She Says… Reprimanded

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?

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5 responses to “She Says… Reprimanded

  1. Faith hugs the dog too hard, but that’s just funny.

    She also throws mulch on other kids at the park and I’ve been unable to break her of that. Eventually I’ll be able to take her cell phone away as punishment, so I have confidence we’ll break this habit by high school.

  2. I don’t know how you kept a straight face! I know that it’s really not funny, especially if someone ends up getting hurt, but who gets in trouble for hugging too much?!

  3. Kate- Owen is too funny! I love your posts and this one made my day. I too got in trouble for being too chatty, but it defines me now. And you should never underestimate the power of a good, strong hug 🙂 Practicing with the dog sounds like a great idea though, good luck!

  4. Oh, boy. That’s something we experienced with Ethan when he was around Owen’s age. He LOVED to hug and be close! We often used the “You know, so-and-so doesn’t want a hug right now, maybe later. But I would LOVE a hug.” Like you, I didn’t want to teach him “no hugging,” but I really wanted him to try to understand what someone ELSE might want, not just what he wanted in the moment. It was tricky, especially because you don’t want to reprimand him for being so sweet and loving! 🙂 But it’s actually a really good “skill” (if you want to call it that), especially if you have a second child. Ethan LOVES his baby brother and wants to hug/touch/squeeze him all the time. But when I say “Oh, Miles doesn’t want a hug right now,” Ethan knows to (reluctantly) pull himself away – and we gave him his own baby doll, so he can hug to his heart’s content! 🙂 Owen sounds like a love and that’s a GOOD thing!

  5. Totally normal stuff! My little girl (1 yr) “pats” her friends and well anyone who she can reach! It seems like more of a slap but she is just so happy to see new people! She often hugs until she knocks them over too. I just pull her away and distract her in both cases. They are just sweet babies!

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