I’ve been thinking a lot lately about what it means to be a mom. It’s not just about making school lunches and helping with homework. It’s about knowing when it’s time to pull yourself up by your bootstraps and really go to bat for your kids.
My eight year old has been struggling in school and at home. For a while, I decided to follow the school’s advice in trying to get him caught up. But there comes a point in time when we have to stop taking other people’s advice, look deep down and embrace the fact that there is more going on here.
While the school system in theory may have our children’s best interest at heart, that doesn’t always happen on a local level for many reasons — from resources to incompetency to an incomplete understanding about what the child is truly struggling with. Just because a kid is having trouble reading doesn’t mean you hit them over the head with more academic practice. Sometimes you have to figure out WHY the child is having problems reading in order to solve what is happening.
Through this process, I’m amazed and slightly horrified at just how many parents know their kids are struggling and look to the school system to decide what their child needs — from helping their children catch up in school to behavioral problems to relying solely on a school OT.
The fact remains that schools are run by administrators. They have budgets to balance and a school full of children to serve. Even my pediatrician highly recommended we get our child tested outside of the school system because school employees don’t necessarily have the training to catch the underlying condition, are tied to budget and administrative expectations, and already have a full plate themselves. I’m not saying school employees are bad or aren’t concerned about your kid. But their loyalties and focus may lie elsewhere.
Look. We all live in the real world. Not everyone has a full array of resources at their fingertips. I think the most brave and admirable people are the parents who take advantage of every resource that they have. I’m talking about the parents who are just making ends meet but still proactively reach out to find free OT videos, supplementary academic strategies, sensory ideas or DIY products they can make at home to help their kiddo. They are not going to take a diagnosis lying down. They are not going to silently accept their child’s struggles. They are going to do what they can to make sure their child has the ability to thrive — however that child chooses to define their own success in life.
You know who you are…. and I do, too. We are the silent army for our children. We are the unsung heroes who may never get public recognition but continue to fight the good fight for our kids.
My heart goes out to the kids whose parents just say they’ll follow the school recommendations and don’t truly fight for them. My heart goes out to the kids who are so obviously struggling but whose parents can’t bring themselves to really see what’s going on. My heart goes out to the kids who are practically crying for help but aren’t getting the full support they need at home.
OUR KIDS ARE WORTH FIGHTING FOR!
If someone puts up a road block, find a different road. If someone says no, find a way to turn it into a yes. If someone says your child is fine but you know he’s not, speak up. Because the worst thing we can do as parents is not fight for our kids.
If you suspect something is going on with your child, don’t accept the first answer you’re given. Be willing to dig and find the underlying issue. It could end up making all the difference for your kid.