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What Happens at School Stays at School

In August both Princess and Sunshine were enrolled in school outside of our home.  Sunshine attends a special needs day program.  Princess is attending our local public elementary school.

To say this has been a huge transition for our family is quite an understatement.

There have been many strong emotions expressed over the past few months. 

The phrase, "What happens at school stays at school," has been a life saver.

What Happens at School Stays At School

What Happens at School Stays at School

The Decision to Send our Girls to School

There were definite reasons we didn't send our girls to school prior to this school year.

Reactive Attachment Disorder was number one on our list.  We wanted to work on attachment at home as long as we could.

We were concerned that school outside the home would bring more behaviors and trauma. 

But then we met those who would be working with our girls.

All of our fears were put to rest.

We have an amazing village for our girls.

I can't say enough about the girls' teachers and how wonderful they've been at communicating with us, no matter what situations arise.

The Transition to School

Communication is great, however it does not change behaviors that occur while at school. 

Nor does it change the strong emotions the girls have when they arrive home from school.

The transition can be extremely difficult for everyone, especially when Mom and Dad open up book bags and read daily reports.

Some days are good.  Other days not so much.

No matter which emotions the girls are feeling, their first hour home sets the tone for the rest of the night.

More importantly my husband's and my reaction to everything can salvage or completely ruin whatever shot we have left at a peaceful evening with our girls before bed.

Our Philosophy about School Behaviors

This is why we've adopted the philosophy, "What happens at school stays at school."

It all started when Sunshine came home upset almost every day due to the behaviors of other children in her classroom and how they directly affected her.

Then there were the days she really struggled and was so upset at how she had behaved and treated others.

I noticed very quickly that I had to teach her that it's okay to have a bad day at school and a good day at home.  The return home from school is a fresh new start.

It took a lot of work but after a couple of months she finally understood.  She could repeat the phrase I repeated every single day.

"What happens at school stays at school."

As we communicated with her teachers, they began to help us reinforce this philosophy.  They even went as far as thanking us repeatedly for feeling the way we did, explaining that many of Sunshine's classmates are punished at home for behaviors at school.

My response...

I want to enjoy the time I have with Sunshine. 

Teachers are already giving consequences at school.  There's no need to make my life more difficult at home by giving out more.

The Choice to Let Behaviors Go

Princess' experience at school has been a little bit different.

As notes from teachers and reports from bus drivers have come home, my husband and I have had a choice to make.

We can be frustrated and upset.

We can lecture.

We can give consequences.

We can make Princess' life miserable until she decides to follow directions.

Or we can:

1. Lay out the natural consequences that may occur if the behaviors continue.

2. Give her a choice as to how she wants to behave.

3. Trust the consequences her teachers are giving at school

4. Let it be so we can enjoy our night.

In other words,

"What happens at school stays at school."

This has been by far the best philosophy for our family as our girls attend school outside of our home.

It has eliminated so many battles.

Our relationship with our girls has become stronger.

They feel comfortable communicating anything and everything, knowing that home is a safe space to do so.

We are able to enjoy the little time we have with them at home each evening, no matter what has happened during the day.

Processing What Happens at School

We are all for leaving the cares and worries of the day at school, but we know there are some days the girls need to vent.

If the girls have a desire to work through strong emotions related to what has happened during their day at school, we always make sure they know we're available to do that.

Some days they come home pretty upset.

Sunshine loves to talk about others' behaviors and decisions made in her classroom she disagrees with. 

We are very quick to ask her if she's talked to her teachers about her feelings and then remind her that what happens at school stays at school

She needs to talk to her teachers about that stuff.  We weren't there.

Princess can become very upset about social mishaps she experiences which can throw off the rest of her day.

We're able to remind her that what happens at school stays at school and that she can relax at home with her family, with no need to worry about things like that.

School Grades

This philosophy carries over to grades too. 

Confession:  I could care less what grades my daughters bring home from school.  

If Princess decides she's not going to do her homework or even bring it home for that matter,  that's a choice she's making.

If Sunshine works as hard as she can and only manages a 75% on an assignment, oh well.

What happens at school stays at school.

Grades do not define my children at home.

Final Thoughts about School Behaviors

Looking back on my life, I never thought I'd even consider parenting this way.  Doing well in school was everything to me.  

So much has changed though.

Parenting children with Reactive Attachment Disorder and other special needs has changed me.

I always want my children to know that no matter what happens at school, good or bad, it doesn't define them.  

What happens at school stays at school.

There is so much more to life.

If you enjoy this post, you may also like the resources below.

FREE Toilet Training Visual Supports for Kids Breathing Exercises for Kids with FREE Printables 4 Reasons Children Struggle with Table Manners Tips for Helping Children Become Independent at Mealtime How to Help a Child with Constipation How to Help My Child Want to Try New Foods Four Prompts to Encourage Mindfulness in Children

What Happens at School Stays at School


  1. I love your comment about grades. My parents always told me they didn't care about the grade they want Ted me to just try and do my best.

  2. This is really lovely! I like what you've come up with. As usual, you and Jason are so inspired. :) Also, fun to catch up via your blog! We moved in August and I feel like I've been in catch up mode since then. Something just reminded me of you guys and I decided to check in. :)