07 October 2012

Stories kids tell...

Quite often we hear at school about something a child has told their parents their teacher has said or done that has caused a great deal of consternation in the home. My own daughter used to tell me stories about her teachers that would have made their hair curl, had I repeated them!

Most times parents come and ask us about the situation and we are able to put the story straight - many times the stories are quite funny; but occasionally a teacher will say to me in anguish 'how could they have thought I would have said/done/thought that?'

The thing is that kids sometimes (actually a lot of times) get things muddled. They are not liars and they are not lying - they are merely reporting something they have seen or heard from their perception. They don't have the depth of experience or the level of cognitive development that adults have to draw on to make conclusions about what they've seen or heard, and to give it perspective. And perspective is a wonderful thing to have when trying to make sense of something that has happened. From a small person's point of view things are louder, bigger and more exaggerated - and if your child has heard your own conversations about teachers, they may feel their story adds weight to any conclusions they think you have drawn.

So next time your child tells you a story about their teacher (or me!) and your first reaction is 'you've got to be joking - that couldn't have happened; remember - it probably didn't! At least not in the way your child saw it and reported it to you.

A good response to children's 'horror' stories from school is 'tell me more about that' - and then, just let it go or seek more information from your child's teacher.

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