Monday, March 26, 2012
And then there is Axel
You may remember from previous blog posts that the day Axel first saw me on Skype with Asher in my lap his behavior fell apart! That week Dean ended up just pulling him out of school because he was completely out of control.
That behavior got only slightly better when I got home. I lost count how many times I had to go to school the month of January! I think I was there nearly every day. His staff at school was excellent and is very capable of handing behavior issues, but this was far more than that. This was a major emotional upheaval for him. I finally pulled him out of school completely for a couple weeks and decided to approach things from a new angle.
The first week of February Axel and I were in Philadelphia for a check up with his spine surgeon. During the couple weeks I had him out of school I really prayed a lot for direction in how to deal with the problems Axel was having. It became very clear to me that Axel really had no idea what was "ok" in school. Way back I blogged about the fact that Axel still needed to develop a conscience and that when he's away from us he's still accountable to us even though we're out of sight. So when we came back from Philly I told his school staff to expect normal 4th grade behavior from him, and if they saw anything but that he was to be removed from the classroom to the hallway...no discussion...no warnings...just move him and to call me. I would then pick him up and remove him from school. And yes, he's capable of normal 4th grade behavior because that is what we get from him at home.
The first day Axel made it a whole 10 minutes at school before he slapped someone. He was removed to the hallway and I was called. He was NOT thrilled to see me show up at school. I told him, "You slapped someone. That's not allowed at school. Now you go home with me and have school at the table." Which is exactly what we did, plus he had to take a nap. LOL
The second day he lasted about 90 minutes at school when I was called. Unfortunately not all the staff really understood what I was doing, and had been giving him threats all morning, "You need to stop or I'm going to call mom." Which completely destroys what I was doing. This isn't about negotiating with him, it's about drawing a line in the sand and saying "Don't cross it!" or there are immediate consequences.
The third day he made it almost to the end of the day before he had to test the limits in phy. ed. class. He really loves school and was NOT happy to see me at all!
Then we had about two weeks where he didn't have a single problem at school. He was doing great. Unfortunately he felt the need to test the naughty waters again. This time when he was moved to the hall he was frantically signing "Sorry! Sorry! All done sorry more school!" through the window at his teacher. When I arrived he saw me round the corner in the hallway and and promptly put his head down on the table like he'd been defeated.
That was a couple weeks ago. His behavior has been fantastic ever since. Now that he understands he's not allowed to stay in school when he's naughty he is following all the rules.
As for bonding with Asher, things are going very well! He really does enjoy sharing a room with Asher, and he loves showing Asher how to play with toys, not to mention having someone who will laugh at his silly antics! The two of them can frequently be found holding hands on the couch, or if we go for a walk Asher is pretty quick to take Axel's hand. Axel then gets the look of proud big brother on his face.
I'm very proud of Axel and the way he's matured over the last year. He's been with us 15 months now and is a completely different child than the one who got off that plane. He's a young man now, getting muscular and taller, full of humor and self confidence!
Clearly each of the kids have found their place in the family and feel secure in it. We don't have anything but very typical sibling rivalry going on, and I would venture to say they get along better than many siblings do.