This blog is now retired. My new site is at: Predictably Irrational.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Elementary School Drama

I found out yesterday afternoon that MiMi and two of her gal pals are in a second grade drama. One day you're in: we are bestest friends forever! And the next day you're out: you are no longer my friend!

Only when I found this out, I found out from MiMi's teacher and what seemed to be, one very angry parent.

I stepped into an impromptu conference, picking MiMi up from school, where the teacher was in the midst of talking to parent #1 about these falling outs between the trio of girls. It was news to me. And to sense the hostility from the other parent towards me and indirectly MiMi, was very upsetting to me.

Not in the boo-hoo way but in the WTF way.

The teacher said her solution was to "break apart" the friends. I don't particularly agree with the concept - I think it's a bit silly to be an adult and tell kids "you all can no longer be friends". But she's the teacher and if it's disrupting her class, I will support it.

But the other mother was just nodding very enthusiastically about the idea of separating them and adding her own comments about how she advocates this, yadda yadda yadda.

My feelings were hurt, more for MiMi, because this particular mother is the mother of MiMi's friend that she has had such a big heart for. This young girl has had an unfortunate time in her young life: her dad unexpectedly passed away, she had to switch schools for problematic reasons, she broke her arm, she had some skin problem, she hit her head on a brick wall, etc. etc. I have a profound sense of sympathy for this girl and to see her mom upset with MiMi just made me so sad.

The gist of the situation is: the girls fight, tears are shed, and then they are friends again. They are pitting one against the other: "You are my friend but _she_is not." MiMi apparently put a schedule in place to be friends with one girl on Monday and Wednesdays and the other girl on Tuesdays and Thursdays. While I was initially shocked by this, when I repeated this story to Tim and then CJ, they both laughed at how she really tried to make a plan out of this situation.

I later received an email from the teacher, apologizing for the blindside. She thought I had been apprised of the situation from MiMi but then said she should have known better - they are, after all, only second graders.

Today, I took MiMi to a nearby playground at a Jacksonville, NC park -- after I had to walk away from watching CJ's volleyball team go down in a flame of fire (it wasn't that bad, apparently, but at that time, it was all gloom and doom). While she played, I decided to talk to her about the situation.

She told me her side of the story which was a lot more detailed than the very skimmed view the teacher gave me. But one part was identical from both the teacher and MiMi, just said very differently.

Teacher: I have been dealing with this child and parent because, well, there is some over-dramatizing of the situations that occur between the three girls.

MiMi: She hurt her foot, then she purposely kicked her foot again to hurt it and lied to the teacher and said that the other girl pushed her down. I know it's a lie. I was there. I know what she did.

Whoa. That's pretty serious. That's more than I want to deal with: someone hurting themselves then blaming someone else.

I told MiMi what her teacher wanted to do - to break the friendship up. But that doesn't mean she shouldn't stop caring for them...and that truthfully, she didn't need to stop being "friends" with them but rather, stop hanging out with them during lunch and recess. The issues that her friend (who she says lies) are bigger than she can handle and right now, we need to trust the teacher and let her make her assessments.

It's sad really, isn't it? That one: parents have to get involved in the first place. What happened to just letting kids duke it out (not literally :)? But two: that there is an 8-year-old girl who apparently is dealing with something deeper, IMHO, than just second grade drama.

1 comment:

  1. Wow. I don't know if I agree with _forcing_ them to "stop being friends," but it's the teacher's decision, of course. I probably would have sat down and discussed it with MiMi like you did, instead of declaring rules like the teacher.. How can kids learn to deal with people/problems if they aren't _allowed_ to do so, or aren't even allowed to at least discuss it?
    We had some issues like that in 5th grade-- two friends of mine would fight for a week, and be best buds the next.