Dd (Y2) told by TA she shouldn't cry at school

(52 Posts)
Happygirl77 Wed 03-Oct-12 17:19:56

My dd1 (6) is in a mixed Y1/2 class and today they were doing drawings of each other. Dd1 has always had blonde hair though it is darker now than it used to be (I would still say dark blonde though some say light brown). This is relevant! Dd1 was cross that her partner drew her with brown her (no yellow bits) at which point the TA insisted that she does have brown hair. Dd1 burst into tears (she and dd2 and ds have always had blond hair and green eyes like daddy so to be told her hair wasn't blonde was a source of great distress for her!) The TA told her to stop being silly and that now she is in Year 2, she shouldn't cry at school.

This is the concerning bit for me. I don't want dd1 feeling that she can't explore her emotions or express her feelings at school. I certainly don't want her repressing what she feels. To be honest, I'm disappointed that the TA (usually very sensitive) didn't ask why dd1 was so upset at being told her hair was brown instead of telling her she was being silly and she shouldn't be silly!

Am I being PFB? Dd1 has SEN and struggles a bit (also an August bday). First post so please be gentle!

was told by the TA today that, "You're in Year 2 now, you shouldn't cry at school".

Happygirl77 Wed 03-Oct-12 17:21:10

Sorry, that came out a bit muddled (on phone) - hopefully it makes some sense! blush

CuriousMama Wed 03-Oct-12 17:22:07

I suppose if they all cried in class it could get annoying? Also she may distract the others? But if they know she has SEN you'd think they'd make allowances?

So your dd told you this? Does she enjoy school usually?

seeker Wed 03-Oct-12 17:24:53

Are you absolutely sure it was as dd told you? I would go in and ask about it- you may find that her account of events is a a bit different to the TA's!

But it is a little bit of a silly thing to cry about- don't you think?

CuriousMama Wed 03-Oct-12 17:27:05

Ds2 has SEN's he's just gone into yr7. He used to cry in year 6 and I don't recall him ever being told not to cry? We moved here 2 years ago so he had some disruption which he doesn't take kindly to.

He's absolutely blossomed in yr7 though. He hated his old school.

I hope your dd likes hers usually, it's awful if they're sad.

CuriousMama Wed 03-Oct-12 17:28:42

seeker just wondering if you have a SEN dc? What may seem silly to some is seen as major to other dcs.

Sirzy Wed 03-Oct-12 17:29:53

are you sure that what your DD said is actually how it happened? children that young aren't always known for accurate reporting of the situation.

I can understand why crying over such a little thing would be discouraged. Schools simply haven't got time to pander to children being upset over such small things (unless her special needs means she struggles with emotions in which case they should be more understanding, but still discourage it)

mrsbaffled Wed 03-Oct-12 17:35:09

I have told my DSs not to cry at school.....hmm

ishchel Wed 03-Oct-12 17:35:26

I teach secondary and would never tell a kid that they could not cry over something. It isn't my place to judge what else may actually be behind the tears. (well I may judge but it is not my place to give air to those thoughts.)

And no I am not soft as shite. in fact I can be a mean old bat.

Sorry your dd was so upset today. Do go in and find out what was behind the tears from the TAs POV. Just to get a clearer picture for yourself and to most likely give them further insight into your daughter's difficulties.

CuriousMama Wed 03-Oct-12 17:42:11

ishchel ds2's teachers used to try to get to the bottom of his tears. But it's just him. It's nice to know you would act this way too smile

SoupDragon Wed 03-Oct-12 17:47:15

Are her SEN relevant? It is a silly thing to cry over. I d agree that you need to find out what was actually said and what actually happened.

You do need to address why she finds the colour of her hair so distressing though.

peeriebear Wed 03-Oct-12 17:50:31

DD2 once said she cried at school because she missed me. I'm pretty sure she wasn't told to man up and that she was being silly. She's 5 ffs! (almost 6)

Sirzy Wed 03-Oct-12 18:07:12

It could well be as simple as they said to her "now come on, you don't need to cry do you" when trying to calm her down and she has taken it wrongly.

It depends on the extent of her special needs doesn't it?

I mean to some people it would seem an odd thing to be do upset about but to others it would be a perfectly normal thing to get upset about.

outtolunchagain Wed 03-Oct-12 18:28:48

My ds is dyspraxic and 15 , he is still quick to cry even now although not much at school now . He has had to work rely hard at it as crying is a known characteristic of dyspraxia.

cansu Wed 03-Oct-12 18:42:48

Tbh my dd has sen and I do sometimes tell her not to be silly and get upset about daft things. I doubt she has been emotionally damaged by this remark really.

MrsRobertDuvallHasRosacea Wed 03-Oct-12 18:48:43

The ta was probably trying not to make it into a major incident and being very jolly hockeysticks, let's move on sort of thing.

yellowsun Wed 03-Oct-12 19:00:45

6 year olds often use inaccurate colours in their drawings. What did you want the TA to say? It's hardly the end of the world. I'm sure she just trying to stop her crying and to move the situation on without upsetting the other child also.

Pinot Wed 03-Oct-12 19:22:36

Is the SEN relevant to the interaction?

Soupy is right ^ ^ up there, you need to find out why hair colour is so upsetting for her.

Was she crying about hair colour, or about something else? Is she happy and settled? Are relations with the TA normally good?

I would say this is a "straw/camels back" situation and I would try to find out what is going on.

Hope you're OK though smile

Fairenuff Wed 03-Oct-12 20:20:49

I work in Year 2 and I wouldn't tell a child not to cry but if I couldn't understand what they were saying I might say something like, 'I can't understand you when you're crying. You need to stop crying and talk to me, tell me what the problem is'. Maybe it was something like that?

Happygirl77 Wed 03-Oct-12 20:37:39

Thanks for all the responses!

Yes, DD told me this. I went back to school to chat to the TA (who has always been very kind and gentle to DD) and she told me, "Yes, that's exactly what happened and I told her I had no sympathy for her being so silly!" She was gossiping talking to the teacher about it when I went in and v defensive, crossing her arms and looking fed up! TBH, dd is quite good at remembering who said what and what has happened at school.

She does usually enjoy school, but has an IEP for reading and non-specific/undiagnosed neurological issues (paediatrician says she ticks boxes for symptoms of dyslexia / dyspraxia / asd / ADHD but not enough for a clear diagnosis of any one of them). She has major sensory issues (would prob score highly for an auditory processing disorder - paed and senco agree). So whether her SEN are relevant I don't know, just background to a sensitive and introspective little girl I guess!

Is it a silly thing to cry over? Not for her. She and her db and ds all have green eyes "like daddy" and blond hair "like daddy". I think she has always considered those physical features a major part of her identity (since they confer belonging to a certain family). So to suddenly be told, "you don't have blonde hair" was like saying, "you don't look like your daddy, brother or sister". Plus brown hair is like spiders, apparently! hmm I can see why it would seem ridiculous to parents of NT children (and I cannot imagine my other dd reacting like this).

Apparently she continued to cry "all afternoon" (that bit I don't quite believe!) and sucked her thumb as she was upset, which is a sure sign of anxiety in her (at least she didn't chew her skin til it bled - on the bright side...) hmm

I don't think she's been emotionally damaged cansu and neither do I think it the end of the world yellowsun - I was generally more concerned at her being given the general advice that now she is in Year 2 she shouldn't cry! The incident itself is more context for the advice, in my mind.

Happygirl77 Wed 03-Oct-12 20:40:38

Oh, the other thing is that she told me earlier that she had cried yesterday at school as she wasn't picked to do dancing in the harvest assembly hmm So maybe the TA just wants her to toughen up a bit!

LucyBorgia Wed 03-Oct-12 20:57:27

Yanbu at all and you seem to understand why your little girl reacted the way she did. An innocuous comment from the TA that hit a sensitive spot. A good thing op really! Now the TA will be more aware of her sensitivities. Where is the teacher in all this btw? Primary responsibility and all that. in my classroom the conversation/exploration of the situation would be the responsibility of the teacher..

Goldenjubilee10 Wed 03-Oct-12 21:34:11

Perhaps it is a bit of a silly thing to cry over but the things that reduce me to tears are normally the silliest and I'm an adult. The link with dyspraxia/crying is an interesting one.

Happygirl77 Wed 03-Oct-12 21:34:39

Dd didn't say where the teacher was - she didn't want to go and tell her in case she told her she was being silly too sad [cross] I think the main problem, LucyBorgia is that there was no exploration of the situation...

Pinot Thu 04-Oct-12 09:08:34

I would speak to the teacher, in all honesty.

pinkdelight Thu 04-Oct-12 09:33:36

I remember my mum saying she got in a big fight at school cos her friend said her hair was 'yellow' instead of 'blonde'! I don't think it's at all unusual for your DD to get upset over something that seems like nothing to an adult. However I also don't think there needs to be any exploration of the situation or this deep analysis that the wrong hair colour challenged her sense of identity. Dear me. Your dd got upset. The TA gave her short shrift. I really can't understand the big deal. Obviously no one's saying the rule is you must never cry at school. It's probably good that your dd takes in the message not to get too upset. And the TA could probably be a bit nicer, but couldn't we all be? I would let this one go.

nannyof3 Thu 04-Oct-12 09:42:43

It doesnt matter if u cry, wether a child is in year 2 or year 10... It is not annoying as one poster said angry

These are children and should feel if they want to cry then they are allowed to cry and show there emotions..

The little girls reaction was not 'silly' as a poster said... Shes 6/7/8, shes just a baby... Have u never cried over something that u thought was abit 'silly' after because i know i have !!!!

OP, speak to the TA and just explain the situation and regardless what she says just tell her that u dont want ur child made to feel that she cant express her emotions, good luck x

pinkdelight Thu 04-Oct-12 09:58:17

But there's a middle-ground, isn't there? Between the individual and the group. The individual can express their emotions and the group can find it annoying. ideally the individual learns to control their emotions and the group learns tolerance. Therefore even for children, there are instances when crying can be seen as an over-reaction. She shouldn't be told off for this, and she wasn't really told off, but it can be pointed out that it's not worth crying about. I'm sure if she'd hurt herself and cried, the TA would have been more comforting.

I honestly don't think the TA was being harsh. Do people not tell their kids not to turn on the waterworks any more? Or am I just a big meanie? It doesn't sound like the DD has any problem feeling like she can express her emotions.

Happygirl77 Thu 04-Oct-12 12:16:20

pinkdelight perhaps you would "understand the big deal" if you had an idea of my dd's special needs?

nannyof3 thank you for understanding!

The TA came out to me in the playground this morning, tearful and feeling bad that she had upset dd. She said she hadn't slept well and gave me a little sorry card! I expressed my concern that dd should be allowed to express herself and it is all now settled. Dd quite happy to go back to school today smile

pinkdelight Thu 04-Oct-12 12:24:09

Perhaps I would. Sorry if that was insensitively put. You did say you didn't know if the SEN was relevant, so I didn't assume that it was necessarily. But yes, that might be why you found it more upsetting. Anyway, glad it's all sorted now.

CuriousMama Thu 04-Oct-12 13:17:37

Aww that's lovely so glad she apologised, she sounds a good TA smile

trinity0097 Thu 04-Oct-12 17:12:45

It sounds like the adult wwas telling the child to basically man up and get over it, after all it's not really something worthy of getting upset about and the child has taken it the wrong way. I wouldn't bother getting worried about it unless similar things happen often. Tough love is sometimes needed, children need to learn to deal with small things without getting upset, they wont' do this if the crying is encourged by attention being given.

madwomanintheattic Thu 04-Oct-12 17:24:02

Dd2 has sn.

If she told me she cried because someone described her hair colour using a word she didn't agree with, I'd be telling her not to be silly, too. grin

(Dd2 is also blonde, but getting darker as she gets older. As the TA, I'd have discussed that with her, and got all the blardy crayons out and talked about shading, and how different people use different words for the same thing.)

It is a daft thing to burst into tears over in y2, whether you have sen or not, and the TA's job is to help dd get some coping strategies in place so that she doesn't burst into tears at every perceived slight.

And as for 'brown hair is like spiders', I'd be discussing that with her too. Let's hope she didn't say to any brown haired kids in the class and make them cry, as I think that's way more offensive than telling her she's not blonde any more, which is arguably the case.

Sometimes our dd's do need a hand to toughen up a bit. We are trying to prepare them to interact with the real world, whatever their disability.

SoupDragon Thu 04-Oct-12 17:36:13

Op, what do you plan to do to address the whole blonde hair issue? Unless you start using Sun In... ? smile

Do you also have blonde hair?

colditz Thu 04-Oct-12 17:42:44

My eldest has sen and does struggle withthings like this. He's stopped crying about it because its silly behavior, as is rolling on the floor and hanging off my arms. If the behavior isn't appropriate and the child can stop, then they SHOULD stop.

NoIdeaWhyTheNameChange Thu 04-Oct-12 18:09:21

"I don't want dd1 feeling that she can't explore her emotions or express her feelings at school"

Blimey, if all DC explored their emotions in school there would be bedlam.

Fairenuff Thu 04-Oct-12 18:25:58

Children in primary schools are encouraged to recognise and manage their emotions. It's called Emotional Literacy. It's unlikely that they would be told they are 'silly' for crying but it might be explained that there is a better way to express what they are feeling.

JustSpiro Thu 04-Oct-12 18:41:50

But it is a little bit of a silly thing to cry about

Nonetheless the TA's reaction devalues the child's personal feelings, which is not conducive to children learning about the personal, social and emotional aspects of learning, whether they are NT or have SEN.

I think you did the right thing to raise it gently this time and wouldn't take it further for the the time being (although I might be inclined to ask to see the school's policies on SEN and PSED just for reference), but would definitely raise it with a teacher and/or SENCO if something similar happens again.

JustSpiro Thu 04-Oct-12 18:43:09

Just seen your update - sounds like maybe the TA was having a bit of an off-day herself then.

NoIdeaWhyTheNameChange Thu 04-Oct-12 18:43:26

Recognise and manage their emotions, yes. Crying/hitting/shouting because you disagree with someone who thinks your hair/skin is brown and you disagree is not the best way to manage your feelings.

I totally agree with Colditz.

seeker Thu 04-Oct-12 21:42:13

"The TA came out to me in the playground this morning, tearful and feeling bad that she had upset dd. She said she hadn't slept well and gave me a little sorry card! I expressed my concern that dd should be allowed to express herself and it is all now settled."

The TA gave you a sorry card because she told your dd she shouldn't cry about another child's drawing of her? Really? And you think your dd should be express herself by saying that "brown hair is like spiders"? Are all the brown haired children allowed to express themselves by bursting into tears if she shares this gem with them?

It's going to be an....interesting class this term!

alcofrolic Thu 04-Oct-12 22:03:28

The TA has acted inappropriately. A 'sorry' card? For that?! I hope she's got a job lot to last the year!

Happygirl77 Thu 04-Oct-12 23:24:05

Re: brown hair is like spiders hmm that is something dd said to me (I have brown hair) and when I expressed surprise (pointing out how many friends have brown hair, etc) she said it's ok on other people but she doesn't like the thought of it on her. She is v sensitive and wouldn't say anything cruel or unkind to other children! soupdragon we have talked about hair changing colour and Rapunzel in Tangled going from blonde to brown hair (!) and she has decided 'mousy brown' is an acceptable term even though her hair isn't that colour

justspiro that's exactly it and you put it far better than I could, the TA's reaction squashed dd's personal feelings instead of asking her to express herself in a more appropriate way

madwoman I agree with the missed opportunity to discuss perceptions of hair colour (dark blonde vs light brown for example).

The TA is v kind and was obviously concerned that being brusque in this circumstance had caused so much upset. It was a small plain card with 'sorry' written inside - no great admission of guilt and not a big deal but thoughtful.

And FWIW, dd1 was told (after I discovered she'd cried the previous day at not being chosen to dance in assembly) that she can't be in everything and it's not all about her, etc - she's not totally pampered or spoilt (far from it!)

Startailoforangeandgold Thu 04-Oct-12 23:38:54

Not a silly thing to cry about. Little girls define themselves in very simple terms. X and Y are blond, z has curls, etc.

As far as the OPs DD was concerned her friend hadn't drawn "her"

SoupDragon Fri 05-Oct-12 07:04:25

So, you have brown hair yet your DD thinks she has to look like her father in order to be part of the family...? Shouldn't you concentrate on her looking like you and how wonderful that is rather than bringing Rapunzel into it? confused

headinhands Fri 05-Oct-12 08:21:45

I agree that's it's a good opportunity for the teacher to open up a discussion about ways we belong and how appearance is quite a minor element of group identity. Not good to reinforce the notion that 'people who look the same, are the same.'

Fairenuff Fri 05-Oct-12 08:29:11

Yes, it would have been a good opportunity to celebrate diversity.

kilmuir Fri 05-Oct-12 08:32:47

A Sorry card? Surely not.

seeker Fri 05-Oct-12 09:29:29

"Not a silly thing to cry about. Little girls define themselves in very simple terms. X and Y are blond, z has curls, etc."

They do- and they should be encouraged not to. They should definitely notnbe encouraged to think that one hair colour is somehow better than another.

Pinot Fri 05-Oct-12 09:34:06

I am <ahem> amazed that a TA would offer a card with sorry written in it. It's far outside the remit of normal school policy. Deeply inappropriate too.

BieneMaja Fri 05-Oct-12 09:49:34

The TA probably wouldn't have understood why your DD was crying (i.e the loss of identity with her dad [hmmm]), and possibly thought she was just being a bit vain. I can understand it to an extent, as my DD has always had blond hair which is now getting darker and she is completely in denial about it!

My DD is also very emotional and I do tell her not to be silly and not to cry about everything now that she is 6. I don't really see any harm in it.

Obviously the SEN could be relevant here though and presumably the TA knows about them.

I would just move on from it TBH...

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