During a daycare pickup this week, the staff told me T threw a toy at a boy and caused a bump on his head.
They said the parents were upset, because it’s not the first time T and this boy have had issues.
I told the staff the hubby and I will speak with T because we take responsibility for his behaviour.
Our routine is to play in the playground after pickup. Recently, there is a 7 year old boy who T has hit it off with and his dad brings him to play with T every day.
As T and I were walking to the playground, I am stopped by a man who was visibly upset. He pointed to T, who was running towards his friend.
“Is that your son?” He asked. Judging by the tone of his voice and the rage on his face, I figured out this was the angry parent.
I confirmed I was T’s dad.
He then dialed a number on his phone. A woman’s voice came on. It was his wife, who spoke in English because her Chinese husband was not fluent.
She was audibly upset and reiterated the situation that had happened.
I said I was sorry that T did that and I’ve already spoken to him about it and would speak with him again that night.
The mom said this was not the first time our kids have had an issue.
I told them that I couldn’t comment because I was not aware of the history.
“So this is the first time you’re hearing about this?” They asked, implying the daycare staff were not addressing T’s behaviour with me.
I explained that daycare staff bring up incidents but they do not mention specific names – like their son – out of privacy.
The dad was shooting eye daggers at me. It was incredibly uncomfortable.
But all I could do was reiterate I am sorry, that I take responsibility for T’s actions and that I’ve already spoken with him about it.
But they were not getting the answer they wanted. They were wanting me to agree with their implication that T was a bad child and a bully.
And frankly, I was not going there, because it was not true.
And I stood up for T. I told them that while I acknowledge that what T did was wrong, I also want them to know T is not a bad kid.
Then I apologized that I had to leave to be with my son and I politely walked away.
That incident really bothered me. I was so upset about it – for multiple reasons.
I was upset that it happened. It was a reminder that despite the many gains we’ve made, T is a work in progress.
I was upset that I had to be yelled at by two angry parents for very valid reasons and for actions that T made.
I was upset because it was another parental complaint we’ve had to deal with this year.
During the car ride home, I spoke about it with T again.
I asked him how he thought the incident made his classmate at daycare feel. He was silent. That to me tells me he was remorseful and guilty.
The daycare staff did say he felt genuinely remorseful.
This was certainly not the first time a parent had complained about T and his behaviour.
But this was the first time I’ve had an actual confrontation with an angry parent and it was incredibly uncomfortable.
On one hand, I empathize and take responsibility for T’s actions and I was genuine when I described to them the steps I would take to teach T about what he did.
On the other hand, I have to continue to be T’s advocate. These parents – at no fault of their own – have no idea about the additional challenges T has to deal with on a daily basis nor do they realize the tremendous, I repeat, tremendous gains he has made this school year with social interaction and behaviour.
I don’t expect them to care. I expect any parent – as I do – to focus on their child and their best interests.
So I get their anger.
But I am not going to go overboard with my apologies, nor throw T under the bus.
I’ve apologized for his actions and I’ve committed to speaking with him about it and to do my part to teach him to do better. And I will continue to do so in the future, because there will be more of these incidents.
But that is where I draw the line. I will continue to focus my energies on the bigger picture and the journey ahead.
I’m not looking to win a Parent of the Year Award but I most certainly am laser focused on being the best parent and advocate, along with the hubby, for T.