***Disclaimer: What you choose to do with your own children is your own responsibility. I am not a licensed psychologist or a doctor. I can only offer suggestions based on my own experience of what worked with ME as a kid and based on what I understand about peer pressure and the like. The following is not intended to be taken as FACT, but simple suggestions as to how to handle a situation.***
I received a comment on one of my posts, and instead of publishing it there, I’ve decided to respond to it here. Please note that this response is directed specifically towards this parents’ situation and may or may not relate to your specific situation. As always, keeping the children’s best interest at heart is what my job is all about and safety is of utmost concern.
Dear Bus Driver,
I've had many problems with our kids on the bus. I am at a loss as to what to do for punishment at home. We've tried grounding from pretty much everything. Part of the problem is that my daughter wants us to drive her everyday which is just not something we can do.
Do you have any ideas for parents to extend a punishment/discipline at home after they've gotten kicked off the bus?
Dear Frustrated Mom,
Thanks for writing! There are several things that you can do to show a united front to your daughter and other children. (You mentioned multiple children – so this response is meant to cover all the bases.) This is slightly difficult as you are vague as to what your child(ren) did to get kicked off the bus, but that said, here is what I suggest:
1. Talk to the Bus Driver. Ask the bus driver what sorts of things they suggest need to happen to prevent further behavior problems on the bus. (Assigned seats, Games (handheld) to keep child occupied, CD player to keep them occupied… Etc.) The bus driver may also notice bullying issues or anything that may conflict and cause your child(ren) to act out. The ultimate goal is to find a solution that everybody can live with.
2. Talk with your Child(ren). They may have a valid reason for acting out on the bus to get them suspended. Maybe the bus driver is being unsafe, or they are feeling bullied on the bus by another student. It happens quite often. Find out why they are choosing to act out and misbehave without making it feel like they are going to suffer a consequence if they tell you why.
3. Take it to the School. Talk to the principal about your financial/transportation situation and request that an alternative to kicking the student off the bus be put in place. It may not totally stop the behavior but the school can certainly work with you in however you need. *** If the school poses a difficulty, don’t hesitate to take it to the Board of Education in your state***
4. Make them Walk. Sometimes walking can be an effective way of getting the point across that they should not misbehave and get kicked off their only means of transportation to school. Remove that vehicle/personal chauffer option. Obviously safety is paramount, so order some orange reflective vests for your child(ren) to wear while they walk to and from school. I’m sure they’re available in the Sportsman/Hunting section at your local Wal-Mart. *** See Below***
5. Ramp up the Embarrassment. Should the child continue to misbehave even with the “Walking” consequence, increase the embarrassment. Instead of making them walk from home complete with books and bag and whatever else they need, drop them off a half-mile to a mile from school, increasing mileage until they get the point. The embarrassment of their friends seeing the bright orange vest, especially so close to school, may be enough to stop the misbehavior.
6. Wearing the Orange Vest at School. You would need to take a day off of work to accomplish this, but this goes right along with the embarrassment level. Request to attend a day of classes with your child(ren) and make them wear the Orange Vest. Should other kids inquire about it, insist your child explain the reason for wearing the Orange Vest. “I got kicked off the school bus so now I have to walk to school and my mom makes me wear this vest for safety.”
***A few side notes to number 4. Walking IS a wonderful tool. If you live a million miles to school that walking ALL the way to school would be impractical, then make them walk a mile, maybe 2, then pick them up and take them the rest of the way. Follow along in the car and let them know that future violations will result in an increase in the mileage. If there is an unsafe street, obviously do not let them walk on the street. But I would bet the sheer shock value of “You’re going to make me WALK to SCHOOL!?!?!” is enough to get any teenager or young “adult” to shape up and stop misbehaving.
I hope these suggestions will help your situation. Please feel free to comment again and I can address your situation further. Thanks for writing.
The Bus Driver