At the beginning of the school year, I received a text from a mom in my kid’s classroom. It was regarding the friendship between her son and my son, both 6 years old. It went like this:
I became acutely aware that moms are now so involved in our kids’ business that we need to send a special text when our little darling comes home from school feeling left out.
I spoke to my son about making sure everyone feels welcome in his recess games and to treat people kindly. He said he was treating people kindly, but he wanted some space from Ryan* that day.
So this is how I replied:
I thought that was a very nice text and I must say it was received with acceptance and understanding.
But what I really wanted to say was:
Please do not clutter my phone with texts about how your whiny son who uses foul language and tells people to shut up in school all day is feeling left out. Maybe Eric is just tired of Ryan because he is constantly yelling at his friends and making cruel comments! When I work in the classroom, I frequently witness your child being rude to others. I’ve witnessed the teachers having to remind your son to be nice and act appropriately during classroom time. Did I text you to tell what a jerk store your son was? No. I left it in the classroom. Please let kids be kids and let them work out their social situations at school where life lessons are learned.
Months later I received a text from another mom. It went like this:
Let me make something perfectly clear. Bullying is not for one second acceptable in my family. I understand receiving a text or phone call in a bullying situation, but this was simply a playground disagreement resulting in hurt feelings.
I restrained myself from texting back:
Geez lady, are you kidding me? Are you texting me because our kids didn’t get along at school today? They will probably go to school tomorrow and be the best of friends.
The next day John’s mom texted me this:
To this I responded with a text — the exact text I longed to deliver:
To this she said she didn’t know all of the answers; she was learning as she went. I respect that. We are all learning as we go. As parents we make mistakes, then try to do things differently the next time the situation arises.
I understand the urge to fight our kid’s battles and protect them from situations that make them sad.
“Helicopter mom” and other labels aside, let’s stop texting about every squabble. Instead, let’s teach our children how to navigate conflict and deal with hurt feelings.
Those are skills they will use for the rest of their life.
*All names have been changed for this post.
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This post was written by Megan Woolsey exclusively for BonBon Break Media, LLC.