When your teenagers spend hours in the care of others, mainly their teachers, communication between you and those educational professionals is vital. Without proper communication, you cannot be fully aware of what is going on in your teen’s life, and you will likely struggle to communicate well when problems arise, which is common with kids this age. These tips will help you communicate well with the educational professionals in your child’s life.
Make sure you start communication with teachers early on in the school year. Do not wait until there is a problem because this may foster the wrong attitude between yourself and the teacher. Instead, at the beginning of the school year, take some time to meet with the teachers and get to know them a little bit. This will help you build a relationship that will be valuable should problems arise later in the year.
Take the initiative.
Next, make sure that you are communicating your concerns, if you have any, instead of waiting for the teacher to approach you. Yes, teachers are busy, but they would rather hear from you at the beginning of a problem than wait until your teen starts to really struggle. This also helps to “nip the problem in the bud,” so to speak, rather than waiting to try to find a solution after it’s already too late.
Remember your common goals.
When you talk to the teachers, remember that you are on the same team. Both of you want to see your teen succeed, and your child’s teacher is not the enemy. Of course, there can be extreme situations where a teacher does not like a student and is making his or her life difficult, but these are rare exceptions. Most teachers are in their professions because they love and care about children, and they are thrilled when parents approach them with a “We’re in this together” attitude.
Recognize that the teacher probably isn’t lying.
Never go to a meeting with a teacher feeling as though you are on the defensive. Yes, you love your teen and you’ll always be on their side, but it’s crucial that you keep an open mind to what the teacher has to say. No matter how well-behaved your teen is at home, understand that children- especially teens- behave very, very differently when their parents aren’t around. As much as you love them, your teen isn’t perfect. So chances are, whatever issues the teacher has with your teen could, in fact, be true.
Take the time to listen to the teacher’s opinion and point of view. These professionals have received extensive training, both in the classroom and in the field, on dealing with kids, and they usually know what they are talking about. Ask clarifying questions if you do not understand something, and then paraphrase what you have heard to ensure you understood. This will help you come to an accurate conclusion about whatever is discussed.
Another way to ensure that the meeting goes well is to plan ahead. Call the teacher or send an email requesting a time to meet. If you simply show up in the classroom, the teacher will probably not be prepared for the meeting. Showing up unannounced is also very disrespectful to a professional educator.
Don’t be too hard on them.
Finally, remember that the teacher can only do so much. Your student is only one of many that the teacher must care for throughout the day. So while you can- and should- expect a lot from a professional educator, the ultimate job of parenting your child, including disciplining them, is your responsibility. Talk to the teacher to learn where the problem may lie, but try to take care of it on your own as a parent. Remember, you are the person in your child’s life who holds the greatest amount of influence over them, so taking responsibility for your teen’s future will give your child the best possible chance of success, both in school and in life.
Recognize when it’s time to look for help.
If your teen is experiencing academic or social difficulties in school, is defiant, is disrespectful of authority, or simply seems to be heading down the wrong path, then perhaps it’s time for you to seek help from an outside source. Boarding schools are a great alternative to military-style schools because they tend to employ a more balanced approach to helping teens.
At Christian boarding schools, students are rehabilitated through a time-tested and individualized program consisting of both discipline and reward. Students receive the love and guidance they need to transition from a troubled teen into an emotionally, intellectually, and spiritually healthy young adult.
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