This was something new for me. Michael’s report card did not contain all the glowing progress that all his other report cards had contained. There were positive comments made about his willingness to learn, try. There were comments about how social he is and how much he enjoys interacting with peers. His strengths are performance arts, art in general, and he is very strong at reading and in music, but yet everywhere, everywhere I saw it kept saying , “With support Michael achieved this. “With repeated reminders Michael did very well.” In previous report cards I saw much more independence in how he learned and went about things than in this report card. There were also comments like, “Michael likes to joke with his friends, but does not know when to stop.” All of these comments were true at home too. I have seen Michael losing control more, happily and angrily. I have seen more rebellion against authority and rules. I know much of this is to be expected as a preteen on the brink of puberty, but my heart still broke seeing not a bad report card, but a report card unlike his other ones where he was obedient, followed the rules every where and did not make waves. Was I losing my little boy?
It was comforting to see some of his home struggles reflected at school, though to a lesser degree. I realized it was not just with me. Still, I found myself thinking what will his teachers have to say to me? What will his therapists have to add? I am going to be meeting with them all soon, and it is a little jarring for this Mom who has never had to ask questions from a report card like this before. Then I exhaled and reminded myself. He is growing up. Things change. I need to change how I look at progress. It is often two steps forward, one step back. We had our share of good and bad moments today. I’m sure school is like that too. But he will get through it. So will I. So what kinds of questions are best to ask at your Exceptional Child’s Parent/Teacher meeting? Really, they have to come from your heart. You know your child best. Share your concerns and your victories with their team. Ask for their input on what you or they could best assist your child with. And most importantly, remember that a report card is not a measuring stick. It is just one measurement of who and what your child is. They will find their place in the world as you did.
Exceptional Parents, what are your tricks for handling Parent/Teacher Night and for not judging your child or yourself to harshly? The trick is really to go with the flow. Remember where your child and you are in your relationship, and know that as long as the communication lines remain open, your child will be fine and continue to progress. Until next time.