Posted on 23 Comments

Sweet Temptation – Who’s Right – Teacher or Me? Help…..

We had a situation last week.   I may be reading too much into it, but it really irritated me to the bone.

On the way home from school, elder was very quiet and piped up that he had a letter than I had to sign for him to take back into school.  I didn’t think that much about it at the time and just thought it would be for “yet” another trip for P7’s.

At home, he sheepishly slipped the letter under my nose and I read it with total disgust.  Not in disgust at him I have to say (although I had to show him some displeasure) but in disgust at the contents.

It begins by saying this type of thing:

Dear Mss xxxxx
I am really sorry for stealing sweeties from your desk, and I know it was just too tempting, so please please forgive me and I know you can never ever trust me ever again for lying and nobody likes a thief.   I have to say sorry to the whole class and I hope you can forgive me.
Yada Yada Yada you get the idea.

 Some of you may be shocked that on this occasion, I didn’t give my boy the third degree, or make him bow and scrape to a pretence of guilt in front of me.  Some of you may stop reading right now, make your mind up what kind of person I am, and then you don’t find out my side of the story.

Wind my neck back in for a month and we find a group of “professionals” and I talking about my boy, his future, and his transition to the big school next year.  As part of that discussion, I tell them about my sons sugar addiction and cravings.  Bear in mind that I am not talking about your average pouty child who just likes a sweetie or two.

I have only recently come to terms with the fact that my son is a sugar addict and that it is part of his condition.  I specifically mentioned it at the meeting where his teacher was present as I had only just found out for myself that he was not just an out and out thief from the treat cupboard, but actually has an illness that is a side effect of his condition and compels him to ingest sweet stuff.  He is just lucky as can be that his genes keep him as slender as he is with all the stuff he packs away.

It helps me to understand why we cannot have lots of bags of sweets in the house, or lots of packets of biscuits as if he knows they are there, he will get up during the night and clear the cupboards.  This behaviour has caused many arguments in the family with extended groundings, removal of privileges, promises of treats to leave them alone etc etc etc and NOTHING worked.  I was so in the dark that I thought my boy was just pushing the limits further than is acceptable.

Back to the story.   We have the teacher INFORMED that he is a sugar addict and that it is part of his condition.  Then the teacher leaves a bowl of sweeties on her desk to give to the children.  I can only guess at the reason for the sweeties, but I suspect they are an incentive for good behaviour.

Picture this.  An empty room with no adults around, and a group of boys who probably have little opportunity to make the grade for one of these revered sweeties help themselves to one and congratulate themselves on their cleverness at outwitting the adults.  One of the boys feels guilty, so dobs the rest of them in and says he didn’t pinch any “so I am told by my boy” .  He also tells me that the dobber in got off with it.

At this point, I am fighting the urge not to laugh as in the same situation, if I were a child in their shoes, I suspect that I would have helped myself to one of those sweeties too.  I am also irritated with the teacher for putting such temptation in the way of someone who has a sugar addiction and expecting them not to take one.   I am even more irritated with myself for expecting the teacher to even to remember that he has a sugar addiction.

I will not be carrying on this issue at home though I cannot tell my boy exactly what I think of it all.

They were warned – and my boy had to take the same punishment as the other boys who took a sweetie, but heaven above – why, why, why would you leave a bowl of sweeties on a desk in front of a class of kids.   It is utter madness.

What do you all think?

23 thoughts on “Sweet Temptation – Who’s Right – Teacher or Me? Help…..

  1. How can you possibly use sweets as an incentive to school children? If I was in the same situation, I totally would have had at least one sweet!

    I think it’s irresponsible of the teacher to leave the sweets when she had been informed of the sugar addiction.

    1. It beats me. I have no idea how they choose some of the incentives. The sweets one is certainly not one I would choose willingly.

  2. I totally agree – how ridiculous offering sweets as an incentive – it totally goes against the grain for so many reasons! Reward systems that don’t include those children that struggle to make the grade cause so much trouble and encourage low self esteem and confidence in so many kids and make my blood boil.

    Who wouldn’t have taken a sweet? As for a child with a sugar addiction…. would you reward a drug addict with a fix?

    Enough said 😉

    1. Thank you. It is madness, isn’t it. That’s a good comparison for the sugar addiction v drug addict.

  3. our school do not sell sweets or encourage children to bring in sweets in any form what so ever. I personally do not believe schools should be using them as a reward system (sorry scuse my smutty mind starts to sound like grooming), and I would take it up with the head as to why sweets are allowed in class.
    I do believe some sort of “punishment” should have been used, to show the children taking what is not theirs to take is not acceptable, and your son was rightly treated the same as everybody else involved so as not to show favouritism that could back fire with his peers.
    If your son drafted the letter himself then he is obviously mature enough to have understood the “crime” and is sorry for what he has done, and I personally would feel quite pleased (quietly to myself) that he only took 1 along with the rest and didnt eat them all.
    Teachers dont seem to good at understanding the different child they may have and believe me have had fair amount of run ins with teachers punishing my daughter for taking epileptic fits and disturbing the class!!!
    I would get a meeting with the head and the teacher involved and discuss your worries especially with regards to sweets being a treat for good behaviour.

    good luck

    1. As far as I knew, sweets were discouraged at school, so I was surprised to see the letter and hear there was a problem related to sweeties in the classroom. Beggars belief that teachers would punish a child for taking an epileptic fit, but I can see how it could happen.

      Words mean nothing to my boy. In the same situation next time round, he wouldn’t learn from the mistake as he doesn’t look at consequences after something happens. He is a huge spur of the moment child which is what causes a lot of the petty stuff at school as his brain doesn’t put the brakes on when it should but that isn’t rare even in boys that don’t have extra support needs. HT is it. Thank you, and all of you.

  4. Have a look at this website
    In this area teachers are not allowed to use sweets as rewards, or sell non healthy snacks in tuck shops etc.
    I would take this up with head teacher myself,as this sort of thing really annoys me, especially in the light of his health problems

    1. Thanks for that link. They’re doing it. I am coming to the realisation that I may need to discuss it with HT.

  5. I don;t think sweets should be used at school for any reward system. What about the healthy eating guideliens we keep hearing about.

    1. One message for parents and another for the kids, but I won’t feel bad about putting a sweetie in lunch box any more.

  6. I think the teacher is the one out of order here. You clearly explained the situation and they should do everything in their power to help your child. I think you are right be be mad at the teacher. She shouldn’t have put that temptation in their way. x

    1. I wish she hadn’t put that bowl of sweeties in the way. Certainly not a well thought out strategy I suspect.

  7. I think it is very irresponsible of the teacher to even have sweets in the classroom. I know occasionally kids take in sweets when it’s their birthday and particularly at Christmas, Amy’s done that herself, but these sweets are dished out responsibly and sensibly and under complete adult supervision. The thing that bothers me is that the majority of children with conditions such as autism, ADHD etc, are meant to have their sugar intake limited for the sake of hyperactivity. Any teacher or parent should know that, even without special needs children to look after.

    We put our trust in teachers to help our children and if they are displaying such irresponsible actions perhaps it’s about time it was pointed out.

    CJ xx

    1. It is irresponsible, and I suspect good intentions gone wrong and not thought out properly, but the repercussions of things like this can cause damage and loss of trust to kids. I can’t say that my boy never got a sweetie out of the box for definite, but he says he never got one, and if that is how it went, then it is a misguided way to try and get good behaviour.

  8. Sweets are a ridiculous “incentive”. As the mother of a child with multiple food allergies I’d be furious if a bowl of sweets were left out in the classroom. But aside from all that, I’d be utterly furious if my child were made to write that letter. I say “made to” since I have direct experience of children being taken out of class and having apology letters dictated by staff for them to take home…. is that what happened here? Cos that’s the bit that gets my hackles up 😉

    The notion that a child can “never ever be trusted again” leaves no hope for improved relationships or forgivenes which is just wrong wrong wrong. And the part about “nobody likes a thief” ??? As adults we can process that but for children I think it’s important to separate behaviours from the person – so it’s one thing not to like the behaviour (stealing) but to make that a personal trait and dump it on a child makes me wonder if this teacher has even trained.

    1. I never thought to ask him how the letter content got made up. I am thinking now that perhaps instead of shrugging it off, I might speak to school about it after I’ve asked a bit more.

      1. If it doesn’t sound like the sort of thing your son would come up with spontaneously or independently I would definitely enquire more. Even if it wasn’t dictated I’d be trying to find out how much guidance or teacher input went into drafting it. Fair enough apologising but this sounds like some quite serious humiliation to me. And as a learning tool I’m not inclined to support humiliation (didn’t we do away with that in the 80s anyway?!?)

        1. I have talked to him now. He says he came up with the content on his own, similar to TV programmes type of thing. At least he wasn’t dictated to. Not a good way to deal with this though and a very silly idea to implement in my view. Thanks for comments.

  9. Thank you. I didn’t think about it like that. I should have been more direct I suspect in telling school staff as it looks like it was forgotten as soon as I left the building.

  10. I think the teacher was totally out of order. You informed the school of your sons condition. Therefore she should have been more responsible. What ever happened to the good old gold, silver and coloured stars for giving children praise. I used to love showing off my stars and try to collect as many as I could. A sweet is gone and forgotten – and no evidence of good work. I ask this – would she have been quite as hard if you son had been a diabetic and had taken the sweet – I think not ! It’s not good enough – your son did not deserve a letter like that.

  11. I think its craziness and I would be hugely pi**ed off with my girl having to sign the letter and would probably refuse!!!! Grrrr!

    1. I wish I had been quicker off the mark and not signed it. I don’t sign homework book so I should clicked more quickly.

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