Thursday, June 28, 2012

To Say Something or Not

What is the proper way to address the following situation in which I find myself?

Last October, a friend with a 3-year-old son took my (solicited) advice to visit the Montessori my children attend and sit in on a class (sans her son). I should mention that in general this friend likes to spend A LOT of time in her child's classrooms and to actively participate in any activity he is in, and she also was secretly hoping the Montessori would offer her a teaching position.

After her visit, she vented to me that she did not feel the Montessori teachers paid her enough personal attention while class was in session, but the lead teacher spent an hour with her afterwards, alone, talking and answering her many questions. She is very extroverted and really likes to be the center of attention. Friend also expressed to me that she was shocked that my 4-year-old son did not stop what he was doing and run over to give her a hug when she got to class. Nevermind that in the first place, it is not in his personality to do so. At. All. And he doesn't know her very well. I just thought to myself whatever, why this person ever thought a drop off Montessori where it's not about parental involvement would be a fit for HER personality is beyond me. A grown adult feels sad because someone else's 4-year-old child did not validate her needs? I thought it was all quite silly. Moving on....

To yesterday. There are summer classes at Montessori and she actually enrolled her child in one (which I couldn't believe given how much she disliked her visit). My kids are not in this particular class. On the second day of class (BTW she personally sat through all of it and not shockingly her 3-year-old was not super well behaved), she stayed after and communicated all of the above about her feelings last October to the lead teacher, and he was understandably... uh, surprised. And annoyed.

So at pick up from the later class yesterday, the teacher pulls me aside to process the stuff she has dropped on him. She does not understand the Montessori method but seems to think she does because she attended one as a child (and we all know the "Montessori" label does not always mean exactly what we think it means). I'm on his side, and we basically agreed that every parent has their own journey and that while this Montessori can't be all things to all people, those of us who leave our kids there are extremely happy with it. Someone who wants to be that close to their child at all times probably needs to explore another educational model. I mean, duh right.

I'm torn between saying something to this friend or just letting it go (again).

My main feeling is I don't want to have myself or my child involved in someone else's problem. Would a conversation alleviate my feeling or annoy me further? But OTOH, perhaps some boundary work is in order. "I like you, but don't bring me and mine into what are clearly your issues!" This friend and I have a decent enough relationship that I think I could say just about anything without consequence.

What would you do?


Lisa @ Trapped In North Jersey said...

Leave it alone. You can't change her basic personality. And getting wrapped up in other people's problems never ends well.

Nataliya said...

if it comes up again, you can casually say: if it doesn't work for you, you should find a place that does. period. with a smile. be supportive of her needs. and wash your hands of the issue after that.

you can also add: it works for us, please lets not discuss this any more.

done and done.

we have dealt with enough negative comments about our daycare of choice (which we love). I find very simple retorical phasing to work best in these situations.

Claudia said...

First I thought "yea! What Lisa said!" Then I read Nataliya's post, and thought, "yea! That's it!" In other words, if you gotta say something, say something bland. If you can bite your tongue, do that. But you have no dog in this fight. Leave it as well as you can.

Anonymous said...

I'd go with leave it alone or "maybe this school isn't a good match" (different kids have different needs etc.) if she brings it up. So I guess that makes me agree with Claudia!

Lisa @ Trapped In North Jersey said...

yes to what everyone else said :-)

Anandi Raman Creath said...

Oh gosh, I feel you on not wanting someone else's drama in your life.

Don't bring it up (obvs) but if she does, just tell her "it works for us" and be very brief. If she's fairly normal, she should get the hint and not continue. If she doesn't take the hint, just tell her you don't want to discuss it. And then change the subject, or tell her you have to go ;)

I hate conflict but I hate other people using my emotional bandwidth more (see previous veiled post on receiving an email from an ex and not wanting his emotional spewage in my space).

Are you also concerned/not wanting to deal with your kid's teacher talking about it with you? I got the sense you were cool with that, but wasn't sure. You might gently point out to him if he brings it up again that you don't talk about that sort of thing with your friend, or something, so he doesn't try to get you to "do something" about it?

Vacationland Mom said...

If the lead teacher was annoyed he should say something to her. It's totally up to the teacher to manage that relationship. Not trying to sound snippy, just succint :)

I say a conversation might annoy you further- this person sounds like someone who wouldn't let it go even if you were brief, etc. She might take it as an opportunity to vent further without really listening to what you were trying to say.

hush said...

When my peeps all chime in unanimously, I'd best listen! Thank you, all!!

I ran into said friend this morning, and I said nothing. Which felt good.

Re: the teacher, I totally did not mind that he brought it up. Mainly he was making sure I did not share her concerns about the school - which I appreciated.