Teacher reading divorce story books to class

(12 Posts)
ZigZapZip Wed 23-Apr-14 13:36:16

Just want a bit of a consensus really as to how others who are divorce/separated feel about this.

Very young new teacher (who seems very caring but a bit naive and admits coming from a very privileged background and stable family) has been reading the standard story books about divorce to the whole class e.g. Two Homes, Mum and Dad Glue, Its Not Your Fault to the whole class because 'a lot of the parents are divorced so it is a big issue for the children and they need to all know and talk about it and understand it isn't their fault'. There are one or two children in the class currently going through their parents divorcing and about 6 others with divorced parents. Most are well-adjusted, one or two have very difficult and complex situations going on with outside professional help involved.

I am very cautious about this, as a teacher myself and divorced parent, I feel it is the parent's place to discuss this with the children and find an appropriate book. I also feel every situation is so different that these generalised books may confuse children. Personally I think it is quite risky to discuss very emotive issues in whole-class situations where there are some very vulnerable children if you are not a trained mental health professional.
I can see if you knew a great deal about one child's situation and they were really struggling then it may be appropriate to quietly share the story. But as a parent I'd rather do these stories myself and at school for my child to know they can talk to their teacher but privately and when needed.

For some reason it just doesn't sit right with me.

Anyone agree/disagree?

YesAnastasia Wed 23-Apr-14 13:39:50

I guess they're normalising it for everyone. No other children will react with horror or pity if their friend's parents separate, it's just what happens sometimes.

I think it's a good idea. Also, they can come home & ask questions where you are in control of the answers you give.

If it's normal to read children stories in class at that age then I think the subject matter is fine.

I've got more of a problem with the judgemental tone of your post - describing her as 'young and naive', saying she 'admits' to coming from a stable background - none of that is your business to quiz her on.

If it's normal they're read stories then it covering all sorts of topics is fine if they're age appropriate stories.

If she's not supposed to be reading them stories and they're supposed to be spending their time on other subjects then by all means complain.

Those stories are aimed at the right age and cover all sorts of difficult issues.

PeterParkerSays Wed 23-Apr-14 13:46:18

How old are the children?

Also, is she reading these books as part of a project on family types, with books on "children who live with 2 mums" and "children who live with granny" and "adopted children" to follow, or just "here's our 3 o'clock story - Two homes"?

I can kind of understand it if it's the former, as having divorced parents is only one form of family unit (is she going to cover parental loss / bereavement too?) but it's odd if she's just reading the stories.

Is she expecting the children affected to share their experiences with the class at all?

ASmidgeofMidge Wed 23-Apr-14 13:47:24

I wouldn't have an issue with this: as PPs have said I think it's important to normalise different family set-ups. I take your point that for some children going through complex/difficult times at home, it could potentially be Pandora's box but I think it's probably a case of the teacher ensuring she has strategies for dealing with that, rather than avoiding the subject altogether. I also wondered about the relevance of the teacher's age and background ...

Ruushii Wed 23-Apr-14 14:42:42

Won't this just come under the umbrella of PSHE and circle time (or whatever these are called now). It's important that children get to talk and think about different things and different lives.

As an aside, the teacher's age or family background has no bearing on the things she is allowed to teach. With the use of "admits coming from...", it sounds like you've already challenged her and put her in an awkward position of having to talk about her personal life when it is absolutely none of your business.

ZigZapZip Wed 23-Apr-14 18:18:54

Thanks for the replies - it seems I am being over sensitive!

It isn't my DC's teacher, it is someone I work with and she is reading to year 3s. She has discussed at length it all but it just doesn't sit right for some reason. Perhaps because I know my DC would not cope with that kind of discussion in a whole-class situation and that each divorce case isn't that simple and books that 'both mummy and daddy love you and always will' simply alienate some children rather than normalising them if the reality is one parent has disappeared or there are darker issues such as abuse in there too (And she is aware there are complex situations like this for some of the children in her class)...

I haven't expressed my worries to her, as I said, it is probably just me being over-cautious.

ZigZapZip Wed 23-Apr-14 18:20:48

...And just to reassure you I did not probe her or even ask about her background/personal life, and wouldn't dream of - don't worry!!

Thanks again

starlight1234 Wed 23-Apr-14 21:27:33

I would appreciate it ..My DS struggled when he started school with Biff, chip and kipper and there perfect family..

BillyBanter Wed 23-Apr-14 21:31:25

Plenty of people argue/have argued that it is the parents' job to explain sex and sexuality and relationships to their children, but many don't and (so) schools cover these issues too.

I can't see any harm.

meandcoffeeequalhappy Thu 24-Apr-14 08:19:19

I would be so happy if this happened at school. Children with 'two parents at home' should know that there are many other types of family units out there, and that this is perfectly normal and very much ok.

Sassy777 Fri 25-Apr-14 17:55:06

I think it's a good thing. Not all parents would read books like these to their children and it helps other children who do have 2 parents living with them understand the different set ups. It can be very difficult for children and even worse if they think it's not normal and get teased because of it.

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