The scene: At daycare, on the playground at pick-up time. Owen is swinging happily while his teacher pushes him. I approach, smiling and waving. Owen beams and reaches for me.
Teacher: Hi Kate. Owen had a great day today. I just wanted to let you know that we’re having a little issue with him.
Me: Oh, really? What kind of issue?
Teacher: Well, he’s such a friendly little guy. He tends to… ummm… love his friends a little too much at school sometimes.
Me: … Um, what?
Teacher: It’s shocking how strong he is, actually. He loves to hug his friends and often knocks them right over.
Me: Hahahaha! So his problem is hugging too much?
Teacher: Ummm, yes. We’re trying to guide him to love his friends only at certain times, or only when they want to be hugged.
Me: Uh huh. How can I help guide him at home, without other kids around? I don’t really want to teach him, “No hugging!”.
Owen is fussing in the swing so I take him out and put him on the ground. He immediately sidles up to a little friend and pats her [not so] gently on the head. Case in point.
Teacher: I totally agree. Well, we’ve been working on “gentle hands”, but as I’m sure you’ve seen, his gentle love pats are not quite gentle. And, again, he is really strong! When he nuzzles the other kids they often both end up on the ground. It’s ok with the bigger kids, but when he does it to the little kids they don’t really appreciate it.
Me: I see. We will work on “gentle hands” and saying “All done hugging” at home with the dog. (Giggling, highly entertained by this conversation) Thanks for letting me know.
So Owen has received his first bad report card. What a problem child. He HUGS too much! As someone who consistently received report cards that said things like, “Kate is an excellent student, but should spend less time chatting with her friends” and “Kate distracts the other students” and “Kate loves to be the center of attention”, I totally get it. Personalities start young, eh?
I don’t want to squelch Mr. Social’s loving little spirit, but maybe we need to work on curbing the emphatic hugging a little. Yet another thing I never thought would be a problem!
Have your kids been reprimanded at school? What for? How did you react, as the parent?