chaperone/field trip

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by crazymama30, Aug 30, 2009.

  1. crazymama30

    crazymama30 Active Member

    I have been mulling this over in my mind, and decided I need some more input.

    On difficult child's 2nd day of school he goes on a 2 night field trip. It is meant to build the community & relationships in his class. I think it is a good idea and am all for it.

    Should I go? When I met with the director and sped teacher last year they invited me to be a chaperone. I think that they had not met difficult child and were kinda overwhelmed by some of his behaviors and his medications (he takes 3 and several supplements). After our meeting difficult child went to his "move up day" at the school, I did not go with, and he did great and all went well. I think/hope this reassured them that he is not a handful all of the time, but only some of the time.

    My gut tells me not to go. He needs to do this on his own, I think it will help him to become more independent of me, as he can be so dependent. I also think he will behave better if I am not there as I am a "safe" person. He will be much more cautious if I am not there.

    But if I am there I can be sure he gets his medications when he is supposed to , and I can diffuse things if he starts to escalate, I can see it before it happens and head it off at the pass.

    Ugg I am so torn.
  2. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    I can see why you are torn. Are they going to be somewhere nearby or will they be an hour or more away?

    If they are close by you can be reached if there is a problem. If it is farther away, maybe you should go get a hotel room (with-o telling difficult child of course) and stay near them but not let them know you are there. If he behaves fairly well it would be a night of respite for you. If he needs you then you can be there quickly.

    If your gut is telling you to stay out of it, I would follow those instincts. I would make sure he had a cell phone with him (tied to his bag or a belt loop or around his neck (or with a chaperone or teacher). He could call you for "pep talks" that way and the timer on the phone on the phone can be set to go off when medications are due.

    To make the phone alert you you will likely have to go into the calendar function and set up "appointments" at whatever time he takes medication. You can make the appointment say "Take concerta and risperdal" and have the reminder set for 5 mins before. Same later in the day for other medications.

    That would let the adults know he needs medications and which medications to give when. They could also help him calm down by asking him to take some deep breaths and get calm before he calls. He may settle down enough that he ends up not needing to call you. Just being able to call is probably a lifeline of sorts for him.

    I DO know that teh really HUGE mistakes I made (and will make) in my life ALL came down to ignoring my gut.
  3. JJJ

    JJJ Active Member

    I would never allow my children to attend an overnight field trip. It is a buffet for bullies. Thankfully our school district stopped having the overnights the year prior to mine being old enough to go. They now do four day trips in one week to accomplish the same thing. Teachers don't seem to be able to provide enough supervision during the school day to stop bullying -- now they want to be trusted with our children overnight???

    I transferred mid-year as a 6th grader and got to my new school a few weeks after their overnight. The teachers told my mom it was such a shame that I missed it. But I spoke with the kids, the ones who were different, they said it was a terrifying trip. The class was completely divided between the bullies and their pack and the others.

    So, given my intense feelings about the inappropriateness of these types of trips, I would say 100% go with as you are the only one with a 100% investment in keeping your child safe.
  4. Josie

    Josie Active Member

    My difficult child went to several camps when she was on medications. They always had a lot of kids on medications and were very careful about making sure they got them. I'm sure they don't want a bunch of children who have missed medications on their watch.

    I think the bigger issue is will he be more or less likely to form good relationships with you there. It seems like you think he will do better if you aren't there.

    My kids never had trouble at school but if I went on field trips they were likely to be a problem for me, so that is my perspective.
  5. crazymama30

    crazymama30 Active Member

    It is about an hour away at a lake. There are no cell phones allowed, but medications are administered by adults and have to be in a prescribed bottle and also have written instructions. Even if he needed to call me, I don't know if he would. I believe the adults will have cell phones and if they don't there is a lodge nearby with a landline.

    My gut is two faced Susie, I need to work this out more and think some.

    JJJ what you say is a kind of part of my concern, especially what you said about me being the only one 100% invested in my child's well being. Bullying is kinda there, but this is a very small school. They have 2 6th grade classes of 23 each. Only the 6th graders go and there are 3-5 staff members going and so far 9 parents and maybe more. This school has many kids that are considered different or weird in the "regular" (lack of better term, this is a charter school) schools. This is not what the school is meant for now, but at one time it was meant for behavior problem kids but has evolved into taking all kids. Since it is a public school they have to abide by FAPE and all the Special Education laws.

    difficult child has not been overnight anywhere but with family friends. He missed out on his overnight zoo trip due to behavior issues last year. Part of my issues could be just that I am having a hard time with him growing up. When he went to his "move up day " last year I was a complete nervous wreck. I called a friend and I was all out of sorts. I think that as he gets older I feel like the stakes are higher, there are more really bad things out there. I want him to be successful and happy, and not in trouble or juvy or jail.
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2009
  6. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    I think I'd call your contact at school and discuss this with them. This way, you can get a feel on if they are more comfortable now and will know that you are a concerned parent even if you don't go.
  7. crazymama30

    crazymama30 Active Member

    Good idea KLMNO, I will do that Monday.
  8. svengandhi

    svengandhi Well-Known Member

    I went with my oldest son on his 5th grade trip and although I enjoyed Boston as I had never been there before, I think he would have done better without me. His teacher would have taken charge of his medications as each teacher was to do for their students.

    I didn't go on his 6th grade trip (which was at the beginning of the year so it was actually only 3 months after the 5th grade trip) and he did great.

    My daughter refused to go on the grade 6 trip because she had just gotten home from 6 weeks at camp and didn't want any more time away.

    My next two boys (including difficult child) went on their grade 5 trips to Difficult Child. At first they wanted me or H to take a hotel room in Difficult Child just in case but we refused. He was placed with his teacher as this school did not allow parent chaperones, only teachers and staff. He did great, had a wonderful time and impressed everyone with his knowledge at the White House and at the Smithsonian. It really helped mature him. Next boy was put in the room with 2 kids he couldn't stand but enjoyed it anyway.

    My youngest is entering 5th grade this year. I hope they still do the Difficult Child trip. It will do him good, he has only been away from home (other than sleepovers with grandma and one friend) for a 6 day camp stint.

    With all that said, only you know your child. The medications issue is one that can be dealt with by having an adult made responsible for giving it to him. You can have cell phone contact with this adult. If the kids are rooming together, ask that his roomie be carefully selected - there are always children in every grade who are nurturers and kind or at the very least will not torment another child.

    Whatever your decision, it will be the right one for you and your child.
  9. busywend

    busywend Well-Known Member Staff Member

    He is 11. Let him go on his own with the understanding that it is a way to earn trust. Hope for the best and prepare for the worst.
  10. crazymama30

    crazymama30 Active Member

    Well, I emailed my contact at the school and said that I wanted difficult child to go without me to build confidence and independence, but if they were in dire straits I could come along.

    Why is this always our motto? It seems that I am doing this all the time with husband and difficult child especially.
  11. There's a Finnish proverb: Trust in God but steer clear of the rocks.

    Hoping for the best but being consciously aware that it can all go pear-shaped and you'd better have a back-up plan is really just good sense (in my humble opinion). The only difference with difficult children is that the back-up plan gets put into play with significantly higher frequency. Sigh. Anyway, good luck.
  12. Christy

    Christy New Member

    Fingers crossed that things go well and it's a great experience for difficult child.

    That said, you know your son and are the best judge of whether he can handle this experience without you. Has he been away at camp or any other similar experiences in the past? How does he do at a sleepover with a friend? If I were in the situation, I think I might ask if I could go but be responsible for another group of students. That way difficult child has some independence yet you have the piece of mind that you will be available if you need to step in.
  13. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    My kids always did better without me because they tended to show off around me.
  14. crazymama30

    crazymama30 Active Member

    DJ, that is how difficult child is. He also will sit and complain to me this is gay (drives me crazy when he says that) this is dumb, and yadda yadda. I heard back from my contact, and he says they should be ok for volunteers but if he needs me he will let me know.
  15. timer lady

    timer lady Queen of Hearts

    After I volunteered for 3 field trips (each for one tweedle or the other) I discovered that my darling children were always "assigned" to me. School just didn't want to handle them in an outside setting.

    I did my duty & decided that Special Education needed to learn to handle my "delightful" tweedles on their own.

    I vote no - stay home & enjoy the GFGless time.