, had a chance to get bored. In a word: Olivia.

My daughter is six now and kids are SO much work. Just the one is making me crazy at times.

Olivia's teacher has a behavioral grading system of green-yellow-red lights that she marks on their daily tablet. Olivia comes home and I look to see what color she got each today. Her average week is: two greens, two yellows, one red.


It's disappointing but I'm learning to live with it. I mean, Paul's son has only ever had greens, so I know it's possible. We just keep trying to correct Olivia. I used to blow my top but I've since become slightly numb to it.

This kid came home the other day with not just her usual red light, but the tablet said BELOW RED. Seriously? Not just red, but BELOW red? I did not know there was a grade worse than red. Can you be badder than bad? F minus?

I asked her what she did but she didn't give me a very clear answer. I saw a teacher's aide as I left school so I asked Miss Pam, who explained it clearly to me. Apparently Olivia had been bad three times that day.

How is it that I have such a kolohe child? "Below red" had me seeing red.

I talk to her about how she can improve next time, but I know from history that "next time" is really just around the corner. What to do???

8 Responses to “Below red”

  1. Ken Conklin:

    Faye Hanohano has gotten a few reds lately, and we see in the news that Big Daddy (Speaker Joe Souki) is considering what consequences she should face. When Olivia gets a red, maybe Mommy should do something to Olivia that will earn a red in the eyes of Olivia. Take away a privilege. Or a favorite toy. Or cancel a play date. Or give her a meal with foods she doesn't like. If Mommy does something out of character or irrational that Olivia considers bad, and especially if the bad directly affects Olivia and makes her feel deprived or unhappy, and if Mommy explains it's on account of the red that Olivia got, then maybe she will shape up and avoid getting reds in the future. "Sorry honey, I just wasn't acting normally because those reds you keep getting make me a little crazy and get me all bent out of shape." I'm inspired by how things were in Hawaii 200 years ago. "Pono" refers to balance. If someone violated kapu, it offended the gods and threw the whole system out of whack and could result in famine or floods or other bad things affecting the whole community. So the ali'i had to inflict punishment (a sacrifice had to be made) in order to restore balance and protect the whole community from the bad consequences.

  2. M:

    Hello Diane,
    Looks like you have a head strong kid. Doesn't want to conform with the rules. I really don't have any advise as my 2 grown up kids was well behaved and honor students. I would apply more disciplinary actions and take away privileges. Award things for good behavior.

  3. melancholyone:

    I guess they have the mandatory Yelp one star rating minimum, but are providing commentary stating it should have been zero stars, hence "below red."

  4. kuunakanaka:

    aloha Diane:

    focus on the positive. u did what i do with my daughters when u talked to Olivia about how to improve? we are all accountable for our behavior.

  5. makaha wahine:

    Yup. I agree with M. Review what she did and how there are consequences for bad behavior.Then talk about how to avoid the same mistake and make better choices. Play acting is good to show the different outcomes of our choices. Reinforce the positive.

  6. zzzzzz:

    Maybe she inherited her kolohe-ness from Claus.

  7. g:

    maybe we always assume that the teachers are correct in their assesment, I for one, would be curious to observe classroom management by the teacher(s). I was getting similar reports of my own daughter from her K teacher. It was only after actually observing the classroom, did I come to the conclusion that the teacher, in my opinion, did not manage her classroom effectively and at times let the children run the classroom, therefore having to react to poor behavior, rather than proactively avoiding these situations. I have spent time coaching my daughter to be disciplined and trying not to put herself into situations that would result in getting poor marks, but one has to temper the goal with the reality of dealing with a 5-6 year old. I do not feel it proper to criticize the teachers, as i am not an expert in early childhood education. But, I do think I know how to recognize chaos in the classroom. Food for thought.

  8. greenthumb:

    Hi, Diane. If it's any reassurance, we found things got a little clearer by third grade, in part because by age 7 or 8, a child tends to be able to be more linear in processing and explaining, and is at a point on the continuum of emotional development to both understand situations a little more clearly and to have more tools with which to deal with challenging times.

    Here is magic questioning that you can use now and adapt/apply to high school and beyond. "What happened?" rather than "What did you do?" An open-ended question with the bonus that she likely will hop in and fill in the blanks. A follow up is "What should happen next?" or "What do you think you should do next?" That kind of question can be modified easily to fit the situation and draws on the consistent messaging from home and school. The idea is to cast it so that the child has input on this/her own consequences (kids are pretty strict on themselves), or remedial actions, such as redoing the work, apologizing to the person whose feelings are hurt, etc.

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