Friday, November 16, 2007


Well, I dropped Jules off at school this morning and had my first "parent/teacher conference" as a mother instead of as a teacher.

When I started to leave the preschool teacher pulled me to the side and said she needed to speak with me for a minute. She then gently told me how Julianna had started hitting the other kids in the class. She explained that she just wanted to make me aware of what was going on at school and asked that I help reinforce why we shouldn't hit people with Julianna at home. She also told me that they've been putting her in time out because of the hitting. One day she apparently took a plate from the play kitchen and smacked it across some poor kid's head.

I have to admit, hearing all of this stung. My whole body got warm and rigid while I was standing there listening to her. I was shocked and I immediately got defensive.

As a previous teacher myself, I recognized that my instinct response was the worst response I could have had. So instead of saying what I immediately wanted to say and defend my sweet, innocent child I considered the facts.

Jules hasn't really been hitting other kids in my presence, but that could be because I haven't been around her with other kids too much recently. She has started hitting me when I ask her to do something and she doesn't want to do it. Per the pediatrician, we have been trying to use time out to discipline at home. Usually she only has to sit in time out during dinner when she throws her fork or spoon or cup. We know she does this to get attention and we're working on teaching her how to act properly. But the idea of her hitting kids was a surprise to me. Not that I can't see her doing it, just that I didn't imagine her doing it at school. I fully believed everything the teacher was describing that had happened.

Anyway, to ease the conversation I guess, the teacher pointed out how she doesn't have siblings at home and that she realized that she could have picked up some of her newfound "skills" at school. We talked about using time out at home and about how Jules usually only hits me. I thanked her for bringing it to my attention and assured her that I'd do what I could to reinforce the "no hitting" philosophy at home as well.

It took a while for me to get over the whole conversation. I am sad to have to deal with these sort of little things. Of course I want my daughter to be perfect. I want her to be the "easy" kid or the "good" kid. I'm also not naive and I know that she has to learn how to live and communicate along side other people while respecting their rights too. All this just means that she's growing up so fast. And that makes me a little sad too.

Fortunately, the more I think about it this whole little discussion really made the teacher grow on me a little. From experience I know that it was difficult for her to have to pull me aside and tell me that my daughter is showing signs of being a bully and a troublemaker (i'm totally exaggerating there I know). [I absolutely dreaded talking to parents when I was a teacher.] I also know now that she really wants to help my child learn. It is perfectly normal for Julianna to want to defend her territory when another child comes and takes away the toy she is playing with. Not only will helping her learn to stop hitting teach her how to survive later as a normal adult it will also help the flow of the classroom now so I really believe the teacher wants what's best for both of us.


What's next though?

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