While attending kinder duty yesterday, it dawned on me that I possibly have the most hyperactive kid in the classroom – “mat time” is really just a pseudonym for “jumping around on my knees like a crazy person” and sharing toys is so last year.
As I watched the assistant teacher shame my son over breaking the wheel off a car in front of the entire group, I was torn between telling her to back off and wishing he was playing quietly in the corner with a train set.
I could see the wheels turning inside the teacher’s heads and it took every fiber in my being not to yell “he’s been assessed by a paediatrician and he’s a normal hyperactive boy!!” Me defensive? Never!
Knowledge is power. If you want to defend your child, appointments with paediatricians and tests are sometimes necessary. If there are issues, early intervention is equally as important. Unfortunately it doesn’t stop you from feeling like you’re betraying your child or squashing their spirit.
A child care professional once told me my son was not normal. Looking back, I perhaps could have asked “Is there some reason your occasional care centre isn’t accredited? And how come my kid calls this place scary?” But defensive mother’s of boys are a thing. They’ve even got their own acronym “DMOB”.
Finding a professional who has a good rapport with your child, whether it be a maternal health nurse, a GP or a pediatrician is sometimes key. I’m blessed to have a local maternal health nurse who calls my son “inquisitive and smart” instead of “hyperactive and naughty”.
She is of the same opinion that little boy’s behaviour is often demonised in our society. One in four children walk through that centre to take a screen test that acts in decreasing the number of unnecessary referrals. And as our primary schools become smaller and rules such as “no running at recess” become enforced, one has to wonder what sort of effect this is having on the busy kids.
It’s great to see private school’s in Sydney introduce extra recess and encourage risk-taking, but that’s a luxury few of us can afford and where once I was happy sending my child up the street to the local primary school I now have to think about how they treat the ants-in-my-pants kids. If my son settles down, great. If he doesn’t, he still has the right to a decent education.
I might be exhausted and frayed around the edges but one thing my son has gifted me with is more tolerance. The child melting down in a busy CBD mall might have sensory processing issues. The mum eating fast food with her children could be having a well deserved break after preparing 358 dinners in 4 days and maybe nuggets are the only thing that’s bringing a smile to her child’s face this week. I am indebted to my son for opening my heart wider than I thought possible. Not just to him, but to other children too.
Do you think society demonises boisterous behaviour? Are you a DMOB? Has anyone called your child abnormal?
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