A conversation with a friend sparked a realisation about one of my roles as a parent that hadn’t occurred to me before. It had never occurred to me that now my children are working with teachers, and other professionals outside of the family I should be acting as their advocate. I have a responsibility to ensure that when they’re not with me my children are understood. I’m the best expert on who my children are, what they need and what makes them happy.
Prior to this realisation I’ve always held back. Afraid to take up the teachers precious time, afraid to question if the swimming teachers methods are working for my child, afraid to stand up and say this is my child and this is what they need. Probably stemming from a difficulty in expressing who I am and what I need, this has extended to my brood. No more.
In fact the people who work with my children are on the whole fabulous, and absolutely put in their best efforts. However in a class of 30 it’s probably pretty tricky to really ‘get’ every child. Children struggle to communicate their needs, they might not have the language to express them. They might simply not understand why they feel the way they do themselves, making letting anyone else know simply impossible for them. If I can step in when needed and let people know what might help, or explain any problems and ask to work together on them then I should. Equally when something is working for them, or they have made a big achievement that might go unnoticed then it’s important for me to hold up a banner for them.
So this morning I explained something about Robo Boy to his new reception class teachers. I explained that he tends to avoid new, unknown situations/things. He does this because he’s worried he might not like it, or that he might fail. With that knowledge the teachers can help. Together we can praise it when he tries new things, find the successes and help him build his confidence that new things are worth trying. If I’d not explained this it would have made progress harder for him.
So I’ll run the risk of being the annoying Mum, the overprotective Mum because when I get it right I will be the best advocate they could ever hope for.
I’d love to hear your feedback, do you have open lines of communication with the people who work with your child? Or like me do you hold back, afraid of interfering? Leave me a comment and let me know.
I absolutely echo your sentiments. I am concerned over taking up the teacher’s time – yet want to make enquiries as to how my daughter is doing so that I can support and encourage her learning where she is doing well, and offer my help if there is an area where she is having difficulties.
I have the added ‘issue’ that I work in the same school as my daughter attends (not through choice, but where she was allocated a place this year). I don’t want anyone to think I am taking advantage of the fact that I am there and can pop in any time I like. I also don’t want them to think I am questioning how they do their job. So instead I keep quiet, which builds an inner frustration because I know I wouldn’t feel like this if I didn’t work there….I would speak up, especially where my daughter is concerned.
That must be very tricky. However I guess what I’m starting to think is that whatever anyone else thinks is way less important than my children’s needs.
You would never be an annoying mum, you are too intelligent and articulate. We are our children’s best advocates and it is important that we work in partnership with school to maximise opportunities and benefits for our children.
Blushes, thanks Gemma, you’re absolutely right, of course.
I have always said I am the best and only advocate for my children and yes I am known as “that” mum, but I no longer care.