Remember when I wrote about C1 starting Primary School here in London, in Primary Problem, well I’ve been thinking about something that has taken me back to C1’s VERY first day…
Considering I hadn’t put C1 down on any ‘lists’ (Primary Problem), the mere fact that C1 was even starting school was cause for celebration…but that doesn’t stop any mother from worrying about their little one’s first day of ‘big school’.
Yep, it’s the perfect combination of joy, excitement, pride and sheer terror…
for both parent AND child.
I worried that C1 might break a bone on the climbing frame (monkey bars), or slip on the stairs, or fall down the toilet, or cry…or…well, you get the idea.
I picked C1 up at 3:30 and I could barely see C1’s face through the throng of mothers frantically shovelling sweets and treats into exhausted little mouths, as recompense for surviving the first day.
C1’s teacher approached me very discreetly as she shook C1’s hand, now also full of chocolate muffin, and in a barely audible whisper, informed me that,
‘There had been an incident today on the playground’
I immediately wanted to re-enroll C1 in nursery.
On C1’s VERY first day…of ‘big’ school, C1 was punched in the nose.
The teacher was wonderful and immediately reassured me that C1 was fine. Okay, maybe not THAT wonderful because how could ANY child be ‘FINE’ after being punched in the nose on the very first day?
She then informed me of what I believe must have been school procedure, that the parents were called immediately and the situation was being addressed.
Okay. So that was that then? I didn’t really know what else to do if the school was addressing it and I couldn’t exactly keep C1 home until I felt it was no longer an issue could I?
I knew the mother of, let’s call him Peter Punch (PP), but not very well. And certainly not well enough to ask them what they were doing about the ‘incident’. And besides, part of me sort of knew that kids will be kids and it wasn’t a pattern on the very first day so I would have to trust, to a certain extent, that it would resolve itself.
So I tried to forget about it but I found myself lingering around the school gates a bit longer… partially to keep an eye on C1 but MOSTLY because when I saw PP’s mother, I sort of expected an apology.
PP’s mother didn’t punch me.
Nor did she tell PP to punch C1.
So why was I expecting an apology?
I suppose I thought that if C1 had been the little tyrant aggressor (okay, a bit harsh I know), then I would have been so embarassed and horrified that I would have spent the next year apologising for everything C1 or I did or didn’t do to offend you, him, her, she, it …well, just about everyone.
Five years later and C1 and PP have been great friends. There has never been another ‘incident’ between them. PP’s parents never said they were sorry and we never spoke about it. In fact, I completely forgot about it over the years and never held it against PP. Luckily, it was just a one off and an isolated incident.
I am very grateful that the school (and no doubt PP’s parents), got it right. By addressing the issue on the spot and involving the parents immediately, it never happened again. C1 got over it rather quickly and I suppose I did as well.
But what if the schools or the parents don’t get it right? What if the isolated incident does becomes a pattern?
One of my dear friends is dealing with a troubling situation with a boy at her son’s school randomly and without reason hitting her son. She has spoken to the teacher and yet it continues. I have emphatically encouraged her to speak to the Headteacher (Principal) and if that does not help, the next step would be to send a letter to the Chair of Governors. It has to be addressed.
If the sitation is not dealt with correctly, the effects could be devastating.
My sister who is a school psychologist in the US (and while she may be my younger sister, she has ALWAYS been the wiser one), knows of horrible outcomes for children that are genuinely harassed (or dare I say – bullied) and nothing was done to stop it. But also highly damaging are the cases where children are unjustly accused and friendships are ruined, when the proper actions were not taken.
Geesh…isn’t this all very cheery.
It’s not going to be any easier as the kids get older and try and try as we might to encourage, support and advise them on how to work out some conflicts on their own, unpleasant and more confrontational situations will undoubtedly arise.
How far we go or how long we try to encourage the kids to work their conflicts out on their own will be a very personal decision. Taking the right steps when the problems do come up will hopefully ensure the best outcome for the development of our children.
It may be an isolated ‘incident’ and a punch on the playground and it starts and ends there. But it could also become a pattern. So it has to be stopped from happenning…again …and again…and again.
C2 has always been more physical than C1 and while C2 is the younger sibling, C2 is my feisty red hedded Celt with my Irish blood and CSr’s (Daaad) Scottish heritage.
As I think about C2 now getting older and ask C2 what to do if someone was bothering him on the playground,
‘I’d take him out’.
I may need to spend a bit more time on this one with C2.
Mojito Toro Rojo
1 can Red Bull (250ml)
2 teaspoons brown sugar
4 mint leaves
½ a lime
Mix the mint and sugar together then squeeze in the lime juice and mix gently. Add ice, rum and Red Bull.