Obstacles Facing Moms with Communicating and Interacting with Boys Schools

I could see it happening, I could feel it in my gut. My baby was growing up and there was nothing I could do to stop it.

When they’re born, they’re attached at the breast. Then they move a few inches down and become attached to your hip. A few months later and they’re grabbing onto your legs for dear life as you encourage them (with that nasty choking feeling in the back of your throat) to have fun at nursery. A few years later and he pulls away from your hugs saying: “mom, enough!” and you’re saying to yourself “it’s okay for him to take the school bus, he’s old enough, he knows what to do, I’ve taught him what he needs to know”…

In Saudi Arabia, with most schools (public and private) still segregated by gender from the fourth grade, it’s a truly trying time for a mom when boys reach age 8-9 and move to enter the no-women’s land of the boys section. At my son’s end of year school play in Grade 3, I was shocked with the sudden realization and sense of mounting panic that this was the last time I could attend one of his school functions or speak to his teachers, or spend time in his classroom seeing what he was working on…

And I slowly found out that I wasn’t the only one feeling apprehensive at the impending change; there were the other mom’s, his classmates’, most especially those of us with these 3rd grade boys being our first foray into dealing with this upsetting stage in their growth and development. None of us had an older boy and could count on that experience. We didn’t know what to expect, and had no way of finding out. There was no open day for mom’s to visit the boys section, or a meet the teacher, or even a map of the premises or photos…

You could call the school if you wanted to, and ask to speak to someone about your child, but more often than not you would be fobbed off because as the common understanding was that the male teachers just didn’t care as much as the females in the other section; they were tougher, and with much less empathy and patience. You were therefore wholly dependent on having hands on father figure (dad) who would agree or see the importance of taking time off work to go find out what was happening with your kid, and if you had that you’d best consider yourself lucky. Otherwise your only option is to send them off with a prayer and hope for the best, and become dependent on what your child wishes to communicate when he comes home.

Keep your eyes wide open and your ears perked…that’s your best defense against no opportunity for offense.

June 1 2013

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Common Sense Parenting for Healthy Happy Families in Saudi Arabia

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Common Sense Parenting for Healthy Happy Families in Saudi Arabia

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