Tuesday, 4 May 2010

Is It The Same Child?

Today Mr. and myself went to a parent teacher conference at smurfs nursery, which he attends for 5 afternoon sessions a week, each one 2.5 hours long.

The teacher who is apparently smurfs "core" worker (whatever that means) proceeded to tell Mr and I about a child, and after 10 minutes I honestly thought she had got us mixed up with some other parents, the child she was describing bore absolutely no resemblance to the happy, confident little boy that I know, she actually went as far as describe my child as "verging on timid".  It was very difficult to get a ward in edge ways with 'core worker' as she was talking twenty to the dozen about this alien child, when we did finally manage to contribute to the conversation by telling her that it was very strange for us to hear this as the child that we know, is full of fun, imagination and a very individual independent personality, who does have a gentle temperament.  'Core workers' explanation for this was not the fact that she has only been at the nursery in question for 3 months or the fact that my child is only 3 years old, her explanation is that smurf is an only child, and apparently according to her beliefs only children always have issues.

I could see the steam practically start pouring from Mr's ears by this time and thought it best to draw the conversation to an end after telling her that we had no concerns about smurf or his development and that maybe we could review it again in a couple of months.

I left the nursery feeling like we had well and truly been castigated for dooming smurf to a life as an only child and that it was impacting on his emotional development, that and the fact that 'core worker' kept telling us that as mother of 3 boys she was well aware of how they could behave.

My confidence in the nursery has been knocked a little, which is a real shame because it is attached to a lovely village school and the other 2 teachers are lovely, and it seems to be full of well behaved polite children who always look like that are having fun when we drop smurf off and pick him up.

Both myself and my husband have siblings, and indeed smurf has a stepbrother who admittedly is a lot older and has not lived with us since smurf was born, so it would be interesting to get some other opinions on being an only child


  1. utter cods wallop! Nothing to do with being an only child, I'm an only child and I was incredibly out going at primary school! That's like saying "all blondes are stupid" or "all men are ass holes", people are all different. There are any number of other factors that may be making him a little shy at school, maybe he just likes to watch rather than join in. It could even be that she was talking about the wrong child and was too ashamed to admit it!
    I'd have given her a piece of my mind! Try not to lose faith in the nursery though, that's only one teacher's view and if the others are nice and the school it feeds to it a good one I wouldn't worry too much.

  2. Can you speak to her manager? Ask for a second opinion. As Livi says she may have been describing another child. Good luck x

  3. I had a conversation like this once and it turned out the teacher HAD muddled my son with his best friend! She was very apologetic for her error (it was during the second week of term with new teacher btw).
    I think children can be very different out of the home environment especially when they are small. I noticed this when I helped in my son's reception class. I have 3 children and I do enjoy the realtionships between them. That said, I know plenty of only children and I wouldn't say one family set up is better or worse than the other, both have their advantages and disadvantages. I would talk to the nursery again or maybe see if you can stay and observe a session.

  4. Livi - I think now on reflection she is talking rubbish too, and since the school is so lovely and smurf loves it there I am not going to let one teachers opinion put me off.

    Sandy - I have asked for his next meeting to be with one of the other members of staff, even if just to get a different perspective on it.

    Juicytots - I am going to go in and watch them one day next week, just to satisfy myself. I know children behave differently in different environments so it will be nice to just check it out.

    Thanks for all the good advice.

  5. This woman sounds like a know all and an idiot.
    You cannot generalise about people, and certainly not on the basis of being an only child.
    If you are seeing cause for concern then that is one thing. But you aren't.
    It isn't as if he is a stroppy teenager hiding all sorts of problems from you. You can start worrying then!
    He is 3 for christ sake!


  6. my daughter is an only child, she's 11 now. She has a lot of friends who are also 'onlys' and they are all different. Some are on the stage, some are shy, some are clever, some are not, some are polite and nice to have around, some are not so much fun. The 'onlys' don't seem to be any worse or better behaved on average than any of her other friends and they are all very very different. My daughter of course is the most perfect of them all ;0) LOL!!! See this experience as the first of many disagreeable parents evenings! Trust me when they get to school they get worse!!! Stick