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should I mention the elephant in the room

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Alyssamd24 posted 3/13/2014 17:52 PM

A few years ago we had a child at my daycare that constantly masturbated.....she would do it before nap, after nap, and as a coping mechanism. Although it is common for children at her age, she did it so much that my director and coworkers became concerned.

We started documenting it and my director eventually talked to the parents about it.....they were furious and pulled her from the center almost immediately.

So now I work with this little girls mother. She obviously remembers me from the daycare and although we have spoke about the center we have not spoken about why they left or anything about the incident.

Yesterday while in the office she and I got into a discussion about that center and all she said is they weren't happy there and she thought it was a snobby place.

To me the incident with her daughter is like the elephant in the room....the topic we are both likely thinking about but are too uncomfortable to bring up. I feel like I personally owe her an apology for it, especially since I was the one who signed many of the forms we had to document.

Do I bring it up or just let it go?

nowiknow23 posted 3/13/2014 18:24 PM

I can't conceive of how bringing it up will make things better. She's clearly still bothered/embarrassed/angry about what happened. You having served in a professional capacity at the daycare complicates things even more.

I would let this particular sleeping dog lie unless and until she specifically broaches it herself. Which I'm guessing will be never.

jrc1963 posted 3/13/2014 18:25 PM

Oy... I think I would just let it go...

She may not even be thinking about it... May have had other reasons for taking the girl from daycare that coincided with the incident... Or maybe that was it.

I think I'd just let it go for now.

GabyBaby posted 3/13/2014 18:28 PM

I don't think you have anything to apologize for.
It is likely that the little girl's parents are embarrassed by the whole thing, so made up a reason (snob comment) as to why they pulled her out.

I'd let it go unless you think the little girl is in harm's way.

Alyssamd24 posted 3/13/2014 18:52 PM

I definitely dont think she is in harms way....I just feel badly about it and don't know for sure that she is thinking about it but assume she hasn't forgotten it.

I guess if it really bothered her still she would not talk to me at all, which isnt the case. We actually get along quite well, which makes me feel even worse.

As a parent I can understand why she and her husband would be upset and angry....but unfortunately we were all just doing our job.

Alyssamd24 posted 3/13/2014 18:53 PM

I didnt know when I went to this new job that she even worked there....it wasn't until after I was hired that I saw her there.

Amazonia posted 3/13/2014 22:29 PM

Please don't bring this up to this poor woman. I don't even know how it would be remotely possible to bring up her child or masturbation in a professional setting.

I would keep your interactions with her professional. The fact that you already know so much about her personal life could feel very intrusive to her. It's her kid. It's her apparent discomfort. If she wants to bring it up, that's her choice. The kindest thing you can do is to leave her alone about it, and by your actions, make it very evident that you aren't the type of person who is going to gossip about her or tell others in the office about her personal life, you know? That's what I'd be worried about if I were in her shoes - less that it's awkward with you, and more what you could be saying to other coworkers about her.

It's evident from your post that you don't judge this family, and that you understand what happened is natural, but not everyone would view it that way (case in point: there were immediate, and reasonable, questions on this thread about abuse - she might worry you think the same thing), but she doesn't know you well enough to have confidence that you aren't the judging or the gossiping type.

Bringing it up is just going to make things more awkward, and make you look unprofessional, IMO. Keep work about work, and let your professionalism and actions speak for themselves and I think the awkwardness will go away as she sees by actions that you are someone who won't make her life uncomfortable.

Alyssamd24 posted 3/14/2014 05:26 AM

Thank you for your responses. I see where you are all coming from and will keep the past in the past. If she ever brings it up then I will discuss it with her, but I wont do it myself.

sparkysable posted 3/14/2014 09:54 AM

Oh dear, do NOT bring that topic up. Ever.

If she brings it up, than she's the one who opened that can of worms, not you.

How old was this child? I have never seen a child do that, ever.

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