Why I ripped up my child's report card...and you should too!

Thursday, May 5, 2016

There it was poking out of her yellow take home folder.  

Term 3 Grade Report.  

As most parents do, I've always dissected every single one, for all 3 of my girls.  But for some reason I just couldn't stomach this one.  So I left it in her folder, probably for a few weeks even.  Finally, I allowed myself to pull it out and as I scanned over the page, my eyes noted mostly 0's, maybe a few 1's here or there (0-4 grading scale).  Almost an entire year of progress, or non as the case before me appeared.

And so I did what any rational 30+ something parent should do.

I ripped it to pieces.  To shreds actually.  I had a good therapeutic ripping of the pages and made a vow (at least for that very moment) not to read another report card for as long as we both shall live.

It would appear I'm finally reaching that season where I'm realizing that reading report cards, analyzing data, researching any and all possible therapies and treatments, reading over the 20 page developmental assessment by her new nueropsych (which BTW made me want to throw up and should also be ripped to shreds...ha!) is not going to change anything.  Failures and setbacks can be very discouraging. Staying the same can be very discouraging.  Reading these reports pains the Mama's heart.  I know all too well.

Let me back up and say, all of those things are important in advocating for your child.  Please know that I'm not recommending throwing in the towel or letting the cards fall where they will.  It has taken literal blood, sweat, and tears to get where we are today.  And I would do it all again in a heartbeat and will continue to do so.  Knowing all of the pieces of our child's development and needs is the fuel to help us fulfill their potential.  Focusing on the negatives (which I'm preaching to my own choir here) does absolutely nothing.  


I've spent the better part of the last 5 years pouring over her charts, analyzing her diagnoses, I've gone to the end of the internet and back again researching medical studies and treatments, and literally speaking with doctors and experts all.over.the.world.  I am that parent who writes the letters, makes the phone calls, requests the records, researches the issue, analyzes the data, knows the law, and makes it her mission to know more about my child’s disability and illness than anyone else on the planet.  But none of that changes where she came from or where she is today.   

I could sit and sweat the small things or I could focus on marching forward by tearing up her report card (the only logical choice).  Tearing up that report card does not deny the existence of diagnoses, delays or disabilities. 

In fact, I think it does the exact opposite.  It makes me more of her Mom.  

I've spoke to so many special needs moms who feel we sometimes look at our very own kids as patients instead of our children.  We get so caught up in their performance.  In their development.  In their diagnoses/diseases/illnesses.   In what a piece of paper says about them instead of just being Mom or Dad.

 I hear your discouraged heart.  I have my very own.  But God didn’t give me children because He thought I wouldn't get discouraged or I would be the perfect Mom.  He didn't give us Alli because he thought we would best advocate for her needs.  He gave us children to love and nurture.  

We advocate out of that love and nurturing. 

Growth takes time.  A long time for some.  And it looks so very different on each of us.  It's hard to see that growth when you are in the trenches.  It's hard to see that growth when so many others seem to pass your child by.  But growth is there.  It's happening.  And as long as you are aware of where your child is, I don't believe for 2 seconds that ripping up their  report card will hurt them, make us negligent as parents, or force us to be unable to advocate their needs.  

It might just make us better.


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