Another SES issue.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Another SES issue.
4
Tue, 05-13-2003 - 7:04pm
After reading through the debate about the SES and whether it came into play with the powderpuff football game that turned into hazing, my son said something to me the other day, completely out of the blue, that perhaps says it all, or not...

he asked, "mom, why was my first school all by itself?". i wasnt sure where he was going with this. i thought maybe he meant physically, as it is tucked back in a neighborhood. he said, "you know, when i went there, i never heard the kinds of things i heard at "elementary school #2". what he meant was, he never heard the filth, he heard in the second school. i probably need to put on my flameproof panties, but my answer to him was, "oh, those were all doctors and lawyers kids at school #1". there were innercity kids bussed in, but the percentage was not as high as in school #2 which was right downtown.

now let me explain my answer before the onslaught. school #1 was in a very affluent neighborhood, where i worked in the cafeteria, while my children were still too young to stay home alone, allowing me to be home when they were. when i finally went to work full time, because school #1 was not in our district, or should i say we werent living in its district, i chose to put my son in the "open school" mainly because it fed into a middle school with a wonderful reputation. the children at school #1 were very sheltered, and the children at school #2 were more street smart than i will ever be, and had seen more ugly than i probably will ever see as well, therefore, they were more "in your face". because ds2 was more sheltered, it was not easy for him to adjust.

i dont have much guilt over how i chose to raise and guide my children, but this is probably the one issue i have big time guilt over. i could have put him in my own neighborhood school, which was more sheltered, but it fed into a terrible middle school, and my choice really was, pay now, or pay later, and i chose to pay now. he hated school #2, and still talks about it.

what is your take on this? how would you answer the question keeping in mind you would be caught by surprise, as i truly didnt realize it was as tramatic as he is letting me know now.

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-08-2003
Wed, 05-14-2003 - 12:54pm
I don't there is a mom out there (especially WOHM) without the mommy-guilt but it sounds like you did what you thought was best for your ds2-- he may have bad memories of his elementary school #2 -- but if he's getting a good education and a good experience at the middle school (and did it feed into a better high school too?) then ultimately, he will realize what was involved in your choice to send him to school#2.

If I were asked this question, I don't think I'd tell him that the kids in school #1 are "doctors' and lawyers' kids." It can give a kid the impression that those professions=safe environment (or even "better people") and I wouldn't want him to think that. I may talk to him about how one's environment and family affects how s/he acts, that the kids in school #2 may have grown up in more difficult situations with probably more violence, (but that it doesn't justify their actions).

How did your ds2 respond to your answer? Is he resentful about his experience?
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Wed, 05-14-2003 - 4:35pm
So at - 10 yrs? - you moved the boy to a new school, with a very different culture, and ceased to be his Mommy who arranged her daily work schedule to accomodate his?

Well, I suppose there were alot of changes going on for him.

I'd just tell him that his first school was special because it was his first school. And that whether he realized it or not, life was, at that time, just about to get alot more complicated for him than it had ever been before, simply because he was on the brink of puberty. At which time, the whole entire social school landscape changes for every kid, regardless of what happens with the physical school landscape. He's probably, to no trivial extent, seeing the carefree days of childhood as something permitted by his old school, just because of the timing of things.

And his comment doesn't sound like he's REALLY comparing TWO schools, it sounds like he's comparing a few, I guess two grade schools, a middle school and a highschool. Life just wasn't going to stay easy like primariy school, is what he needs to know. Imagine. I assume he was on the outside looking in for awhile at the new school. Maybe always. Well, it could just as easily have happened to him in the old school at that age, I remember kids suddenly being ostracized at that age. It could be just him and how he is socially.



iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Wed, 05-14-2003 - 6:20pm
thank you!! it helps to hear from a neutral person. i dont think he is resentful of my decision, but i think he gets very angry with society as a whole, and wishes there wasnt so much ugly, but he is 15 and at that age where he is working on becoming an adult with an irrational brain going on. he was very thankful to be at the middle school he went to and actually the high school he is at is our "neighborhood" hs, as opposed to the magnet hs his middle school fed into. that school is pretty rough too, and the one hes at now, has a pretty good cross-section of society, which is where we are most comfortable as a family.

my biggest worry with the kids going to school has always been middle school, as the kids are um, not very level headed? to put it politely. that is one funky age!! LOL.

ds2 does march to the beat of a different drum, and does understand, if nothing else, how much we love him, so he knows we are trying to do whats best for him, although as a fifteen yo, sometimes, wait, all the time thinks he knows better.....LOL.

this too will pass. thanks for your insight.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Wed, 05-14-2003 - 6:26pm
you know what. i do see your point. although the schools were very different environmentally, so was his life. he was being initiated to the real world, and as you put it, he was very safe in the beginning. but.....it is kind of sad to watch your(generally speaking) children learn all the ugly at the age of 9, rather than a little older. my sister's kids are not half as street smart at their ages now as my kids were at that age, and i guess thats the difference between a small town and a big city. ugh!! i hate i had to raise my kids here.

thanks for the insight, too!!