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Why Teachers Should Say "Grownups" Instead of "Mom and Dad"

There's a More Inclusive Way to Refer to a Child's Family Than Saying "Your Moms and Dads"

Teenage girl with headphones and laptop having online school class at home

Teachers are working so hard these days that it feels almost cruel to offer them any feedback into their job performance, particularly so early into the school year when everyone is trying to make sense of new – and often remote – routines.

However, one observation has gone viral on Instagram with good reason.

In a tweet from a single parent named Sirry Alang, she writes: "Teachers, your class convos are broadcasted in everyone's homes. The number of times the teacher has said 'your mom and dad' to my kid's class is infuriating. But a BRAVE kid just said . . . 'But I only told my grandma at lunchtime because my sister and I live with our grandma.'"

The point of her criticism might not be as detectable to those in a traditional family environment with a mother and father at home, but it certainly rings true for any child in a nontraditional family dynamic – whether a child lives with a grandparent, an aunt or uncle, two moms or two dads, or just a single parent, or if they are in foster care.

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Glennon Doyle, an author and former teacher, shared Sirry's tweet on Instagram with a simple solution: to use the term "your grownups" instead.

"That little language difference signals to little ones that all families are real and important and should be honoured," she wrote. "That little difference can make a child feel celebrated instead of othered."

So, if teachers – who Glennon was sure to call "heroes who spend their time, energy, and talent on children" – could take this small piece of advice and apply it to their classroom conversations, there's a good chance more kids will feel a greater sense of inclusion and belonging. And who doesn't need to feel that a bit more these days, especially?

Image Source: Getty / damircudic
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