That Time My 4th Grader Forged My Signature.

*I wrote this post on September 9, 2015.*

Recently, our family attended Bubba's open house night at school. We like to go to these events to get a feel for the teachers and the classroom environment because, with a toddler at home, I can't volunteer. When we got home, we asked Bubba to bring out his agenda and we see that his language arts teacher had written a note over a week ago: "Did not write down homework, did not complete homework." Below that: a line to sign with my name already written on it. In pencil. In regular handwriting. And with my last name spelt wrong.

Yep, my son "tried" to forge my "signature." By tried.. I mean epic fail.

We have an open policy here. When he needs help with something or when he's having a hard time understanding a concept, he can come to us. He knows that he's responsible for showing/telling/asking us anything before we ask him. We've talked to him, time and again, about how we'd rather he be the source. Accountability.

That night, we told him that he needs to own up to what he did even though his teacher had not seen the forged note yet. The next day, when he saw her, he explained to her what he had done and he apologized for trying to pull a fast one. He showed her his completed incomplete assignment (PS. It was an ungraded homework assignment).

We've always emphasized that not telling us will always put him in a worse position. It's been increasingly frustrating because we don't understand why he feels the need to hide things from us when we give him every opportunity not to. I did ask him why and he said he didn't want to get a consequence.

I read a quote somewhere that said the best thing we can do for our child is to empathize with him because we were all children once. I'm trying so hard to live by these words and to not be a yeller.

Well.. we thought giving him a chance to redeem himself would work, but for the past few weeks, he's continued to hide things. We've been trying and we really don't know how to get over this hump. We don't want to monitor his every move because he has to learn how to be responsible on his own. That's not something someone can hand to him and I don't believe in babying my children. I want them to know what it means to earn something. To do things to the best of their abilities for themselves. One day, they'll be on their own and I hope we've taught them enough to be self sufficient.

Honestly, I've been at a loss. I do not know what to do anymore. Which is really weird to me. I'm not sure there's much more I can do. This is something he needs to learn. The hard way it seems. 

2018 UPDATE: He's never forged another signature, but he still struggles with -in his words- forgetfulness. We offered a solution: making lists and checking them off. Can't say he's started to do that.

This past week, we sent Bubba to a 3-hour Saturday detention at school although it was a mistake on the school’s part. Some Wednesday ago, he told his dad he had club after school when he was actually serving a detention (quite slick). We did not find out until we had a parent/teacher conference this past Thursday.

1. When he got the detention + at the conference, he did not defend himself. He did not tell anyone the other student was making sexual/moaning sounds, which is why Bubs stuck a pen in the student’s shirt. Somehow, the pen ink got all over the student’s face and clothes. Bubs shouldn’t have done it in the first place so, yeah, he deserved a detention. We would’ve understood that, but he chose to hide it.

2. The office mistakenly thought he didn’t serve it on Wednesday so they gave him a Saturday detention (which is 3 hours long). He didn’t take the initiative to clear it up himself to get out of it. His dad cleared it up, but decided he should serve anyway.

We asked him how detention was after, he said “well.. I got my I-ready done.” Which he was slacking on last week.

His teachers wonder why we call conferences because he in the gifted program and an honor roll student. He’s not a bad kid. It is and it isn’t about grades. He does make individual Cs and Ds on homework and it’s a pattern for quizzes/tests (which is why we called a conference.. to figure out if there’s an issue), but he still manages to get As and Bs for report card grades. They all say he’s brilliant. They say he might need some recalibration because he has 2 high school credit courses. One said she would like to see him participate more, while another said he’s really active. The worst thing he does in school is incomplete assignments (preventable mistakes that teeter his grade.. sometimes he’s on a thin line), he used to sneak a book in his lap when he’s supposed to be doing classwork (we love that he loves reading), and he can be too social during class. He loses focus and gets distracted easily. We aren’t sure his priorities are all together. Responsibility, accountability, participation and self-sufficiency (in all aspects, not just school) is the end game.

I'm still at a loss. For the past 3 years, his dad and I haven’t really understood him. He doesn’t talk to us. He doesn’t even try to talk back. Kind of ironic.. because I was like that growing up. I took the lecture and held it all in.. doesn’t mean I listened though. I certainly didn’t think my parents/elders were right.

So basically.. we don’t understand him and he doesn’t understand us. People tell us this is normal. It still feels like a perpetual mom fail.