Back to School! HELL YA! I’m sorry if you are one of those parents who cry and get all emotional. If you are than we are not on the same page. If you home-school, bless you, but again we are not on the same page. Back to School is the second best time of the year; Halloween being number one. What? You thought I would say Christmas? Then you don’t know me very well.
Anyways, I hate the planning and preparations regarding school stuff as I wrote about previously. CLICK HERE TO READ ABOUT IT I hate the drama, the shopping, the trauma meltdowns, the anxiety attacks and the attitude. Oh the attitude.
However, the back to school, out of my house, on with your life stuff is pretty worth it. I have been criticized in the past for not homeschooling my children with attachment issues. Yes, I know, it could be a better way to bond. Whatever. At the end of the night, I am a better parent if I am sane. I know this because by the end of August, I find myself questioning my mental health every freaking year. In addition, the amount of money that I spend on wine seems to correlate directly with the amount of time my kids sit on the couch muttering things like “give me a snack” and “I’m bored”. Until I grow my own grapes and start juicing, I need to put a ceiling on the bill.
It is about this time that my husband and I have the conversation that we have every year. This is “The how much do we tell the teachers” conversation. This sucks because it means having to balance privacy of our children with real life drama that will occur if we carry on without explanation. Sometimes it doesn’t matter because the staff doesn’t listen, they forget, or simply don’t understand and our work to educate and pass on awareness goes out the flipping window.
My kids from hard places have suffered and still struggle with certain things. These certain things tend be magnified in the classroom. It makes sense; lots of people, little one on one attention, and relationship issues that include problems with authority. The amount of transitions and PTSD anxiety is over the top. Let’s be real. My kids don’t automatically trust adults. That trust needs to be earned and won’t happen on day one. Or day two. Or day three. They have no reason to trust adults. It is not the teacher or staff member’s fault. It is not the child’s fault. It is simply a reality that must be acknowledged. Therefore, they will try and protect themselves. How do they do this? Well it can go one of two ways. They can either hate the teacher at first or love the teacher at first. Let’s hope they hate first because that is actually easier.
You see the defiance and attitude will fade as the child becomes less fearful and more comfortable. Once, respect is earned, the rest is cream cheese. My oldest daughter is the poster child for this situation. She will close up, barely speak and argue about homework and its necessity. Once, she builds the relationship with the teacher, things change (usually after the first semester) and she is a great student. Every year, I hear from her teachers “what I change I see in E, she has really opened up and is working so hard”.
Now let’s look at the other scenario. My middle son plays this role to a tee. He is so very charming and engaging at the beginning of the year. Many teachers may even question why he has certain IEP services. I will hear “what a delight C is and I would never have guessed the past he is working to overcome.” Then, after a bit, once teachers and students settle in and the workload increases and expectations expand, things suddenly change. All of a sudden, this child is no longer easy going and assignments are not being completed. Lies are told and excuses and attitude become the daily norm. The child begins failing all his classes and not taking responsibility. The teachers begin looking to the parents for help only to realize that the parents (me and my husband) are trying hard to create a strong attachment and homework wars will prevent this from happening. The staff soon learns that they are on their own. Sorry. It is just how it is. My relationship with my son will always beat out their homework.
Next on the list of sharing and awareness is the dreaded conversation about certain assignments and their inappropriateness. I am talking about the Family Tree. Please God, don’t give this or any off shoot twisted rendition of this assignment to my child’s class (yes, the whole damn class). My kid doesn’t know or want to share it. If everyone else is doing it and she or he gets an alternative assignment that sucks too! It is like holding a giant sign that screams “hey, I’m different, go ahead and ask me why”. JUST. DON’T. DO. IT. Consider it a peanut in an allergy free zone.
Last year even after giving lots of notice about the issues that this could cause, my daughter still got an assignment asking her to bring in 3 items from her childhood. Yes, that week sucked.
So, the letter will go out. The materials regarding Reactive Attachment Disorder will be included. I will highlight parts of the book “Help for Billy” by Heather Forbes (excellent source if you are a trauma mamma with school age kids). I will expect maybe one staff member to read it. So why bother? Call me bitchy but it’s nice to be able to sit in the conference later in the year or respond to the 16th phone call from the school social worker with the words, “Well if you refer to the paperwork that I provided you at the beginning of the school year, this would not be a surprise. How are you going to fix the situation?” Yeah, I know, but us trauma mammas, we need something…
Now off to review the changes that I want imposed on their IEPs. That is a whole other post. **sigh**