Once you send your child to school, you are “officially” sharing your child with the world. Yes, there is learning and excitement and growth but there is also a new environment for your child to interact and engage in ( i.e. new friends, teachers, language, behaviors, ideas and humor.) As teachers we know that this can be a whole lotta good mixed in with some not so good.
And with this new frontier you will likely, at some point, get THE CALL from THE SCHOOL during the SCHOOL DAY. Depending on the age of your child/children, maybe you have not gotten these calls but IYKYK!
We’re referring to calls like…
“Your child bit another child.”
“Your child hit/pushed/hurt someone.”
“Your child pooped their pants and you need to come.”
“Your child is spitting.”
“Your child is using this 4 letter word…”
“Another child bit your child.”
“Your child hit/ran from/yelled at a teacher.”
As if getting a call from a school in the middle of the day isn’t jarring enough, you then get upsetting news. Perhaps something that puts you on edge, stirs up mama bear defenses, makes your stomach drop, forces you to hold back tears or control a shaky voice.
We have been there folks; as teachers we have made these calls and as parents we’ve received them. Sometimes crying silently as we responded with a semi-composed voice, “I’ll be right there. I'm so sorry to hear that and of course, we will talk about this at home.” When these phone calls come, they feel HUGE. They can be upsetting, perplexing and feel incredibly personal
So what can/should/will you do?
Our best advice is to take a beat to allow yourself some time and grace. Hearing a report about your child can feel big and stressful and worrisome. As educators and parents, we know these incidents are noteworthy in the moment. Of course they need to be addressed and discussed. But we also recognize that it is likely a blip on the screen, a “this too shall pass” kind of parenting hurdle.
When you can, hug that kiddo close and focus on the fact that they are doing the best they can and so are you. There is a lot to be said for having a healthy kiddo who loves you and is well loved. They will make mistakes and get hurt and need support from you for lots of reasons. These moments are the underpinnings to deep connections and trust between you and your child. When they see you respond to these moments with concern and care, they know you’ve got their back.
If you’ve ever gotten “the call” reflect on how that went. Would you respond the same now? What did you take away from the experience? Know that we see you and are right there next to you navigating this messy parenthood thing.
If you’ve yet to have a call like this, yay!
And if you do someday, keep this in your back pocket, take a breath, call your partner, call your BFF, call us. Reach out to someone who has been there and trust you’ve got what it takes to work through it, mess and all.