How to be an advocate for your child as well as for your child's teacher...

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Let's face it: we all have days when our child comes home and says one of the following:
  • "Nobody likes me - I have no friends!";
  • "Johnny is bullying me at school!";
  • "Susie is the teacher's pet!";
  • "My teacher never explained the homework!";
  • "I must be stupid!";
  • and so on and so on and so on...
Often our first instinct is to support our child - even when it means choosing between our child and the teacher. This is natural - but perhaps unfortunate. Why? 

Because 1) all children lie - it's a developmental phenomenon (which some of us never outgrow!); 2) it takes time to sort out the facts and get through the feelings; 3) children need to learn how to deal with difficult situations; 4) teachers are trained professionals who deal with hundreds of children every day.

SO - before you get out the ice cream as you dry the tears and prepare to send an e-mail to the teacher - try this simple formula from Parenting with Love and Logic by Fay and Cline:

  • Respond with empathy: Listen, stay calm, and say something like "that must be hard for you right now...";
  • Pause
  • Say in a calm voice, "What are you going to do about it?"
  • Pause
  • Say, "You are a smart kid, and I love you, and I know you will figure this out. Let me know how it goes"
  • Go on with your day...
Children are often excellent problem solvers when they are left to sort things out. You can still give feedback on potential solutions, and you can still contact the teacher if there is clear injustice going on. Most of the time, kids just need to work out being kids. You are giving them a gift when you let them think on their own.
 

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This page contains a single entry by John published on October 9, 2019 4:28 PM.

"So. Mom and Dad, what's next for our planet?": Talking to Our Children about Climate Change was the previous entry in this blog.

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