Tag Archives: school

When a child is overtaken by a younger sibling

As soon as I came in from work today, my daughter grabbed my hand and led me to the kitchen where the Husband was cooking tea.

‘Mummy and Daddy, I have something very important to tell you! I did reading in school today and my teacher moved me up TWO reading stages! She said I was a reading superstar!’

This is such lovely news for my daughter, who has developed a real love of reading over the  last few months, and who has been trying very hard with her books, and at school generally. I’m so proud of her, and so happy to see her so proud of herself – she really deserves it.

I just wish my delight for her wasn’t tempered with the worry for what this will mean for my biggest boy’s confidence – because she’s basically leapfrogged him. He’s been stuck on the same reading stage since June, despite doing a huge amount of reading over the Summer holidays, and now he’s a stage behind his younger sister – who is two years below him at school. Seeing his face crumple as she bounced around the kitchen was just heartbreaking. All the more so because although she has worked hard, he has without doubt put a lot more time into practising his reading.

We’ve obviously had a family chat this evening about how some people are good at some things, and some at others, and that’s the way things should be because we can’t have a world filled with engineers but nobody to be a pilot, or super duper rugby players but nobody to be a teacher, etc etc. But despite a wobbly brave face from him after the initial shock, it’s just another confidence knock on top of the many he’s already taken since starting this school year.

As well as being gutted for him, I’m feeling particularly let down because I raised this specific scenario with school a couple of months ago, knowing that it was a probability in the near future and knowing what it would do to his confidence. I asked for extra Welsh reading books that my son and I could read together and was told that we could not have them because ‘if you get extra books, everyone else might want one too’. Really? REALLY? Instead it was suggested that I could get Welsh books from the library for him, which would be great if a) the library had a decent selection of Welsh books, which it doesn’t, and b) Welsh wasn’t my second language by a long chalk, making it fairly difficult for me to pick up a reading book and gauge whether it’s at the right level, or likely to be of interest for an eight year old reluctant reader. Which is why I’d wanted reading books from school rather than sourcing them myself in the first place.

So. A mixture of emotions. Chuffed for my girl, gutted for my biggest boy, and frankly pissed off that even though I could see this coming and asked for help, there was no support to even try and stave it off.

Parenting is hard, sometimes.


On giving a dog a bad name

So I found one of the kids in tears yesterday. When I asked them what was wrong, they said it was because they hadn’t been invited to someone’s party. Now I tend to be quite unsympathetic on this sort of thing with my kids – they can’t expect to be invited to them all, just as they can’t invite everybody in the class to theirs – and I was reminding said child of this when they came out with something that stopped me in my tracks.

‘They wanted to invite me, (sob, sob) but their Mummy said they couldn’t, because she said I stole something from her Mummy’s bag once when I was in reception, (sob, sob) and I don’t steal things and (wailing now) I don’t remember stealing anything and I don’t want to be in trouble’.

UUUUh. Right. Once we’d calmed things down, I did some more digging, thinking that there must be a bigger back story to it all, but that’s still the sum total of the information I have about this. That, and the fact that I have a devastated child on my hands. Not because of the party –  that seems to be neither here nor there –  but devastated because they think they are in trouble, though they can’t remember doing whatever it is they are in trouble for.

Ok. Because I have nothing else to go on, lets start from the premise that my child did take something from someone’s mother’s bag, at some point during their reception year. I’m not really clear how this might have taken place, since the child in question doesn’t spend any time with this adult, but I suppose it could have happened on the yard, or in the park, or at a party.

Reception year would put the age of this child at between only just four, and only just five. Clearly children should not take things from people’s bags, but stealing? Really? A four year old doesn’t STEAL. A four year old might well think ‘I see that, I want it, I will have it’, but I don’t think at that age that stealing is really a concept they have, do they? Of course, a four year old should certainly be aware that they can’t just take stuff they want without asking. But knowing the correct behaviour, and then acting on it at all times, is something that comes with age, and with adult guidance. And if I had known about this incident, I would have dealt with it at the time and used the opportunity to reinforce the fact that you can’t just take stuff, and I would also have insisted that the child apologise to the adult in question. BUT I WASN’T GIVEN THE OPPORTUNITY.

So given the fact that this incident wasn’t seen as serious enough to mention to me at the time, and that it happened aeons ago, and that we are talking about four year olds, I’m not sure how I feel about the fact that my child is being told by a classmate that their Mummy doesn’t want them coming to their party, because they ‘stole’ something. If this parent doesn’t want our kids to socialise together, for whatever reason, that is totally and utterly up to her and she has every right to make that call. I just feel that the way it has been done is unkind and thoughtless and unnecessary.

I don’t know whether to tackle this with the parent in question, or whether it will just make things worse. What would you do?