For the better part of 20 years, I have been working with kids and therefore been working with parents. From camps to classrooms all over the map, I’ve had the opportunity to interact with all sorts of parents. I would never say that I’ve seen it all, but I have seen a lot. From the extraordinarily high maintenance to the extremely low maintenance and many, many shades in between, working with parents has taught me a lot about the kind of parent I want to be – especially when it comes to advocating for my child.
Many would argue that it is crucial to always speak-up, raise your concerns, make your requests, state your needs… A reader on my last blog post commented,
“When it comes to your kids and someone else being responsible for them, speak your mind…you only have one shot at raising your daughter, so call them up and politely express your concern. Who cares what they think of you anyway, it’s your daughter and you determine what is inappropriate.”
To a large extent I agree. But I do believe that a constant squeaky wheel will get ignored over time and poorly timed, ill-phrased “constructive criticism” can have an even worse effect. Having been on the receiving end of parent grievances, recommendations and requests, I can say with a good amount of assurance that always making your grievances, recommendations and requests known is a surefire way to have your grievances, recommendations or requests discredited. You’ve got to choose your battles and your words wisely.
So with this in mind I grappled with saying something to the camp director about some songs and dances that were taught to the kids that teetered on the edge of inappropriateness. And if I did say something, how would I say it to ensure it be taken seriously? After much back and forth, and some solid encouragement from you folks reading this blog, I decided to write the director last week. Here is the email I sent:
And…..I got nothing—no response. So now I face the dilemma again. Do I push it? Try a different angle? OR, feel satisfied that I spoke-up and maybe they will think about things differently as they move forward? I know that the most important thing I have done as a parent is to talk with my daughter about what to do with the messages she is getting from the world around her, so do I let it lie from here?