Monday, June 5, 2017

Tell the truth, as soon as you know it

It was a Thursday evening and I had just gotten off from back to back shifts, first a full day in private practice and then a hospital training for my new gig. Zo was riding his bike up and down the street. My husband O catches me on the porch and says, “have a seat, I need to tell you something”. My heart sank, I knew this wasn’t going to be a good conversation. He proceeds to tell me about how Zo had stabbed another student in the neck at school. This is one of those students who is always crying, always dramatic, always asking for a hug. The student had cried and gotten a band-aid and Zo had gotten in big trouble.

I began crying. Ashamed. Scared. Worried. More shame. Guilt. Fear. I had flashbacks of when I had gotten into a fight in high school and the look of worry and concern on my parents’ faces. I didn’t understand then, but in that moment, I fully understood. You work so hard to raise well-rounded, empathetic, gentle humans and then they go and do something so utterly stupid that you lose your breath, you lose all sense, you feel like a failure.

O proceeded to explain to me how he had managed it. He decided to handle it while I was at work between the men-folks. He had picked Zo up early. He had talked to him first and then he even met with the the School Psychologist, Assistant Principal, his Teacher, and the Teacher’s Aide. My husband had cried once they returned home due to fear, shame, guilt, and an outpouring of emotions. He called one of our friends who has an 8 year old son and they walked through an appropriate discipline plan. O talked to Zo a lot and explained how we have to have “gentle hands” all of the time. By the time I got home things were smoothed over. I was saddened that yet again I was at work, but I was proud of my husband for the way he handled things. O is the more calm and collected parent and I begrudgingly admitted that it was good that he was the one who had picked Azola up.

Zo finally came down the street and saw me on the porch. He came to give me a hug and then put his head down and said “did you hear about my behavior?” and then we talked about how he had hurt his friend at school. I explained that I was very disappointed. He promised never to do it again.

I texted the other parent, a stepmother, who had been a little flighty in the past. I asked if we could talk about what happened and we set up a time. That time came and went. I reached out again. Same thing. Apologies. The weekend went by. We continued to talk to Zo about being gentle and that it was important never to hurt others.

Then on Monday I get a text from Zo’s teacher asking had I heard what really happened. I quickly texted back and learned that Zo HAD NOT stabbed another child in the neck, but that on Friday they had learned from the stepmother and father of the little boy ON FRIDAY AFTER SCHOOL that Zo had been dared to break a plastic fork and that a tooth of the fork had popped up and hit the other boy in the neck. The kids had thought this meant that Zo had stabbed him.

So after an agonizing weekend feeling like failures of parents, all the stepmother had to do was text me and say something like “hey, you know Zo didn’t really stab my son, right?” and that would have changed things considerably. Zo wouldn’t have been disciplined. Why didn’t the family tell the truth as soon as they learned it? I would have! Why schedule a time to talk and then miss it and not say anything?

I wish those parents had told the truth as soon as they’d known it.


  1. WHAT A MESS! I am so sorry for y'all. Things can be so overblown these days and then the kid gets a bad complex because they don't understand all the flurry and take on the label. My son is an empath, but my daughter can be more aggressive and she once was getting over sickness (so tired and cranky) and got upset she didn't get a part in a 3rd grade play and couldn't help sharply elbowing the girl who did, accidentally knocking her into a desk. Luckily the teacher was reasonable and sent us a long e-mail so we could deal with it outside of admin. She never did that again!! And my kids have been physically aggressive to each other in the past, as all sibs do, but luckily they are maturing and finding supporting each other is better than not (at least this year anyway knock on wood). So even if the kids do mess up - they are kids, they are learning. I try to also teach my kids that when they come home upset about an unfair situation they witnessed at school - that teachers aren't perfect either but they are usually doing the best they can. And it's ok to speak up about what you saw if you think it can help.

    And if you are learning now that all parents don't come from the same place as you do as far as parenting, you are learning a valuable lesson:). Lower those expectations, and develop a network with the ones you enjoy spending time with or those who your kid enjoys spending time with their kid. Hugs Mommabee!

  2. That's so unfair, what happened to your son. I'm glad at least the teacher sorted things out with you, but geez what an awful way to spend a weekend. Hugs!

  3. That's terrible! Didn't they realize how upset you would be and they could put you out of your misery?

    1. Exactly what I said!!! I really don't want to talk to those parents anymore (and their kid asks me for a play date literally every single time I see him).


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