Bess is still having some difficulties in school. The problem, in a nutshell, is this: we have raised her to be respectful and kind in her dealings with others, and to resolve conflicts by seeking compromise and taking everyone’s needs into consideration.
As it turns out, not all children are raised this way. My daughter is finding it very difficult to deal with people whose interpersonal skills are, shall we say, less evolved.
Her teacher is an amazing like-minded woman (I first met her when she joined my Attachment Parenting group a few years ago), and I know that she is supporting my daughter’s efforts to affably relate to her classmates. But there is only so much that can be done. After all, it’s half-day kindergarten ; they are only there for 2 1/2 hours a day. She can’t control what her students learn in the other 21 1/2 hours. Plus weekends. Plus the previous five years of their lives, give or take. Not to mention the bus. Ugh, the bus.
Since September, there has been a marked difference in Bess. She is becoming increasingly withdrawn and socially anxious, and is electing (begging) to forego many of her favorite activities in favor of staying home with us. And this, with a gentle and devoted teacher, in a kindergarten classroom. It is difficult to imagine the situation improving very much in the coming years.
And thus…we are seriously thinking of homeschooling Bess next year, and for the foreseeable future. I was apprehensive about public school to start with, and I am underwhelmed by the outcome to date. Bess has always loved being around lots of other people, and was thrilled with the prospect of having lots of new potential friends, all of whom live close enough for impromptu playdates (as opposed to her friends at her previous school, who all lived at least 45 minutes away). Even she is coming to see homeschooling as a viable, even desirable, alternative.
But am I being “that mom”?
Am I being overprotective, sheltering her ?
Is this about me not wanting my daughter to grow up and go out into the world without me?
Are the changes I am seeing just part of normal growing up, or something more?
What are the risks of allowing things to go on this way, and are those risks acceptable to me?
By permitting her to stay in an environment that is not working for her, am I implying that I think what goes on there is okay?
Is there anything wrong with giving her more time to be a child, to grow up a little more before she has to learn to function in the cold, cruel world?
Wouldn’t she benefit from a little more time spent learning the values and interpersonal skills I want her to have?
Doesn’t my daughter deserve to live in a world where she is treated with respect and kindness, at least most of the time?
Is it fair for me to expect her to treat other people with consideration, and then send her out into a world where she will not be treated in kind?
Won’t she better be able to cope with the range of personalities that exists in the world when she is a little older, more mature, more confident, stronger?
Would I be depriving her of the opportunity to learn how to deal with all sorts of other people by picking and choosing the people with whom she spends time?
Isn’t it my right as her mother – my prerogative, indeed my responsibility – to do everything I can to create the kind of world in which I want her to live?
Am I even asking the right questions? Do these questions even have answers?