How much is enough?

Today’s Problem Shared comes from Lindsay who blogs at Grey Street. Have you got any advice for her?

Problem

How do you give enough information to teachers/day care staff etc. so that they understand your child’s needs but don’t feel sorry for them?

The day care staff in particular are struggling with Jonathan. I gave them some more general blanketed information, but then had a few conversations about where he’s coming from. They were very interested to learn about adoption and had lots of questions as this was a whole new world for them and they genuinely want to support him and seem to care. They did pass the usual judgements (“how could parents do that to a child?! They should not be able to have kids!” “poor kid!” etc.) and I shared my opinions and thoughts and tried to open their perspectives a bit around circumstances, birth parents and so on. But, I’m afraid in giving so much information, that now they just feel sorry for him and are tolerating some behaviours because of this.

I don’t think I have found the right balance of too little/too much information.

With school recently started, I’m wondering if anybody has any advice on how to handle info giving with his new teacher? I understand they need some information so they are aware of underlying reasons to behaviours, but how much is too much?

How much have you shared with your child’s teacher or childcare provider? Have you found the right balance? Let us know in the comments below…

5 thoughts on “How much is enough?

  1. ThreeBecomeFour

    This is a difficult area and I feel for you Lindsay. I often wonder how much is enough and how much is too much. I don’t want to single Katie out and make her different but at the same time there are needs that have to be met, especially around security and PSHE etc. Most people want to have the “how can people give their children away” conversation and I usually reply that most children aren’t relinguished these days and that there is usually a child protection issue involved and then say that obviously I can’t go into the details. People in school are trained enough in CP issues to know that confidentiality is important so often don’t ask anything more at that point. You can then raise specific behaviours without going into the details of why things are issues. If you’re worried that behaviours are being tolerated then it might be worth having a half term review with the school to ask how things are going and then you can bring any residue issues up once they’ve gotten to know Jonathan better. I hope this helps a bit. I think it’s fair to say though that this is something we all worry about. x

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  2. new pyjama mummy

    It is a hard one isn’t it? I have gone for sharing a little background with blanket terms as I think it will help them understand her and then focussed on issues and how they present and how I am managing these currently so that school can mirror these strategies too – when I met with the headteacher before we started big school we talked about having updates regularly, so I hope this will really help.

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  3. claire

    Its so tough, and I think it varies on who your talking to. For example, the teachers/staff at the girls previous school were very ‘well they’re adopted now so they’re fine’ about things, so there were less willing to consider how their past could be affecting their present so I felt I HAD to share more, in the hope they would realise just how tough things had been for them and how their past trauma’s still effect them today, and every day.
    Hopefully the staff will chill a bit in time and realise that sympathy isn’t what he needs, and empathy and understanding are x

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  4. Emma

    I’m puzzling this at the moment – the girl has just gone into year 1 and I don’t know how much her new teachers know about her past year. Do they even know she’s being adopted? I assume so as it’s on her records, and I do have a lot of confidence in the head, he is excellent. But they perhaps aren’t aware of her staggered start to school last year, or of her need for approval and being chosen in games for example. And they haven’t yet learnt to read her anxiety signs…

    I don’t want her singled out, but OTOH, when she’s being clingy in the morning, while it is age-appropriate and she isn’t the only one, it comes from a different place to another child doing the same thing.

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  5. Joanna Murray

    As a teacher I would say the more you can offer the better. Adopted children can ‘disappear’ into the system as it is not formally recognised that they will have needs and quite specific ones at that. Issues such as attachment are still either unknown or not appreciated in many schools.
    As a parent of an adopted child, however, I was concerned that I would be perceived as an over anxious parent telling school staff how to do it’s job. In reality the teachers welcomed me and my input. I told them about the in-utero background of my daughter, her under-stimulated and chaotic early start and her experiences in foster care, but I only told them things I thought would impact upon her education, ability to concentrate, relationships with children, relationships with adults and the behaviours the present when she feels insecure (some of which are very charming and therefore totally overlooked). Part of me hoped that all my ‘concerns’ were going to be proved unfounded. Alas, this has not been the case and after a honeymoon period her real individual traits, controlling behaviour and need for constant reassurance at the start of each activity and in between are presenting her as slight challenge. However, the teacher was prepared, had read up the information I had given and spotted the behaviour really well because we had discussed it.
    So I would say, go for it. Teacher’s might not have loads of time for reading up (my daughter’s teacher was very willing though) but forewarned is forearmed and a professional teacher will do whatever they can to support a child with needs.

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