Unfortunately, the inevitable happened.  My daughter threw a fit the other morning as we tried to get ready to leave for school. In her very cute, but rather pathetic 2 and ½ year old voice, she screamed all morning:

“I don’t want to go to school! I want to stay home!”

 All sorts of questions and concerns started whirling through my mind:

  • What in the world happened at school to make her not want to go?
  • Did one of her friends or teachers do or say something unkind to her?
  • Is the long day at school too much for her and finally wearing on her emotionally?
  • Am I making the right decision sending her to this school?

 It broke my heart to see her so upset, and I had to fight every urge in my body not to turn the car around and let her stay home for the day. After all, parents want their kids to be happy, and I was feeling like a complete failure this particular morning. How could I possibly send my daughter to a place she so admittedly was refusing to go?

 The questions I should have been asking:

  • Why am I being so negative and trying to find excuses for my daughter’s behavior?
  • Why am I questioning the place and people with whom I have trusted my child with for the past two years?
  • Is it really a terrible thing if my child is being challenged and stretched at school?
  • Could it be a positive thing for my daughter to face some tough times at school so she can learn early how to persevere through uncomfortable situations?

 (Yes, I do realize she is only 2, and I assure you all these random thoughts were being considered at her developmental age!)

 Finally, my common sense returned and I was able to push my parental emotions aside and realize her refusal to go to school and unhappiness that morning had nothing to do with the school or the people who worked there. After all, who wouldn’t want to stay home and lounge in their pajamas all day without a schedule to adhere to? And, even if she was facing a few new challenges at school (she was after all in the midst of potty training) it was actually a good thing because it meant she would be learning and growing in the process.

 My take-aways from that unpleasant morning:

  • It is perfectly normal for our children to experience stages when they are not “happy.”  If we kept them happy all the time, we would not be challenging them or asking them to step outside their comfort zones where they learn and grow the most.
  • In the words of author Wendy Mogel, it is important for our children to “skin their knees” and get “B minuses” in order to raise more resilient children who will know how to navigate the world when we can’t be there to protect and guide them.
  • We have to trust that educators and schools always have our child’s best interests in mind and would never intentionally do anything to harm our child. They are in this business because they are passionate about their craft and the children they work with on a daily basis — our trust is essential for a positive partnership.

 My daughter went to school that day, and I when I peaked in the door at pick up time, she was dancing, laughing, and singing with her teacher and friends — I worried for nothing!

The image in this post is not my daughter and was taken from http://marriagegems.com/category/books/page/3/

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