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School rules and your child - what's your approach?


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#1 roses7

Posted 12 March 2012 - 10:58 AM

DH and I are in agreement that we want our kids - DD aged 5.5 and DS who is 4 - to be individuals and to have the courage to follow their own paths in life. We don't have a huge number of rules at home, but we do have structure. But overall I think that EB would deem me to be too lenient with my kids. I tend to think that kids don't need to be stacking the dishwasher at 5 or making their own sandwiches at 7  ph34r.gif

However, when it comes to rules at school, preschool etc we teach them to follow them. If I strongly disagreed with a rule then I would be happy to take it up with the teacher or school but we believe that generally they should do as they are asked. Our reasoning is that when there is a large group of children with just 1 or 2 teachers then there needs to be rules to keep everyone safe and allow them to learn.

I confess to feeling a bit judgy mcjudgy about a few friends recently who have let their FYOS kids have "mental health days" - one child has had 5 days off school already! And my SIL drives me crazy because she walks her DD into class every day instead of encouraging her to line up with the other kids. The teachers have made it clear that this is not acceptable but she keeps doing it.

I just think it's easier on everyone, including the kids, to encourage kids to follow rules. I don't think a 5 year old should be seeing school as optional. And I do really feel bad for the other mums of upset children who do what they are asked to and walk away from their children, if there is someone there who doesn't follow the rules.

Disclaimer - I am talking about kids who do not have SN. Naturally there are children who do require a different approach.

So am I out of step with current thinking? (my Mum agrees with me, which is always a worry  tongue.gif )

#2 ~benita~

Posted 12 March 2012 - 11:06 AM

I think you should butt out.  You choose what rules for your family to follow and everyone else can do the same.

I don't think you are really asking our opinion, just wanting to tell us that you are a much better school Mum because your children don't have days off and don't want to hold your hand at school.  Turn around and I will pat you on the back.


#3 BobTony

Posted 12 March 2012 - 11:09 AM

There are rules throughout life - road rules, tax rules, employment rules, the law, to name a few. We all have to follow rules in life that we don't necessarily agree with or which we think are stupid.

Kids need to know that different places have different rules and sometimes, you just have to suck it up and follow the rules.



#4 Ianthe

Posted 12 March 2012 - 11:11 AM

I think it is easier for kids if parent's are in sync with school rules. My kids are aware that I rolleyes.gif about the fact that they aren't allowed to jump in puddles at school or allowed to roll down the grass hill outside the classrooms though.

#5 mum850

Posted 12 March 2012 - 11:12 AM

QUOTE (frosted @ 12/03/2012, 12:06 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I think you should butt out.  You choose what rules for your family to follow and everyone else can do the same.

I don't think you are really asking our opinion, just wanting to tell us that you are a much better school Mum because your children don't have days off and don't want to hold your hand at school.  Turn around and I will pat you on the back.


Having a bad day?


#6 roses7

Posted 12 March 2012 - 11:12 AM

QUOTE (frosted @ 12/03/2012, 12:06 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I think you should butt out.  You choose what rules for your family to follow and everyone else can do the same.

I don't think you are really asking our opinion, just wanting to tell us that you are a much better school Mum because your children don't have days off and don't want to hold your hand at school.  Turn around and I will pat you on the back.


No, you're wrong, I genuinely wondered if others think the same way as me, or if there is more of a move to a child-centred approach these days.

These are 3 people, all very close to me, and whom I greatly respect, who are making choices that I think are very odd. So maybe they are right and I am wrong.

I could write 50 posts with my many failings as a parent, if it would make you feel better?

ETA: And as I said in my OP, my oldest child is 5. She has only just started school, so I am still learning myself.

Edited by roses7, 12 March 2012 - 11:14 AM.


#7 tothebeach

Posted 12 March 2012 - 11:14 AM

In concept, I agree that children should follow school rules (or question appropriately, through SRC etc).  However, I am my child's advocate and am happy to make decisions on what is best for my child (and work with and get agreement from the school, if necessary).  In practice, this means that we are happy to take our child out of school for family holidays (even though this is technically against the rules).

As for rules being blindly obeyed whether a child agrees or not, I grew up in a repressive regime so my view is that, while you should obey the rules, you should always question those which appear to be unfair (appropriately, of course).  That is the priviledge and responsibility of living in a democracy.

#8 baddmammajamma

Posted 12 March 2012 - 11:17 AM

I think, for the most part, rules are very helpful at school and create a sense of security and structure for kids.

HOWEVER, I also think that Mental Health Days are fantastic, if used judiciously.

My mom, trail blazing parents that she was, introduced us to that concept back in the 70s, and I use them with my kids (one with SNs, one without) as well.

ETA: I agree with tothebeach 100%.

Edited by baddmammajamma, 12 March 2012 - 11:19 AM.


#9 roses99

Posted 12 March 2012 - 11:23 AM

QUOTE (baddmammajamma @ 12/03/2012, 11:17 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
HOWEVER, I also think that Mental Health Days are fantastic, if used judiciously.

I tend to agree with this, especially in FYOS. Going to school five days a week can be an enormous adjustment, especially for kids who haven't previously been in full-time daycare.

My son is in FYOS and a few of his little friends have had a day off here and there, just because they were getting so tired and overwhelmed.

I don't think mental health days should be abused, but I do think there's a place for them.

#10 ZombieMum

Posted 12 March 2012 - 11:24 AM

QUOTE (roses7 @ 12/03/2012, 11:58 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Disclaimer - I am talking about kids who do not have SN. Naturally there are children who do require a different approach.

How can you be sure? Plenty of kids aren't diagnosed until they are older. My DD wasn't diagnosed with ADHD until she was in her second year of school, and then diagnosed with Aspergers in her 5th year!!  

QUOTE (frosted @ 12/03/2012, 12:06 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I think you should butt out.  You choose what rules for your family to follow and everyone else can do the same.

yyes.gif

QUOTE (frosted @ 12/03/2012, 12:06 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I don't think you are really asking our opinion, just wanting to tell us that you are a much better school Mum because your children don't have days off and don't want to hold your hand at school.  Turn around and I will pat you on the back.
roll2.gif

OP - it's possible this child that has had "mental health days" suffers from anxiety. Or maybe they have other medical issues like a low immune system, and feel run down. Or maybe they have severe hay fever or they are a poor sleeper. There could be all sorts of reasons which you'd be unaware of.

#11 Lady Garden

Posted 12 March 2012 - 11:47 AM

Wow how can you have time to know what other people are doing? I'm too busy trying to keep my own kids in line let alone anyone else's.

#12 Indi

Posted 12 March 2012 - 12:01 PM

QUOTE (Ianthe @ 12/03/2012, 12:11 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I think it is easier for kids if parent's are in sync with school rules. My kids are aware that I rolleyes.gif about the fact that they aren't allowed to jump in puddles at school or allowed to roll down the grass hill outside the classrooms though.

This.  However you may not agree with me OP, my 4 yo unstacks the dishwasher.

#13 kaboo

Posted 12 March 2012 - 12:02 PM

I tend to agree with you OP - but then I'm a hardarse when it comes to school. You don't get out of it unless you are practically dead LOL. It's probably easier if you are a SAHM to not send them as you don't have to worry about having to take a day off yourself I guess.

As for school rules I teach my kids that rules are there for a reason and even if it's a stupid rule (like you mustn't wear your jumper without a blazer etc) that's too bad because it's what we signed up for - literally, my kids and I have to sign a contract each year with the school.

Are all these kids the eldest/first child at school OP? I was much more wussy with my first, walking him to class for nearly 2 years. We joke that with #2 DH just slows down the car at the drop-off and kicks them out while still going LOL. I pity #4, we will be so over it by then LOL.

#14 liveworkplay

Posted 12 March 2012 - 12:08 PM

QUOTE (BobTheKelpie @ 12/03/2012, 12:09 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
There are rules throughout life - road rules, tax rules, employment rules, the law, to name a few. We all have to follow rules in life that we don't necessarily agree with or which we think are stupid.

Kids need to know that different places have different rules and sometimes, you just have to suck it up and follow the rules.


Well said.

EB is the only place I have ever heard the phrase "mental health day". My kids know that school (and daycare for the littly) are their "work" just like their Dad and Mum have to go to work. Sometimes we dont feel like it, but unless we are sick, we have to make the effort to go. This year is the first time my 8 year old will have a day off school without being sick as she has a medical appointment interstate and we are flying back on the monday.

#15 Great Dame

Posted 12 March 2012 - 12:10 PM

I see nothing wrong with five mental health days at that age and older.  Why is your mental health less important than physical?

If my child was upset and was comforted by me entering the classroom, then I would do it despite any rules.  I went against my instincts once in a similar situation and regret it to this day, over a year later.  I won't be assured by "they stop crying as soon as you go" because I've seen the opposite with my own child and other children.  So balls to any rule that tells me I can't go into settle my child.  Thankfully it hasn't happened though.

I made sure I found a school that was similar to my parenting so we didn't have to follow any rules I was strictly against.

#16 Great Dame

Posted 12 March 2012 - 12:12 PM

QUOTE (liveworkplay @ 12/03/2012, 12:08 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
EB is the only place I have ever heard the phrase "mental health day".



Many workplaces have mental health days because thankfully we recognize how important a healthy mind is these days.


#17 roses7

Posted 12 March 2012 - 12:19 PM

QUOTE (Bahodie @ 12/03/2012, 12:23 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I tend to agree with this, especially in FYOS. Going to school five days a week can be an enormous adjustment, especially for kids who haven't previously been in full-time daycare.

My son is in FYOS and a few of his little friends have had a day off here and there, just because they were getting so tired and overwhelmed.

I don't think mental health days should be abused, but I do think there's a place for them.


I can see your point. I can totally see myself giving the kids mental health days when they are older but for some reason I didn't think it was a good idea in FYOS. I guess I was wondering if giving them a nice day at home might make them less inclined to go to school so it might create a problem rather than solving one. I don't know why I feel like that, I've never been someone who made decisions based on avoiding future bad habits, I've always just done what felt right at the time.

Maybe I have to accept I am a product of my time. I went to school in the 1970s and early 80s with a working mum so we went to school unless we were dying  biggrin.gif

For those who question how I have time to wonder about other people's children, these are not random children in the playground, I actually know them very well. 2 of the kids don't go to the same school as DD, I know about them having days off because their parents told me. Don't you talk to your friends and family members about your children?





#18 missj

Posted 12 March 2012 - 12:21 PM

QUOTE (frosted @ 12/03/2012, 11:06 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I think you should butt out.  You choose what rules for your family to follow and everyone else can do the same.


I agree with this (though I probably wouldn't use the words 'butt out', but i would say 'each to their own')

BTW, my DS1 is having a 'mental health day' today - first and last one for the term - I think he needed it.  My DD had the option to as well, but she chose to go to school.  I don't think I am a bad parent for giving him an extra day off to chill out after a very busy weekend.

I agree with teaching children to follow rules at school - the rules are there for good reason, and it is usually in everyone's best interest to follow them.  I haven't seen any unreasonable rules at the school my kids attend, and they have no problem following them original.gif

#19 3_for_me

Posted 12 March 2012 - 12:22 PM

I believe rules should be followed and for the most part wouldn't allow a day off other than for illness or some sort of important appointment.

But i'm a nasty hard-ass mum, my 2 year old helps unpack the dishwasher with one of her brothers while the other cleans their bathroom and all three have to make their own school/childcare lunch and put it in the fridge in the evening for the next day.

#20 liveworkplay

Posted 12 March 2012 - 12:24 PM

QUOTE
Many workplaces have mental health days because thankfully we recognize how important a healthy mind is these days.


Well I must have had sh*tty workplaces then laughing2.gif as I have never heard of it before.
I agree mental health is very important, but as I have read many many times on EB, giving a day off because your child  (or you) has had a big weekend (as a PP stated) is not mental health to me. Your child is tired, schedule them less, don't let them miss school.

Working in highschools I can tell you, too many "mental health days" will not come across very well for your child and will not reflect well on you either.

Edited by liveworkplay, 12 March 2012 - 12:26 PM.


#21 ILBB

Posted 12 March 2012 - 12:25 PM

QUOTE
I see nothing wrong with five mental health days at that age and older. Why is your mental health less important than physical?
This - although this year and last we didn't really take any as we always holiday outside of school holidays (DP cant generally get holidays at popular times) so I am very concious of DS taking too many days off.  But I think a "doona" day is often very well spent and often has more benefits than going to school stressed or tired.

#22 roses7

Posted 12 March 2012 - 12:33 PM

QUOTE (MadameCatty @ 12/03/2012, 01:10 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I made sure I found a school that was similar to my parenting so we didn't have to follow any rules I was strictly against.


Isn't that the point though? If you choose a school - and 2 of the kids I am talking about go to private schools - then don't you choose to follow their structure? There is a school just down the road from ours where the ethos is entirely different. No uniform, very little structure, few rules. Or you can home school. But if you are going to choose to put your child in a school that is very clear about the way things are done, then is it right to break the rules to suit your child?

Our school is a different scenario, it is a public school. Parents who send their kids there don't necessarily have the option to choose a different school. Still I am not convinced that giving a 5 year old the idea that the rules can be bent for them is a good idea, because as soon as the mum leaves then she is back to being one of the group again. And I know she is struggling with this and the teacher has brought it up with her parents. So ultimately, is it helping her or hindering her? This is a child I care about very much, so my question is genuine.

Edited by roses7, 12 March 2012 - 12:34 PM.


#23 JuniperSun

Posted 12 March 2012 - 12:37 PM

My DD1 is FYOS and if she required me to walk her into her classroom every morning then I would do it. There is no way I would walk away from my distressed child if she needed me. What message does that send her? I don't care if you are sad the rules say I can't comfort you? Nope I'm her mother and my bond and trust with my child comes first. I agree that rules to maintain social order and safety need to be followed but a rule that states my child needs to line up even if she is distressed is one I would be prepared to break. It's common sense - does the teacher want to spend time calming one or many distressed children at the beginning of every day or would they prefer a calm child being walked to their room by a parent who is then able to get on with their day?

I would also be prepared to offer my child a mental health day is required. She is only FYOS she has a long way to go - I don't want her tired and resenting going to school already. If she needs a break she'll get one. We are also planning  family holiday later in the year - *gasp* during school term. She'll miss 2 weeks of school but will gain so much more in travelling to another country.

#24 Empress NG

Posted 12 March 2012 - 12:39 PM

I am planning a "mental health day" to take my son to the Harry Potter exhibition before it closes in Sydney (more for my sake as I don't want to deal with the weekend crowds).  We did the same for Picasso last year when his aunty was over visiting and wanted to take him.  I was quite open with the teacher about why he was having the day off, ie, didn't pretend he was sick or anything like that.  He is actually an incredibly healthy kid so rarely has days off otherwise.  

We do our best to enforce school rules otherwise - although do leave it up to the kids to a certain extent, eg, up to them to remember their school hats and that kind of thing and they are the ones that wear the consequences if not followed.

#25 JRA

Posted 12 March 2012 - 12:52 PM

QUOTE
Of course my kids have to follow the school rules. What other parents choose to do is not my concern.


I agree, the only challenge is when little Johnny says "why is Fred's mum walking into the room when you say you aren't allowed", or "why is Fred allowed to .... when the school says you aren't allowed".






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