Saturday, April 1, 2017

Mom gets turned away from father daughter dance...

If you've been reading this blog for any length of time, you may already know that I'm not a fan of parent/child dates or dances.  My reasons for not liking them have nothing to do with my not liking parents to spend time with their kids.  I simply believe that it's inappropriate to "date" your kid... or take them to a dance.  That's just my opinion and you're free to tell me to shove it if you want to, though I don't think you'll change my mind.

Anyway, today's post is inspired by a news item I saw yesterday.  Single mom Amy Peterson's six year old daughter, Gracie, is a student at Georgia's Locust Grove Elementary School.  The school sponsored a "daddy/daughter dance" and Peterson didn't want her daughter to miss out on it.  So she decided to dress in drag and take her daughter to the dance.

One hour before the dance was to start, Peterson got a phone call from the school's principal letting her know that if she showed up with her child, she would be turned away.  The dance was to be for fathers and daughters, or girls with some other significant male in their lives.  Unfortunately, Gracie's father is apparently not in the picture; her grandfather is on dialysis, and her uncle works until 6:00pm and has three kids of his own.

Although many people rallied to Peterson's defense on this, I can hardly fault the school for being exclusionary.  In fact, it sounds like they have taken steps to be inclusive.  The school also has a mother-son dance, as well as a dance open to everyone, at other times of the year.  However, I still don't like these types of events for many reasons.  First and foremost, I simply think that parents and kids can do things together that don't involve "dates" or "dances", which have sort of a romantic connotation to them.  I think dating is for later... and for peers, not parents.  I'm just not a fan of these events and probably would not want to participate if I had kids.

But... while I know many of my friends and family members like the parent/child dating trend going on now, I think this scenario is exactly why they aren't a good idea.  A lot of kids are growing up in family situations that aren't traditional.  Plenty of kids are being raised by one parent who may or may not share their gender.  Some kids were conceived in such a way that they will never know one of their parents.  I have a cousin whose son was conceived in part thanks to sperm from a bank.  He has two moms and no dad in his life.

Some kids have lost a parent to death or divorce and may not have a parent they can ask to the event.  Maybe they have a stepparent who could take them to the dance in lieu of a biological relative, but that, too, can open up a can or worms.  What if the stepparent and child don't get along, but feel pressured to attend by the custodial parent?  What if the custodial parent uses the event to be hurtful to the non-custodial parent?  What if the kid doesn't have someone who is willing or able to step in for the missing parent?  I could go on and on about the many ways an event like this could end up being a bad idea.

Moreover, I just don't see the need for special dances for parents and kids, especially sponsored by a school.  We didn't do this kind of stuff when I was growing up and, back then, more kids had a traditional family structure where something like this would be easier to pull off without hurting anyone's feelings or causing controversy.  And while I think it's not quite as bad if it's sponsored by a group other than a school, I still think something like this can end up being very hurtful to innocent kids and their parents.

I don't think public schools have any business sponsoring these types of events, especially if they are going to exclude certain family types.  It might be more understandable if a church had an event like this, since churches have teachings about family.  I may not agree with a certain church's teachings, but I don't have to attend a church or I can go to another one if I disagree with its teachings.  Kids, generally, do have to go to school if they aren't being homeschooled.  Growing up is hard enough without a kid feeling bad because he or she had to miss out on a social event through no fault of his or her own.

Peterson apparently returned the men's clothes she bought and used the money to take Gracie out to dinner.  But then they stopped in a grocery store, where the little girl saw other girls dressed for the dance and it broke her heart.  Seems to me that if they schools stuck to simply educating the kids, it would be better for everyone.  But that's just my opinion as a childless middle aged woman.  Your mileage may vary.


  

6 comments:

  1. I'm not a fan of those date events, either. My school when I was in fifth and sixth grade had a daddy-daughter dinner/dance that was a major fundraiser for a local scholarship. My dad and I went one year and didn't go the other year. The year we did go, my dad smuggled a small soda bottle filled with rum into the event in my toy purse. I don't remeber the event being all that much fun. My dad apprently didn't think so, either, if he had to smuggle booze in to get through it.

    The daddy daughter event at my school would, I assume, have admitted the mother-in-drag and daughter, since they would have made the same amount of money whether it was a real man or a Drag King. I don't totally agree with their having excluded the mother, but I also don't have a very strong opinion regarding the matter. I guess my only thought is that if the administrator took the time to call the mother and warn her not to show, he might have at least asked the family of one of her classmates if they would be willing to include the little girl as a double-date so she wouldn't have to miss the event. It wouldn't have been the same, and the mother might not have felt comfortable letting her child go with the other family (the mother could have driven her child there to meet the other family and picked her up so that her child was not in the car with the other family if that bothered her) regardless, but it at least would have been nicer of the principal than was excluding the kid without a counter-offer. Still I don't care much, and if the amount of fun I had at the one I attended was represntative in any way, the kid probably had more fun at home in front of the TV.

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    1. Wow... your dad smuggled in booze? :D

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    2. Yeah. He, or I, brought in enough to make two rum and Cokes. Sometimes we were white trash. Ultimately I think both Matt and I came away with healthy attitudes toward alcohol, though. Matthew drinks more than I do, but neither of us overdoes it regularly. There wasn't a whole lot of allure to it for us.

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    3. I'm actually really glad my dad never tried to take me on a daddy/daughter date. It was bad enough that he took me to church every Sunday.

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    4. That was when I liked my dad 9I like him now, too, but there was a period in the middle when we didn't get along all that well) so it wasn't spending time with him that was the problem; it was the lameness of the event that we both hated. If we could have gone to an athletic event or a concrt instead, we both would have enjoyed it.

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  2. Yeah. Dancing with my dad would have been awkward at age nine.

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