Friday, October 24, 2014

Mommy is failing at school

Within the span of his short life, my son has been to two schools. He attended the first school from the extremely tender age of six weeks old and only left it after we moved, right before his fourth birthday. In that first school, he made his first friends, and there was a core group of them that moved from room to room. It became natural for me to know them and for them to know me. I've painted their faces, talked to them upon pickup, and had them over for play dates and birthday parties.

In the second school, I am clearly not paying enough attention. We recently attended a birthday party for one of my son's classmates, who I probably couldn't identify in a lineup. On top of that, there were lots of other mothers there who knew me and knew my son, although I had no idea who they were.

A few weeks ago, my son had some rough, non-listening days and his teacher mentioned him fighting with another boy. I had no idea who that boy was.

Clearly, I'm failing at school. And this is just the tip of the ice burg.

Because I don't know this school as well as the last one, I am unsure of how to navigate conversations with my son's school officials without sounding like a crazy Mommy. I have talked to them in the past about showing him inappropriate movies and recently, I had to talk with his teacher about what they were doing when he was acting out. I felt defensive and prickly in these conversations.

But I shouldn't. Because it's not about me. It's about my son, and we all want what's best for him. As this nationwide study from VitalSmarts illustrates, most parents are not doing a great job of handling school-related issues. To work on that, the study suggests we do the following:
  1. Use non-confrontational language.
  2. Seek facts and information only.
  3. Accept some of the blame.
And for me, I have an additional task: I need to volunteer more at his school and get to know the kids. If I know the environment he is in, then maybe I'll be a better communicator overall.

How well do you know your child's classmates? Tell me in the comments.

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