Mean Girls

Dawn Michaelfriendship, School issues2 Comments

As a mom, I look to protect my children from physical and emotional harm.  Physical harm hasn’t been a problem yet.  We live in a cozy, middle class town where break-ins are pretty low and violent crimes are few.  Emotionally, however, this town cultivates its mean girls.  I didn’t really understand how this happened as all the parents seem nice.  Am I naive?  Do these people propagate nastiness?  You see, for whatever reason, my daughter is drawn to these mean girls. These girls defy all the values I’ve been trying to teach my children.  Instead of supporting one another, these children rat each other out faster than a stool pigeon.  “Excuse me, Miss Teacher, student X(my BFF) just read.  Why should she get to read again?”  Or, your child forgets her homework and calls the mean girl for the assignment, “Uh sorry.  Gotta go.  Can’t help you now.”  What’s the right thing to teach my child to do?  Often, I scream, “Make new friends!  Play with other kids!  So and so is not kind and doesn’t deserve your friendship!”  Ths doesn’t seem to work as my daughter is repeatedly drawn back to this friend like a moth to a flame. By chance, I come across a book called,”Queen Bees and Wannabes ,” by Rosalind Wiseman.  It was as if the … Read More

Skipping the Field Trip

Dawn Michaelguilt, our book, School issues, self care5 Comments

I love a good field trip just as much as the next gal!  Shopping, yoga retreat, tastings (wine or food)!  School field trips, not so much.  And so it was with reluctance that I told my daughter to add my name to the chaperone list to Slater Mill in Pawtucket, RI.  Just what I wanted to do with a day off from work- spend it with 31 fifth graders!  I did get a little excited when my daughter said there might be ghosts at the mill!  Would these spirits channel my energy and offer me some supernatural advice?  Perhaps this trip wouldn’t be so bad?! Alas, I wasn’t chosen as a chaperone.  Two other moms got their names in before me.  What if I had told my daughter upfront that I didn’t want to go on the field trip?  Would that have hurt her feelings?  Would she have thought I didn’t care enough?  Part of being a parent is to make sacrifices for your children.  So even though the thought of making small talk with other chaperones and keeping all those children in line wouldn’t have been my thing, I owe it to my daughter to support her.  Yet, as a believer in conscious unparenting, I need to put my needs at least on par with my child’s. I decided … Read More

The School Bus Rush

Dawn MichaelADHD, our book, School issues1 Comment

I don’t enjoy school day mornings.  The chaos that encompasses them is relentless.  Though I get my children up in plenty of time for the bus, they are always rushing around, scrambling to get out the door.  The patient bus driver and bus monitor sit parked in front of my house, waiting for my two cherubs to board. I still have trouble fathoming why such a simple thing as getting ready in the morning takes so damn long!  My children are free of dress choices as they wear a uniform.  However, they still manage to fight about personal items.  Like rabid dogs, they lunge at each other, “That’s my headband!”  “She’s wearing my North Face jacket!  Take it off now!”  As an anxious negotiater, I offer a trip to Claire’s if they agree to share their accessories for the day. Breakfast is always a challenge because they’re never hungry in the morning.  The problem is they need to eat something so that their ADHD meds don’t upset their stomachs.  They sit at the table, staring off into space while I circle around them, stuffing pieces of cantaloupe in their mouths.  I repeatedly check the time, my voice rising an octave with each progressive check.  My youngest responds, “Mom, stop.  I know what time it is!”  Stubborn as the day is … Read More

The Advocate

Dawn MichaelSchool issuesLeave a Comment

My child came home from school the other day, upset that she had gotten in trouble for something she claimed she hadn’t done. Apparently, she had asked her teacher if she could talk to her friend. The teacher said no and instructed my daughter to sit down. My daughter walked by the friend she had asked to talk to(who was in a direct path to her seat) and was handed a bookmark. My child responded,”Thank you,” to her friend. The teacher, livid that my child had just disobeyed her, immediately reprimanded my child and said,”No recess tomorrow!”. My daughter, feeling she had done nothing wrong responded with,”But Mrs. Teacher, I wasn’t talking…”. Mrs. Teacher took that as “back talk” and exclaimed, “No recess on Friday either!” Seeing my child’s frustration, I decided to intervene. My child is ten and because she had tried to advocate for herself and failed, she needed me to explain the situation to the teacher. I diplomatically sent the teacher an email summarizing the incident from my daughter’s point of view. I told the teacher that my child was always instructed to follow the classroom rules. I did question whether the punishment, loss of two recesses, was a bit harsh. My child has ADHD and to make her hold her extra energy in tightly wasn’t a … Read More