Tuesday, October 21, 2008

I Am So Sad

Since last Friday, I have heard of three kids whose feelings were somehow hurt at school. One 2nd grader shaved her eyebrow, cutting herself, because someone at school teased her about a unibrow. A 2nd grader should even know about this? Another mom told me how badly she felt for her son, who was being caught in the "5th grade shuffle," that splendid time when friendships change and cliques form. Actually, as recently as 12 years ago, when my oldest was going through it, the 5th grade shuffle didn't happen until 7th grade. Another mom told me how her daughter cried last night because her "friends," in 8th grade, are all ignoring her because another "friend" has told them they should.

Aside from the common themes of rejection and hurt feelings, these conversations also shared a discussion of homeschooling, brought on not by me, but by the mom. All said, "I'd really like to do it, but I can't." Can't what? Can't take your child away from a situation that is hurting him or her? Can't face the option of bringing the kid home to be loved and taught, not abused and taught? Some moms, my own included, can't understand not wanting your kid to go through this. After all, don't they have to learn how to deal with people who don't like them in order to grow up and function in society?

By the way, that happens at home just as well as anywhere else. See; Sibling Rivalry.

What made me sad was the same phrase, repeated each time, "I can't do anything about it. It tears me up, but I can't." Why not? What have we as a society done when parents feel helpless to help their own children learn about life? Why can't a parent feel comfortable, and not "odd," in taking their child out of a stressful learning environment and bringing them into one that has much of the stress (no, I did not say all) removed?

We give the influence and control over our children over to other people who don't love them as much as we do. And then we're sad when they're not loved like we love them. And then we feel helpless to do anything about it.


elephantschild said...

Re: the argument about "Well, they need to learn how to deal with difficult people" I have two things to say.

1) When is the last time your supervisor barged into the bathroom while you were using it, flung open the door and stood laughing at you while your co-workers cheered him on?


2) We don't hand car keys and a beer to a 9 yr old saying, "Well, he's got to learn how to drink responsibly sooner or later," yet somehow we expect children and young teens to handle social complexities that would get American soldiers convicted of war crimes, all without mental and emotional harm.

Can you tell?

Kristi said...

It is sad, isn' it? They need to put aside their uncomfortableness for the sake of their children and do what is right for their child.

Michelle said...

I have a friend whose 3rd grader has speech issues and is a little slow at reading. His class was kind enough to ALL laugh at him the other day as he was reading! I about want to take him home myself and teach him - poor kid! He is such a tender-hearted boy - I just HATE hearing about such meanness!

My oldest daughter is self-conscious enough - BOY am I glad she is not in a class room!!!

EC & Kristi - great points!

Kim said...

As sad as it is cliques and meanness don't stop in childhood. From the real world to internet and email groups you are going to experience these things throughout life. That said it's sad that parents feel helpless. I think the best a parent can do is love their kid, help them get through it, and if at all possible teach them how to deal with it. If they can change the situation that's great too. We can use these instances as teaching moments but we will never ever be able to completely get away from them because humans are sinful.

Karen said...

Years ago, it was said that junior high and high school years were difficult because the students were learning how to deal with each other with less parental interaction. Unfortunately, many teens are unable or too afraid to break away from the pack mentality and stop the cruelty that happens to a child who is perceived as different.

Too my great shame, I was one of the teens who stood by and kept my mouth shut because I didn't want to be treated in the same manner.

The extreme cruelty occurs at younger and younger ages because adults will NOT step into these situations. Teachers say, "Children need to work things out between themselves." When in reality, children need to be taught to be show consideration and respect for people.

Jenn said...

I've never understood the "I'd like to homeschool, but I can't" argument. Can't what? Stop being selfish and do the right thing for your children? Can't put your children's needs before your "comfort level" and your own wants?
I'll quit now,
I'm as angry as elephantschild. :(
Not that I'm any less selfish but... my kids are here and they're still learning! ;)