Today was Parent/Teacher Conferences. Quite honestly, it's a day I do not look forward to. Although I'm not naive enough to believe the "if I don't hear it there is no problem" ideal, it still stings to have all of these issues saved up and then dished out for one half-hour meeting.
Mostly, the kids are doing great. There are minor issues with some organizational and attention aspects that can always be improved on, but overall, they get high marks and kind words on their work and effort.
Then we get to Kolby.
Kolby seems to be lost. I look at this picture that I took the other day, when he was playing around with some extra mustaches he found lying around. I asked him to sit down and let me take a picture of him. What I saw, when I looked at the picture, was a boy who feels unhappy, unloved, lost, and insecure.
His teacher, the assistant principal, the school psychiatrist, and the special ed teacher all met with me during my conference. All of them are concerned for Kolby and as his teacher explained "Don't know what more they can do for him". They are now at the end of their testing. The last in their bag of tricks. If he doesn't respond to the next group of testing, assessments, psych evals and small group help, then they don't know what else to do.
I'm not trying to discredit his teacher(s). They really want to help figure out what is going on. Why doesn't Kolby want to learn? It's not that he isn't smart. He is, and they can see that. It's that Kolby has no desire to try. He doesn't care if he gets detention. Getting an F on a test doesn't phase him. He won't try to read the directions, he'll just fill in the circles on a multiple choice question. He lies about completing assignments. He has no internal motivation to accomplish things. He just doesn't want to do anything, and when he has that mentality, no amount of bribing or rewards or positive reinforcement or negative results can sway him.
So what is it that is going on with Kolby? There is something we are missing, when it comes to how he learns, and I fear what will happen if we don't figure it out soon. Is he dyslexic? Could be, but there is no state funding to test for it. Does he have some other disability that is preventing him from learning?
He has been lying a lot. To me. To his teachers. To his friends. To his family. He told his teacher that he stayed out on the trampoline until midnight the other night, and nobody cared and nobody told him to go inside, and that he was alone the whole time. I'm sure his teacher didn't believe him, but she questioned me about it anyway. For me, this wasn't so much about his lying, as it was a glimpse into how he feels. He feels unloved and lonely.
What can I do to make Kolby feel special when all I want to do is punish him for all his nasty behavior towards us? He is unhappy with us, doesn't want to participate in family activities, and creates negative drama for anyone who is near him. I understand that these are ways for him to get attention, but when we offer such pleasant love on the flip side, I wonder why he doesn't want happiness, instead of negativity.
He has always been my most challenging child. Maybe it's because we clash, that makes it so hard for us to get along. Honestly, though, I try really hard because of that. I want him to be happy. I want him to succeed. But he doesn't want that, or so it seems.
Today was a hard day..but when I see that picture of Kolby, I just get so sad because I can see how unhappy he is. I am failing him, and I don't know what to do.