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to ask reception teacher to filter books about dads when my daughter can't see hers

(34 Posts)
adjaegham Thu 15-Oct-09 14:29:03

My daughter is subject to a contact order and until it's resolved she doesn't have contact with her dad (he drinks and was violent in front of her). The last two books have been about 'dad's birthday' and '6 in a bed' where mum and dad are happily in bed when the other kids jump in.

I asked for books to be filtered because they are not relevant to her family life at present until the case is over.

The teacher said if that was the case my daughter couldn't take part and be 'excluded' from group reading and i must understand she has to read them as part of the curriculeum. I did point out that she needs to be sensitive towards her needs just for a month or so & the teacher is aware of the fact I am a single parent and court case etc.

The teacher annoyed me because having spoke up she was unsympathetic. As a governor at another school early years is about understanding kids families & not creating stereotypes.....angry

adjaegham Thu 15-Oct-09 14:30:13

oh, should point out these were 'homework books' to be read at home and provided to her individually - not group books read in class.

FABIsInTraining Thu 15-Oct-09 14:30:43

I think there should be some give and take on both sides. It might be the case that certain books have to be looked at in group reading situations but there is no reason they can't screen the books she brings home.

Morloth Thu 15-Oct-09 14:31:42

You don't think it would be good for her to learn that the way her dad has behaved is not normal nor acceptable?

What about kid's whose mums have done what your ex did? Mums feature heavily in books for that age group.

ilove Thu 15-Oct-09 14:32:34

yes YABU. There are all kinds of families that make the world go around

diddl Thu 15-Oct-09 14:33:25

You´re probably not the only one with a child whose current family life doesn´t fit the curriculum.

It´s not a personal attack on you & your daughter.

Try not too see it so personally and make sure your daughter doesn´t.

policywonk Thu 15-Oct-09 14:34:54

I think YABU, although I can understand why you're sensitive on this issue. Your daughter is living in a world in which most children have some sort of contact with their dads. You won't be able to stop her peers mentioning their dads in front of her; you won't be able to shield her from dads on television or in advertising. I sympathise with your instinct to protect her, but actually IMO it would be better to allow her full access to these books, and use them as an opportunity to talk to her about what's going on with her dad (if she wants to).

The teacher should have been more sympathetic though.

Kewcumber Thu 15-Oct-09 14:35:21

my DS doesn;t have a father at all and I don;t filter books in our home. You can't "protect" from everyhting and IMHO reading a book that has a Dad in it is the least of her problems. If it was a book about divorce or fathers being violent I would say that you have a case. Books just referring to fathers must surely be managable. Are you going to ban her friends from mentioning their Dads in front of her?

SCARYspicemonster Thu 15-Oct-09 14:35:38

My DS doesn't have a dad. I am not going to pretend dads don't exist - that would be stupid. In fact, I'd like him to know that the world is full of wonderful men who are great fathers. He has books which have fathers and mothers, books which only seem to have mothers and books which feature only inanimate objects.


Fennel Thu 15-Oct-09 14:36:51

Would it be possible to just send those books back to school unread, with a note that just at the moment you're avoiding reading too many books about fathers but that you read XYZ at home instead?

And you could build up a home library of books with alternative family types in them.

fircone Thu 15-Oct-09 14:37:32


When I was suffering from secondary infertility I used to weep at stories featuring siblings. I think the school would think I'd gone bonkers if I'd asked them to filter out any book where brothers or sisters were mentioned in case it upset ds.

We all have our sensitive spots, as do our dcs, but we can't expect the world to pussyfoot around them.

WhereYouLeftIt Thu 15-Oct-09 14:37:44

Sorry, but you are BU. It's in your daughter's interests to know that there are families out there that are happy and that not all daddies are violent. Then she can look forward to the time when she will have that, either as the daughter or as the mother.

pigletmania Thu 15-Oct-09 14:38:00

YABA bit U, you cannot sheild her from this forever she is going to be aware that other children have their dads in their lives you just cannot hide it she will learn to cope. I lost my dad when i was a child some 20 years ago and just had to get on with school, it was hard seeing my friends with their dads and reading books contained happy mums and dads but kids tend to cope well to these kinds of things

Pheebe Thu 15-Oct-09 14:38:14

I am really sorry for your situation and what your daughter is going through but I think YABU to ask for the books to be filtered for the whole class.

While books with dads in may not be 'relevant' to your daughters family life (as you put it) at present, I can't agree that that is sufficient justification to change the school ciriculum and learning resources. Any given stereotype is unlikely to be relevant to every child in any class in any school in the country. That doesn't mean children shouldn't be able to see and read about families different to their own.

I would also argue that it is probably VERY important that your daughter sees positive examples of father figures at this point in her life so that she grows up knowing that her fathers behaviour is not acceptable and doesn't end up marrying someone just like him and repeating the cycle.

Again, so sorry for what you're going through but agree with the teacher, she has the whole class to consider.

inthesticks Thu 15-Oct-09 14:38:32

YABU. While I understand the need for the teacher to be sensitive in class discussions I don't believe that censoring ordinary reading books is necessary.
I always used to feel sad that every child came home with a mothers day card but never a fathers day card.

Hulababy Thu 15-Oct-09 14:40:04

I am not sure on this one. Not sure if it is ideal to exclude one set of books showing fathers - this one mean a lot of books would be exempt from her, as many children's books do include family realtionships.

Who selects the individual books?
Does your child have to have a certain book that is given to he, or does she get a say? Do you not get to help your DD select the books?

Is there a specific reason why you feel your DD needs protecting in this way? Is she particularly anxious about these things temporarily? Are the books upsetting her?

pigletmania Thu 15-Oct-09 14:41:07

Reading books with happy mums and dads might not be a bad thing, considering her own dad is violent it might shape how she thinks when she is older that she would not like that for herself, there are happy families about not all are violent and unhappy.

Pheebe Thu 15-Oct-09 14:41:11

Didn't see your second post til after I'd posted so I didn't realise you were referring to homework books. Even so, these are often used for group discussions and in assisted reading sessions so it would still be difficult for her teacher to filter her books.

sarah293 Thu 15-Oct-09 14:41:46

Message withdrawn

overmydeadbody Thu 15-Oct-09 14:41:55

I think YABU.

Should I ask DS's teacher to filter out books that feature siblings bcause he is an olny child? I think it is better for childrne to be exposed to a wide variety of family settups through books etc.

Lots of books are not relevant to childrnn's families or their everyday lives, but books are a healthy way of exploring these things.

I am a single mum, DS has never even met his dad, and I wouldn't ask the teacher to filter out books about dads.

freakname Thu 15-Oct-09 14:42:45

Having spoken to her, the teacher could have found different material that complied with the curriculum.


In my experience when things are happening in our lives I always try to prepare the DCs to be able to deal with external things rather than trying to change external things to fit them iyswim?

In the long run it is better for them to have coping strategies than wasting energy on things that may be well out of my control.

overmydeadbody Thu 15-Oct-09 14:43:35

And, with a dad like hers, I think it could only be a good thing for her to be exposed to normal loving non-violent dads via stories and books, so she doesn't grow up thinking her father's behaviour is the norm.

adjaegham Thu 15-Oct-09 14:46:06

Thank you - I admit being unreasonable now. Maybe my rant was more about the fact it's a small village school and there are 8 kids in her year and the teachers attitude wasn't helpful. There i go ranting.

You're right - she must see positive role models.


Earlybird Thu 15-Oct-09 14:46:14

Think the teacher should definitely filter books if they contain stories about Dads who drink or are violent. If they are stories about 'regular' Dads, then your dd should not be shielded, IMO.

My own dd has no father, and I used to inwardly cringe and feel sad at stories about happy families because it highlighted the 'lack' in our own family. But, I realised the anxiety was mine and not dd's. She is perfectly comfortable with our family situation (though she does sometimes fantasise about having a father). I aim to reinforce to her that our family is 'OK' and simply one of many different kinds of families. I find it is much better to be straightforward with dd (in an age-appropriate way) than to attempt to shield her.

I know your situation is different because there is a father and he has let you both down badly. Perhaps the fathers mentioned in the stories can show your dd how a father contributes to a family in a positive way, and she will begin to understand why her Dad is not around (much). I agree though that it is an incredibly hard lesson for anyone to learn - much less a young child.

It must be very difficult for you (and her) to deal with this awful situation, and you both have my sympathies.

gorionine Thu 15-Oct-09 14:47:15

I sort of understand where you re comming from but as someome said earlier, a lot of reading books do have a family with mum,dad,a few children and a dog so might be a bit difficult.

I am a bit curious but what are the things you do not want her to read about? Are you worried that she might be sad at not having the same "dream family"? I know very little if any families that always fit the school books hapiness criteria BTW.

In our school I know of several "brocken families" (sorry there has to be a proper term but I just do not know it)where the parents do not live together or who do live together but are at each other's throat all the time. There is also a couple of children who have recently lost a parent through illness. What I am trying to get at is even if there was no books talking about families, children do talk about their own experiences and do know that their life is somehow different to X,Y,Z in their class if you see What I mean? Reading those books with her at home might as well be the starting point of some discussions between the two of you?

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