My memories of primary school are wonderful. I adored primary school. I had friends, my parents were reasonable involved with “taking over”, I enjoyed my teachers, etc.
However, there are some parts of primary school that were a little “iffy”. Things like teasing, wondering if somebody liked me enough, hoping the work I’d done at home or in the classroom was good enough, etc.
As a parent of primary school students now, I can see how issues in the schoolyard can come from a different angle. We all get extremely protective of our children, and understandably so, however I feel that there are some issues that are best left to be sorted by the children (unless of course, danger is involved – mental danger and physical danger).
My boys often come home from school saying “so and so teased me today”, “I wasn’t allowed to play with who I wanted to play with at lunchtime”, etc., etc. Most of the time I try and give the children ideas of how to handle those situations when they arise next time, but I don’t take it any further.
I’ve noticed that at times there are groups of parents who do feel the need to “interfer” to protect their child. As much as this is very tempting, I feel that sometimes this can make the problem worse.
Now, I’m not talking about serious bullying here, I’m talking about what I would call normal school yard play and part of learning to sort out differences from a child’s age. We had an incident at school where two mother’s caused so much trouble and blew a situation so far out of proportion by gossiping outside the classroom and quickly quietening down when the mother of the child they were talking about arrived that it filtered back to the children and completely confused them.
By the time the children heard of the incident, they had already sorted it out, everyone was playing nicely again and things were fine.
The mother’s didn’t even speak to the teacher about the issues, they went straight to the principal and the whole thing ended up being much more enormous than what it should have been.
Basically it was about a boy who brought his own cricket bat to school and because it was his bat he was putting himself in charge of organising the cricket match at lunch time. The mother’s who were upset by this had their own children coming to school and complaining that he was being bossy and they didn’t get a chance to organise the game – they were still included in the game, though.
It turned out that the child who brought his own cricket bat to school was tormented by untrue stories that had resulted in this parental gossiping and ended up being unncessarily labelled a bully. Now once labelled something it is often extremely difficult to become unlabelled.
Thankfully the teacher and the principal had the sense to observe the school yard behaviour, recognising that this child really wasn’t doing anything wrong and dealing in it as a classroom exercise to recognise differences in the school yard as an overall subject in music and drama, etc.
The point of this article is to basically point out that sometimes we don’t give our children enough credit and we need to realise that they can and do sort out differences more often than we see and most of the time we don’t need to step in.
I feel that one of the best ways to achieve results from situations that occur is to try and remember back to the age of your child and remember how you felt at that age. It does help to put their life into perspective.