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My second-grade son earns points for reading extra books. He cashed in his points for a lunch with his teacher. Yesterday, he told me his teacher asked him a lot of questions about whether my husband had found a job. I find this odd. Should I be concerned?
On the surface, the question is indeed odd. It’s possible the teacher is attempting to pry into your personal lives. But before you run to the principal, consider some context.
Many second-graders love to talk. And because of their age, they don’t often use discretion. Did your son tell his teacher about your husband’s job search? If he didn’t, how would she know?
Teachers of young children often let the children’s interest drive conversations. If the teacher knows your son is worried about his father’s job hunt, she might bring the topic up to get him talking. It’s also possible that your son brought the issue up at lunch, and the teacher was simply responding to his conversational sallies.
Remember that you’re hearing this story from a second-grader. At that age, many children have trouble with magnitude. A lot of cookies could be 500, or it could be one more than he is hungry enough to eat. So you can’t really be sure what he meant by a lot of questions.
Unless this teacher has exhibited improper curiosity before, or she does it again, this incident is probably nothing to worry about.
How can I politely tell my aunt not to give my kids a lot of sweets? Auntie likes to see the kids one day a week, but she’s in some kind of competition with my mother to make the kids like her more, so she gives them way too much. During her last visit, my daughter ate four cupcakes, two ice cream cones and a load of candies, all in the space of six hours. My son doesn’t like sweets and doesn’t take any. What can I say to get her to stop without causing an argument? She’s touchy and gets offended very easily.
Let’s recap: Your aunt, in an effort to one-up Grandma, is stuffing your daughter with desserts despite a national epidemic of childhood obesity. And she’s easily offended. Given those two facts, the answer is clear – you probably won’t be able to get her to stop without causing an argument.
Of course, you should try to soften the blow. Let her know that you are worried about the excessive sweets and ask her to limit your daughter to, say, one dessert a day. Cite the health problems and the bad precedent it sets for your daughter’s meals at home. It’s tempting to appeal to your aunt based on the fact that since your son doesn’t like sweets, your daughter’s gorging is unfair to him. But don’t take that route, because Auntie may respond by finding something your son likes and giving him way too much of it.
If Auntie objects, tell her it’s not a request and insist that she stop feeding your daughter so many sweets. The dietary excess is bad for your daughter’s metabolism, teeth, and waistline, not to mention your own emotional health.
Realize that to make this work, you may have to stick around for the visit or shorten the stay to reduce your daughter’s temptation. This will also help you learn whether your daughter is exaggerating about the amount of sweets she is eating.
Of course, while your question focuses on your aunt, don’t ignore Grandma’s role in this mess. If Auntie is just jealous, then Grandma probably doesn’t have a role. But consider whether the children’s grandmother spoils them too much. Does she give them too many sweets or other indulgences? If the answer is yes, then make sure you talk to her about the issue as well. If you tell Auntie to stop but let Grandma continue to allow her little ones to overindulge, you have in effect picked a side in the older generation’s dispute.
It appears your children have become caught up in someone else’s game. If you can get the players to change the rules, fine. If you can’t, pull them out of the game by drastically limiting their visits until you are confident that your daughter won’t come home from Auntie’s house with a sugar buzz.
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