This wasn’t the way it was supposed to go. My daughter had enjoyed an incredible year of 2nd grade, joyful and engaging. I thought we were finally over the hump with her ADHD issues. Her teacher had loved her and played to her strong suits. Instead, 3rd grade was starting out as a complete nightmare. rocky start to school year
I am not the type of parent who automatically jumps up to proclaim, “Not MY little darling!” when something goes awry at school. I questioned myself. Was I really a “bad parent”? Was my daughter really a “bad kid”? Did everyone really dislike her?
Complaints from the teacher morphed into complete alienation. The teacher told me my child scared another little girl. The father had complained. My heart was crushed.
Her behavior was off at home. Brushing her hair in the morning before school had her in a disproportionate amount of tears. More nights than not, my daughter could not fall or stay asleep. She made disparaging remarks about herself. She began to dislike school. I knew that something wasn’t right. rocky start to school year
Eventually, I found my voice, and that made all the difference! I was blessed to have an incredibly receptive principal at our elementary school that year. I expressed my many concerns with the red flags I saw popping up. She reassured me that I did NOT have a “bad child,” and called a meeting with the teacher as well as special education team members. Assessments were performed by staff. We had an outside evaluation done by a neuropsychologist. We learned that this was far more than ADHD. Results were analyzed, and an IEP (individualized education plan) was put in place. special needs
When she left the school two years later, she was not the same child. She was incredibly blessed by a team that loved her, believed in her, and put their energy into helping her thrive.
What I wish I could have done differently that year?
- Trusting my mom instincts sooner. Not wanting to wrap myself in misplaced self-righteousness, I too quickly doubted my perceptions. While love can create blind spots, I urge other parents to pray, listen to the whispers of the Holy Spirit, and trust what God is telling you about the situation. He gives us those instincts for a reason.
- Not acquiescing to the bad mom/bad kid label so easily, if at all. God gave my child to me. He alone is the perfect Parent. Being a “good mom” doesn’t mean I have all the answers. It means I am an engaged, loving mother. As long as I am meeting that standard, those accusations are false. Likewise, children are a work in progress. While my daughter had behavioral issues, those behaviors were symptoms of a larger, diagnosable problem occurring in her life. The “bad kid” label was a cop out by adults who wanted to pigeon hole children and avoid doing the work of adapting to a variety of learners.
- Better knowing my child’s rights under special education law. There was so much I didn’t know she was entitled to even with the ADHD diagnosis. Simple accommodations can make such an enormous difference in helping our children thrive in the academic setting. I am grateful for the friends I had who helped inform me of those rights when things were quickly deteriorating.
These three changes could have turned the ship around for my daughter sooner. Don’t wait if you find your child starting the school year off on the wrong foot. The more prompt you are in your advocacy and intervention, the more quickly your child can enjoy a better educational experience.
Stand up for the poor and the orphan;
advocate for the rights of the afflicted and those in need.
Psalm 82:3 (The Voice)
Has your child had a rocky start to the school year ? rocky start to school year
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