School Daze


As any parent with a child in school will tell you, there are benefits – and drawbacks – to socialization.

The benefits are clear:

  • Your child learns to be around other people, in a positive way, and communicate
  • Your child learns to share
  • Your child learns, period

The drawbacks are also:

  • Your child learns every bad habit every other kid exhibits in their presence

Which is how Zoe got her first “talking to” from Teacher Patti. We arrived to pick her up from school one day and Teacher Patti started in with “Now Zoe, I didn’t want to have to do this in front of Mommy & Daddy, but [turning to us] Zoe has been quite defiant at school lately. She’s not listening.” Zoe smiled [defiantly] but looked appropriately concerned.

My first thought: Shocker, Teacher Patti, isn’t that what 2-year-olds DO?

And secondly… Thank goodness you’ve noticed, now please fix it so we don’t have to deal with that at home anymore. Guess it doesn’t work like that. For some reason, seems we’re responsible for that bad behavior that I assure you WE are not modeling or tolerating at home.

In fact, WE give Zoe a timeout when she’s defiant, something they don’t believe in at her school. They do what they call “distraction” or “diversion” instead – shiny new object to help you forget the object [behavior] we don’t want you to have. I have mixed feelings on this but there are so many things I like about our school, this one’s minor.

Anyway, so we started asking Zoe how she was doing with listening at school and of course, when she didn’t listen at home, we reminded her of what Teacher Patti said.

Then one day a few weeks later, Daddy was picking Zoe up from school and was again pulled aside and “schooled” for Zoe pushing Hazel Basil (her best school buddy) and apparently other kids at school when she wanted something. Again, not something we see, model or encourage at home, but guess what? Seems there are some kids at school who push. And now, our kid started doing that, too.

Thanks for that, Teacher Patti [I’m kidding].

This talking to was a little more serious, as you’d imagine, and Teacher Patti specifically asked Daddy to make sure we had CONSEQUENCES at home for her bad behavior during the day (or at home, for that matter). Now, I know she’s not a puppy, but isn’t the concept the same? If they don’t have real-time consequences, do they really GET IT?

Turns out, Daddy is brilliant. He just started asking Zoe if she “wanted consequences” after letting her know what those consequences would be if she kept on with any bad behavior. For example, Zoe not listening to Daddy? If you don’t listen to Daddy and [fill in the blank] we will take away your spotted unicorn. NO, DADDY, PLEASE DON’T TAKE MY UNICORN! And for the most part, this approach is working (though we do have a few more tears than before).

So, stay tuned. And as always, ANY advice is welcome!

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