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Earlier this week, I gained a whole new perspective on the way parents feel and react to my phone calls, meetings, and emails about student discipline issues.

I was called into the Director’s office at Simone’s school, and it wasn’t to tell me how wonderful she is.

I am now the parent of a “biter.” I know it’s hard to believe my adorable 20 month old daughter would physically hurt another child, but it happened, and I have the incident report to prove it.

This was an unfortunate experience for the young boy my daughter bit, but an invaluable one for me as an educator. The tables were turned on me; I am normally the one having to talk with parents about the discipline issues that occur in Lower School, and now I was the one getting the difficult news delivered to them.

I felt embarrassed at first and had to be reminded it was my daughter who bit the child and nothing I did or didn’t do caused this to happen.  As parents, we often have a hard to separating our children’s actions from our own.  This was about my daughter and how the School was going to partner with me to best support her.

I wanted to find an excuse for my daughter and had to stop myself from saying things like: “She doesn’t know how to communicate very well when she is frustrated, She’s only 20 months old, She was defending herself because he tried to take her toy.”  Logical reasons, but I quickly had to realize making excuses was not going to be helpful in teaching my daughter the appropriate behavior and ensuring it doesn’t happen again.

I realized this was new territory for me and I had to rely on the School’s expertise in dealing with the situation; thankfully, this is normal behavior and something  they see a lot in this age group.  I had to ask questions:”What action was taken at school and what words were used, What can I do at home to help support what you are doing here at school, What will happen if this occurs again?”

All of this to say, parents, if you get a phone call from me about a discipline issue, know that I will be sensitive to the way you are feeling and will work with you to best support your child.  We are all in this together!

Payton

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