School Horrors: My Torn Notebook

Scared little girlThis week, I had the opportunity to discuss school horrors with 3 of my clients. One of them was a 45-year-old man who could not handle school because he had to “toughen up” at the age of 4 when his father left home. Another one was a 13-year-old girl who was about to start 8th Grade with a 3rd Grade reading abilities and was convinced she was stupid. The third one was a 48-year-old woman who was told all her life she was stupid, never succeeded in her schooling and thought it was an obstacle to finding a job. All three of them described school as a period of horror when they were scared to be there and when teaching was about pumping information without considering their life’s circumstances – teaching out of context.

During coaching, I usually share some of my personal experience with my clients, so it was very natural for me to share one of my horror stories from school. Unfortunately, I have had too many. When I tell them, I re-live them in my mind and have clear memories of them. I remember the names, the places, the settings and the feelings I have had. I shared these stories because I wanted my clients to consider that in spite the horrors of our childhood, we can all make it. In spite of our parents not protecting us, we can make it. In spite of our teachers not teaching us with the right context in mind, we can be very successful. And happy.

All of them just looked at me quietly for a while. One of them started crying (and it was not the 13-year-old). Another one said, “Ronit, you are making this up”. The third one said, “It’s impossible! You look like you’ve been successful all your life”. Then, all of them left their sessions believing they can make it too.

Gal said I should write it down so more people will be inspired, more parents will be involved in their kids’ schooling and more teachers will teach within their students’ context, so here I am sharing with you my first horror story from school.

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Are You a Normal Parent?

clip_image006_thumbThe concept of being “normal” has been problematic for me since I studied special education. Normality is a set of common behaviors, yet sometimes I think it is overrated. Within a group of “nuts”, who would you call a normal person?

Usually, I reject the desire to be normal, because I believe we need to examine every situation separately and manage our behavior accordingly. This week, I had my beliefs questioned when I heard about a conflict between parents who are both my clients about the way to raise their 2-year-old daughter.

Damian and Alice were very successful. They were wealthy, established professionals, yet they struggled to raise their 2-year-old daughter Mel. Damian was anxious about their daughter and Alice tried very hard to reach “normality”.

At first, I thought Alice’s desire to be a normal family cluttered her perception. I did not really understand what she meant when she said, “Damian is not normal”, but the more I got to know them, the more I realized that although striving for normality may be limiting, having no sense of normality can be devastating for children. I understood that isolation and normality could not go hand in hand.

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After School Care

clip_image002[5][2]One of the biggest challenges for parents in our time is, well, time. Or at least the shortage of it. Having to keep up with inflation, with the Joneses, with technology, with the news and with ever-increasing demands at work means that many parents need a place for their kids to be after school hours.

Of course, we do not want our kids to be just anywhere. We want to keep them in a safe place, operated by friendly people who like kids, where our children will be kept occupied, interested and preferably even educated. Not an easy thing to find, especially when that place also needs to make money…

On the emotional side, leaving our kids with others and staying long hours at work creates loads of guilt feelings. If you have ever put your child in childcare, I am sure you have thought to yourself, “What kind of a parent am I if my kids spend most of their days away from me and get most of their care from other people?”

This story is not just about one place. It is not even just about after school care. This story is to tell you that when you have to find a place for your kids to spend some time, you can actually find them and your kids can actually be happy there.

Read more about why you should consider after school care