I'm asking for a friend of mine, who's the parent. Her child is 12 years old.
Yesterday, at school, the child's classmate was horribly beaten up by a teacher. And I mean horrible. It ended with the teacher banging the child's head to the wall (allegedly on purpose), and pushing him out of the class so hard he fell on the floor. Parents are suing everyone they can, but that's not relevant to my question.
The whole school community was abuzz with this news, and everybody knew of the incident by that evening. All except my friend, that is. Her daughter didn't say a word to her parents, even though they asked her how school was, like they always do. She was sullen though, but at the time, it didn't seem suspicious. Later that night, my friend learned about the whole thing directly from the victim child's mother, and was rightfully shocked. That something like this happened, and more so that her daughter witnessed all this and never said a word.
Now how my friend handled that with her daughter is not really ideal. She demanded to know why she had been kept in the dark about all this, and how she was embarrassed that she was clueless when the parent talked to her. She probably thought this was under the umbrella problem of her daughter just not talking to her a lot these days. Her daughter just kept quiet and said "well, [my friend] didn't want to tell her parents either…" Now that my friend has had the time to reflect, and talk it out with me, she feels that may be it was too traumatic for her daughter to repeat or re-live, and that's why she didn't say anything.
My questions are:
- Is it the fear of re-living the trauma that kept the child quiet? Something else? How can my friend ask her daughter, and get her to talk about this? Should she even try to get her to talk about it?
- My friend obviously did not react well when she found out about the incident. How should she make up for it to her daughter?
Some updates based on the responses here:
- The mother wanted her daughter to tell her about this because
- As a parent, she wants to be in the loop when something major and especially disturbing like this happens at school. This has the potential to affect her daughter directly or indirectly. and
- She's worried the victim's mom may have felt that she and her daughter don't care enough for her son to discuss what happened to him. (I don't really get this part myself. But the two moms are close-ish, so figure what you will.) It was not about missing out on gossip. and possibly
- Other children told their parents, why didn't her daughter tell her?
- The daughter is most definitely not frightened of her mom. There may be a disconnect between them though. The mom does over-react a bit at times.
- The daughter is not afraid of the teacher who lashed out; nobody is. He is an erratic guy, who lost control with a student and got himself fired and sued. He's not a malevolent authority figure to be afraid of.