A Note To All Parents (Part I: Behavior)Jul 17, 2005 (Updated Jul 27, 2005) Write an essay on this topic.
The Bottom Line High school students don't always tell the truth. Read this to find out how to deal with it.
This is an entry into Dionne25's Advice for Expectant Parents Write-Off. Granted, it's not advice for expectant parents, per se, but it is advice to parents nonetheless. Thanks for the WO,Tattoo. Best of luck with everything.
It isn't easy being a high school student. From freshman year to graduation, high school students go through many changes and life-changing decisions that will affect their future.
Often times, parents feel very left out of these changes and decisions. Usually, that is because the student doesn't let the parent know what is going on. They tend to get annoyed and defensive when parents try to "pry" into the goings-on at school.
Yet, when there is a problem with a teacher and the teacher either calls home or speaks with the parent about the student's behavior, the student then gets defensive, usually blaming the teacher for what is going on in class or blaming the parent for not taking an interest.
As a teacher, club advisor, and coach, I can tell you firsthand how hard it is from someone in my position to talk to a parent about their child's poor behavior. It is ESPECIALLY hard when a parent refuses to hear that their child is misbehaving, and then blames the person calling about their child.
Here are some tips for parents about how to deal with a teacher/coach/administrator/advisor that may be calling about your child's bad behavior:
1. WE'RE NOT LYING.
If you get a phone call from someone in your child's school, it is probably for a good reason. Honest. Do your best not to be hostile toward the person on the other end of the phone. This will not make the situation with your child any easier. We want to tell you what is going on with your child so that you can rectify the situation. After all, you are the parent, not us. YOU are the person who supposed to discipline your child. YOU are supposed to teach your child how to behave. We're the ones that educate them.
2. WE'RE NOT THE BAD GUY.
Again, we are calling you not to snitch, but to get you involved in your child's school life. If he or she is misbehaving, there is usually an underlying reason for it. We would really like you to help us figure out what it is. We don't want to see your child fail or get in trouble. We just want them to behave better.
3. WE WANT TO HELP.
As I said before, we want to see your child succeed. We want to help your child succeed. If that means calling you, we want to help you help your child succeed. Feel free to offer us suggestions on how to deal with your child. Let us know what is going on, and ways that we can make things better for them.
4. TALK TO YOUR CHILD.
Don't let the conversation you had with the teacher die when you hang up the phone. Talk to your child about it. If applicable, talk to your spouse first and talk to your child together. Find out why your child is behaving the way he or she is.
5. DON'T PUNISH BECAUSE OF A PHONE CALL.
If a teacher calls to tell you that your child hasn't handed in the last 5 homework assignments, don't punish your child by taking away their PlayStation or the like. Do something productive with that information-- Such as making your child complete their homework in front of you. Or, just check their homework when they are done. If you can't supervise your child at home, why bother to have any in the first place? Your child's success should be very high on your priority list. Your child should be #1 on your priority list, in my humble opinion. Let your child know that you care enough to help them get their education.
6. BE PRO-ACTIVE IN YOUR CHILD'S EDUCATION.
If an authority figure from your child's school has called you regarding your child's behavior, it's a good idea to take some action so that it doesn't happen again. As I mentioned above, check your child's homework and talk with them about what was brought to your attention. You can always put them on Progress Report, which is a paper that the student has to have every teacher sign at the end of class and bring home to you. That way, you can monitor their behavior and progress during school without even being there.
7. DON'T BADMOUTH THE PERSON THAT CALLED YOU.
Believe it or not, this is a huge problem. If you aren't happy with the conversation you had with the person that called you about your child's behavior, don't badmouth that person to your child. Regardless of the relationship you have with your child, saying something to the effect of, "Mrs. Doe is a moron!" really doesn't help the situation. In your child's mind, that gives them license to turn around and disrespect the teacher. Often times, their bad behavior will worsen.
Are you getting the message here? What you need is an intervention. If you get a phone call from someone at your child's school, they need you to intervene to rectify the problem. If you can't make any progress, you need to call the teacher back and request a face-to-face meeting. Talk some more with the teacher. Get an administrator involved, if necessary. If applicable, talk to your child's other teachers. You get the idea. Talk until the problem is solved.
It just amazes me how many parents just don't know their children. This summer, I am choreographing Godspell in the Brentwood Summer Music Program. It is for grades 7 - 12. Every morning, I deal with 53 students on summer break that come to this camp to participate in musical theatre. It really is a wonderful program, and it is a lot of fun. Unfortunately, there is one bad apple spoiling the bunch. I have spoken with my boss about her, who has in turn spoken with his boss. He then called her mother and spoke with her mother about the situation. Now, the mother wants all of us to write letters about her daughter's behavior so that she can bring her to some sort of therapist. This is taking a pro-active interest in her daughter's education-- even though it is just a summer program.
I have heard of incidents (since my mother is a teacher) where parents come in and actually threaten teachers because of the teacher told the parent that their child was misbehaved. I guess the old adage is true: The apple doesn't fall far from the tree.
Your child needs you. Help them get the education that they deserve. If a teacher calls you, have an open mind about what they say. After all, your child's educational future is at stake.
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