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Is my child really that bad?


“What you do not want done to yourself, do not do to others.” -Confucius

Recently, I received a letter from one of my daughter’s Brownie Troop leaders.  It wasn’t a very positive letter.  I fully understand that I am not perfect nor is my daughter perfect.  In fact, everyone has their own personal faults and issues that they need to work through.  Life is a series of challenges and lessons.  How you choose to deal with everyday issues and life in general is entirely up to you.  You will make mistakes in judging others, your thought process will be flawed, and how you choose to solve problems might be ultimately incorrect.  You will embark on worthless causes and choose the wrong battles to fight.  The worst part is that you will be totally unprepared and unaware that you are wrong.

 That is until you meet me.

 You will draw your line in the sand and begin your battle.  Your will justify your attacks and actions with the excuse that you are a teacher.  You will make your lists, point out all the wrong doings, and in your twisted logic, attempt to correct them to your way of thinking.

 If you plan on bringing a war to me, just be prepared to be in for the long haul.  I will be into it until the bitter end.  As Rambo says “I’ll give you a war you’ll never forget”.  I will not back down and I’ll defend my position no matter what.  I will make you my hobby and waste as much time as I like and enjoy defeating you.  Most likely, you are wrong.  I will be your worst nightmare and you will be defeated.

 On that pleasant note, as I told you before I received a letter that stated that my daughter is disrespectful and disruptive.  She challenges her leaders and questions authority.  She is also eight years old. 

As I previously stated, my daughter isn’t perfect, however she isn’t a total crazed, disruptive, and disrespectful girl either.  If she thinks something is unfair, she’ll call you out on it.  You had better be prepared to defend and prove that you are right and justified in your actions.  She isn’t a doormat.

 Am I embarrassed by her?  No.  I’m proud of her assertive nature. 

Is she disrespectful and unhelpful?  Not according to her teachers, friends, friends’ parents, ballet instructors, coaches, and previous Girl Scout leader.  Her teachers often comment on how nice and helpful she is to other students.  In fact, she recently received a Sunshine Award from her school.

 What is different now?  We have a new Girl Scout Co-Leader and it is pretty oblivious she doesn’t like my daughter or our family.  She sent a letter that is more of a log of every petty nit picky item or slight that she perceives our daughter has done.  This is out of character for our daughter.  While some of it could be correct, it is also taken out of context and made a bigger deal out of than necessary.  Here is the letter:

 

Date:  January 19, 2011 

To:  Angie and/or Kevin Hellriegel

 Concerning Kxxxxx Hellrigel

Subject:  We have had some issues that T(other leader) and I thought you as her parent should know about.

 1)  Issue at 1/18th meeting –Kxxxxxx stated that she did not want to do the try it activity, which was the Stitch It Together Try It—I told her we will never make her do something she does not want to but then she does not earn the try it.  Also there is nothing else planned during this time so if she does not want to participate she should not attend.  We are not babysitters.  It takes the two of us to help with the crafts and try its.  We had one additional leader that has moved and no one has offered to take her place.  I had specifically asked one parent to help at this meeting because I felt with needles that 4 adults would be best.  K—-(another mother) was there helping with Tammy and I, but the other parent did not attend.  So if Kxxxxx doesn’t want to participate, we will call you to pick her up.  We will need a phone number where you can be reached during that time.  We do not want other girls affected by her non interest in participating.

 2)  Issue at 1/18th meeting- Indicated that she did not like the Christmas party but she did not even go.  She asked if someone else could host the Christmas party.  I responded yes, but that no one else volunteered .  (seems she has an issue with Nxxxx (another girl)?)

 

3)  Issues at meeting 1/4th (where we discussed cookies)-Kxxxxxx did not want to donate any funds raised to charity.  She was one of three girls who did not want to give any funds back to the community.  As Girl Scouts we should do good in our community just like Boy Scouts.

4)  Did not listen to me -3 times –She wanted to wipe table with really wet sponge in middle of T(other leader)’s talk about cookies. Told her no, to please sit back down and listen.  She did it a bit later anyway, leaving the table really wet and it then had to be dried.

                                       –told her to wait in line for snack for rest of girls to line up for snack buffet style, she started serving herself, had to say wait again.

                                    —told her no she could not use water because I heard her mention water balloons, a little later she had water in the balloon anyway. 

 5)  Issue at 1/4th meeting-Kxxxxx asked if she could have an extra balloon.  When I said no, she loudly told me it was unfair because H and N got a second one.  I had three reasons, not that a teacher should have to explain reasons –was out of tooters because some did not work and girls got a second one, so H did not get one of those and she very nicely asked if she could have an extra balloon instead, N’s first balloon did not work right, I did not have enough balloons to give everyone a second one  and balloon time was almost over. 

 Does not set good example to rest of girls and I will not have my daughter hearing me challenged like that. 

6)  At a previous troop meeting, Kxxxxx pointed out how unfair it was that G (Troop leader’s daughter) got a different napkin than the rest of the girls.  It made G feel uncomfortable but she was doing what I had asked her to do.  I did not have enough for all so asked her to take the different napkin. I explained that to Kxxxxxxxx.  But no “thank you” that at least everyone had a napkin.  Something they would use and throw away afterwards.  Most parents forget to bring napkins if their snack is messy.

 M and Kxxxxxx often come eating treats.  They do not bring for rest of group. This last meeting they had lollipops.  M’s was gone pretty quickly but Kxxxxx had hers well into meeting time.  It has been pointed out that this is unfair.  T and I discussed this and agree.  Our girls are there with us from approximately 3:55pm-6pm and they are not getting treats that they do not share.  So please no treats unless they share with all.  We will be telling all parents this.  If someone comes with treats they do not have enough to share, they will be asked to put it in their bag, pocket or throw it away. 

On the positive side, once Kxxxxxx heard she would not get the try it if she did not do the work, she did participate and she seemed proud of what she did.  She wants to help clean up which is very appreciated at the right time not in middle of leader talking.  (At that time it is distracting.)

 When we send emails concerning Troop events, we would like to receive a response either way if the girl is coming or not.  That way we know the email was received and it allows us to plan the event in a timely way.   

Thank you for helping us offer a positive experience to our troop,

Xxxx Troop Leaders 

As you can imagine, I was pretty upset about this.  Frankly, I was pissed off because I know this lady hates my daughter.  She hides behind God and her Bible using them as an excuse to think she is better than the rest of us.   She justifies her actions by saying they are correct because she is a teacher.  I still don’t understand the teacher reference since she is a stay at home mom and has one kid (that is in the same school as my daughter). 

I can’t stand the condescending attitude this letter has.  I had to let it stew for a while before I wrote a response.  This evening I wrote this but haven’t sent it.  If you want to read what I really wanted to write, please scroll down to the bottom of this blog posting.

 Dear J and T,

 Upon receiving your letter, we were a bit surprised, flabbergasted, and taken back at what has been happening at your troop meetings.  With the first two years of Girl Scouts, we never heard anything negative about Kxxxx’s behavior or attitude.  She honestly enjoyed the meetings and attending the camps during the summer.

 We went thru each point you and  T mentioned in your letter and discussed them with Kxxxx.  We appreciate your candor and no holds bar attitude in how you think you should approach small children in a small group setting.  I personally ran a Cub Scout den for 5 years with 11 boys and I certainly understand the challenges of discipline, leading a meeting, and teaching small children projects. 

Item 1: Needle Point Try It

Clearly, you aren’t a babysitting service and you also aren’t counselors either.  If you had taken the time to talk with Kxxxxx, you would have discovered she is deathly afraid of needles and has a great fear of poking herself.  Sadly, I’m disappointed in lack of empathy and understanding in this matter.  Telling a child she doesn’t have to do the activity is fine; shaming them into doing the activity by telling them to leave is a whole other thing.

 Item 2: N (K’s friend)

Kxxxxx doesn’t have any issues with N or N hosting the Christmas Party.  Kxxxxx likes Nxxxx a great deal.  Kxxxxx wanted to offer to host the party since we were unable to attend the Christmas Party.  She was in fact disappointed she couldn’t attend and her comments probably would have been about her own disappointment of not being there.  We had heard it was a lot of fun.

 Item 3: Cookies and Charity

Are you sending this letter of compliant to the other two daughters about charity or is it just to us?  I wasn’t at your “donation” speech, however, an open discussion about what to do with the funds the girls earn is great.  There should be an open debate about what to do with the money.  I think going to the Great Wolf Lodge is an utterly stupid way to spend the cookie money yet I’ll go along with the majority.  Girls will be girls.  Some of them might want to donate all of the money to charity and others might want to not donate anything.  As a leader, you should guide them into making good choices.  Most of the girls will make the correct choices if given the right examples.

Item 4: Listening

In regards to wiping the table with a wet sponge during T’s speech, Kxxxxx was trying to be helpful like she is at home.  She told us that she did get too much water on the table and tried to dry it up with a towel but you stopped her.  You didn’t allow her to correct the problem she thought she created.  In our house, we hold our children responsible for their messes.  If we create a big mess (mind you water isn’t that big of a deal), we want them to clean it up.  What if that was soda pop, grape juice, or milk she spilled?  Would you have let it sit there until after the speech was finished or would you have allowed her to clean it up?  It makes no sense to complain about the water and you having to clean it up.  Kxxxx would have and should have cleaned it up. 

The snack buffet line also doesn’t make sense.  She was the first one in line, thought she could take the snack but then was told she couldn’t.  Pick your battles.  Do you keep a log of everything Kxxxxx does wrong? 

Water Balloon:  She was cleaning the spit out of her balloon.

 Item 5: The Extra Balloon

Seriously?  Kxxxxx grew up in a house with two older brothers and she has to speak loud and ask questions.  I appreciate her assertive nature and that she is a leader and not a doormat to be stomped on.  I can’t believe that no other child has dared to challenge you if they have seen an injustice being done.  Maybe boys are different but they certainly have inquisitive minds and asked questions on why we did things the way we did. I encouraged my den to challenge me and come up with solutions.  As a leader, you should have to explain yourself if it appears you might be playing favorites.  Even if you aren’t playing favorites, the key is that it appears you are playing favorites.  You should be called out if you are playing favorites and you should offer an explanation of why you are passing out a second balloon.  Heck, I would have totally called you out on passing out a second balloon if I saw you doing that.  Then as a leader, you should explain that you didn’t have enough tooters because some didn’t work and you were replacing them with balloons.  That makes sense to a 2nd grader and they would appreciate the honesty.

 Item 6:  Napkins and Treats

Really?  I never heard you come to Kxxxxx’s defense when other children asked her about her sores she had on her arms.  You were standing right next to me when I told the little girl that asked that question that was impolite to ask someone.  I agree that napkins aren’t a big deal so why are you making a big deal out of it.

 The snacks issue was a bit out of my control.  You know that Kxxxxx and Mxxxxx are dropped off by M’s Mother.  I have discussed with M’s Mother about the snack issue and she won’t allow the children to bring a snack to the meetings anymore. 

In conclusion, we haven’t ever received any negative comments from her teachers, friend’s parents, ballet school instructors, or sports programs coaches about her behavior.  She is often singled out for her helpful behavior and great attitude.  In fact, she just received a Sunshine Award last week.  While our daughter is far from perfect, like many girls her age, it greatly saddens us that you have singled out our daughter to find fault in.  Kxxxxxx feels like you dislike her and I would agree with her assessment of the situation.

 Sincerely,

 Kevin

OK, that was my nice version of the letter I am going to send.  Now here is the version I want to send.  I won’t but I’ll post it on my blog anyway.  Freedom to express my opinion!  God Bless America!

 Date:  January 19, 2011

 To:  Angie and/or Kevin Hellriegel

 Concerning Kxxxxx Hellrigel Thanks for misspelling our last name.

 

Subject:  We have had some issues that T(other leader) and I thought you as her parent should know about.  (Mainly she had issues but she’s dragging in the other leader as well…you might as well throw your friends under the bus as well).

1)  Issue at 1/18th meeting –Kxxxxxx stated that she did not want to do the try it activity, which was the Stitch It Together Try It—I told her we will never make her do something she does not want to but then she does not earn the try it. That’s fair.  She didn’t do the work, she shouldn’t get the badge.   Also there is nothing else planned during this time so if she does not want to participate she should not attend.  WTF?  Did K know that you were doing this activity ahead of time?  Did you send my eight year old daughter an email about it?  Or perhaps it was a psychic message?  As an alterative, you don’t have some paper and pens for kids that finish early?  That is called poor planning.   We are not babysitters.  No shitI would never let you watch my child without other adults around.   It takes the two of us to help with the crafts and try its.  We had one additional leader that has moved and no one has offered to take her place. Need help?  Guess who is now going to be your new co-leader…ME!!!  I had specifically asked one parent to help at this meeting because I felt with needles that 4 adults would be best.  K—-(another mother) was there helping with T and I, but the other parent did not attend.  So if Kxxxxx doesn’t want to participate, we will call you to pick her up.  Seriously?  What if one of the scouts finishes up before the others?  Are you going to call their parents to come early because you don’t have anything else for them to do?  We will need a phone number where you can be reached during that time Don’t you have my phone number?  We have been in the troop for three years?.  We do not want other girls affected by her non interest in participating.  Yes, my daughter’s lack of participating in needle work is awful.  She is deathly afraid of needles and is afraid of poking herself.  Maybe if you took the time to ask why she didn’t want to do it then you’d be a better leader.  I don’t think shaming her into participating is part of the Girl Scout way, do you?

 2)  Issue at 1/18th meeting- Indicated that she did not like the Christmas party but she did not even go.  She asked if someone else could host the Christmas party.  I responded yes, but that no one else volunteered .  (seems she has an issue with Nxxxx (another girl)?)

She doesn’t have an issue with her friend N.  Stop trying to be a therapist when you clearly aren’t qualified to offer that opinion.  She was asking if she could host the next party and she was disappointed that she wasn’t able to go to this year’s party.  Again, arguing with an eight year old doesn’t make any sense.

3)  Issues at meeting 1/4th (where we discussed cookies)-

Kxxxxxx did not want to donate any funds raised to charity.  She was one of three girls who did not want to give any funds back to the community.  As Girl Scouts we should do good in our community just like Boy Scouts.  Seriously?  Did the other two girls’ parents get letters about their child’s lack of charity?  (No they didn’t).  K even said that they talked about it and she did agree with donating some of the money after the discussion.  Are you saying that I’m a bad parent because this wasn’t the first answer out of her mouth?

4)  Did not listen to me -3 times –Hell, I don’t want to listen to your nit picky crap at any time.  She wanted to wipe table with really wet sponge in middle of T(other leader)’s talk about cookies. Next time I’ll tell her to use a dry sponge.  Told her no, to please sit back down and listen.  She made a mess and wanted to clean it up because she is responsible.  At our house, if you make the mess you help clean up the mess.  She did it a bit later anyway, leaving the table really wet and it then had to be dried.  It is water from a sponge.  Of course it is going to be wet.  And you didn’t let her dry it up.  Please stop being a martyr.  Put your leader pants on, tell her to use a towel and have her dry it up!

                                       –told her to wait in line for snack for rest of girls to line up for snack buffet style, she started serving herself, had to say wait again.  She was first in line, grab a snack, then heard you say not to start.  Oops.  Send her to jail for being ahead of the game.

                                    —told her no she could not use water because I heard her mention water balloons, a little later she had water in the balloon anyway.  Actually, she was cleaning out the balloon.  Was the balloon filled up and ready to be thrown?  Or was the balloon “wet” from being washed off?

5)  Issue at 1/4th meeting-Kxxxxx asked if she could have an extra balloon.  When I said no, she loudly told me it was unfair because H and N got a second one.  I agree, it is unfair.  Why do they get two and the others only get one?  Isn’t two greater than one?  That is unfair in my book.  I had three reasons, not that a teacher should have to explain reasons YES, you do need to explain yourself.  If someone thinks it is unfair then you should explain why it isn’t unfair.  There is a reason why they have come to that conclusion.  As a good leader, it is your job to educate them why it isn’t unfair. –was out of tooters because some did not work and girls got a second one, so H did not get one of those and she very nicely asked if she could have an extra balloon instead, N’s first balloon did not work right, I did not have enough balloons to give everyone a second one  and balloon time was almost over.  Be honest, explain this to the girls and they will understand.  When I see the reason, it makes sense to me.  I’m pretty sure if you took the time to explain it, then they would understand.

Does not set good example to rest of girls and I will not have my daughter hearing me challenged like that.  Here is the real reason behind the letter.  WTF?  You should be challenged if someone sees you doing an unjust thing like favoritism.  You had a good reason for giving away a second balloon but you failed to use this opportunity to explain why you were giving out the second balloon.  In an eight year old’s eyes, she sees someone getting a second balloon and that is unfair.  You do need to explain yourself.

 6)  At a previous troop meeting, Kxxxxx pointed out how unfair it was that G (Troop leader’s daughter) got a different napkin than the rest of the girls.  It made G feel uncomfortable but she was doing what I had asked her to do.  Oh, but you don’t say anything when a girl points out my daughter’s sores on her arms?  I’m the one that had to point out that was impolite thing to ask.  Where were you then Mrs. Manners Police?  I did not have enough for all so asked her to take the different napkin. I explained that to Kxxxxxxxx.  But no “thank you” that at least everyone had a napkin.  OK, I’m confused.  Why does she need to say “Thank You?”  Was the “Thank You” for the napkin or the lame explanation you gave?  Pretty petty thing to hold against a kid.  The troop leader was slighted so let’s put it on the kid’s record of wrongdoing.  Something they would use and throw away afterwards.  Most parents forget to bring napkins if their snack is messy.  All this bitching and moaning about a napkin you admit isn’t that important?  What a fricking power struggle you have with my daughter!

M and Kxxxxxx often come eating treats.  They do not bring for rest of group. My daughter carpools with the other girl’s mother!  The troop leaders know this because I pick up the girls.  We have done this for the past two years!  This last meeting they had lollipops.  M’s was gone pretty quickly but Kxxxxx had hers well into meeting time.  It has been pointed out that this is unfair.  Life is unfair.  If life was fair I’d be superrich, married to a supermodel, and living on an island paradise instead of reading this crap.  T and I discussed this and agree.  Our girls are there with us from approximately 3:55pm-6pm and they are not getting treats that they do not share.  So please no treats unless they share with all.  We will be telling all parents this.  If someone comes with treats they do not have enough to share, they will be asked to put it in their bag, pocket or throw it away.  This isn’t a bad policy.  Am I going to be asked to throw away my latte because I didn’t bring one for each of the other parents?  Are they going to think it is unfair that I have a latte and they don’t?

 On the positive side (Finally some good news…I guess no one every told her that you can catch more flies with honey that vinegar), once Kxxxxxx heard she would not get the try it if she did not do the work, she did participate and she seemed proud of what she did.  So once she was threatened, then she did the work.  She wants to help clean up which is very appreciated at the right time not in middle of leader talking.  (At that time it is distracting.) OK.  Back to the leader talking part….it is OK to be helpful but under your terms and conditions.  That’s a good lesson to teach our daughters.

 When we send emails concerning Troop events, we would like to receive a response either way if the girl is coming or not.  That way we know the email was received and it allows us to plan the event in a timely way.  Then send me the email and write on there RSVP.  If it doesn’t have RSVP on it, then the email is merely information for me; not an invitation.

 Thank you for helping us offer a positive experience to our troop,

Xxxx & Xxxxx Troop Leaders

(Seriously?  This is a positive experience?)

As you can read, I’m a tad bit upset about this whole thing.  My wife and I both know that this troop leader doesn’t like us or our daughter.  She makes it perfectly clear at every meeting.  We thought we could tolerate it because you have to deal with all kinds of people in life.  I really don’t know what she has against us.  However, if she is going to remain a leader then we think we need to find a better troop for our daughter.  Other people don’t have a problem with our daughter and a lot of the girls’ parents like our daughter.  We have a conflict with this leader and the only two solutions we appear have to have are: quit and join a new troop or ask the leader to step down.

 I’m fine with either one.  I am willing to step up and become a co-leader of my daughter’s troop if needed.  If it’s a fight she wants, then it’s a fight she’ll get.  Bring it on!

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6 responses to “Is my child really that bad?

  1. Pingback: Brownie (Girl Scout) Leader Update « Kevin Hellriegel's Blog

  2. Pingback: Tuesday’s Brownie Meeting – will my daughter behave? « Kevin Hellriegel's Blog

  3. Kari February 20, 2011 at 11:40 pm

    Kevin, it is very obvious that YOU are the problem and poor K**** is only the path J is using to punish you for a lifetime of poor decisions and selfish indulgences. Shame on you!

  4. Pingback: Kevin’s Outdoor Training Weekend with the Girl Scouts! « Kevin Hellriegel's Blog

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