Parenting is a balancing act. When it comes to protecting our children, we want them to know we are always there for them. However, if we hover too much, it can be embarrassing for our children and can even build resentment because of it. How can you protect your child at school while still defending him whenever necessary?
Encourage Open Dialogue before Problems Arise
All through your child’s life, you’ll want to encourage an atmosphere where your child feels free to share their feelings with you. Avoid some of the old ways of parenting that left children without a voice. Some of these outdated thoughts include “If you get in trouble at school, you’ll get in even more trouble when you get home” and “Don’t tattle.”
When your child is young, listen to everything they want to tell you. If you have time to listen to what appears trivial, they will likely tell you about the big things as well. To your child, everything they tell you is important and if you shut them down at any point, it can lead to a relationship that becomes silent.
When your child is having problems at school, they won’t always speak up. Be someone who knows your child better than anyone else. Be a master at reading your child’s body language, so you can pick up when something is not right. If your child is quieter than usual, seems nervous, or develops any habits out of the normal, be aware.
If you sense that something is wrong, begin to ask questions. Don’t pry forcefully, but allow your child every opportunity to tell you if something is bothering them. If something negative is happening to your child, such as bullying, it is possible that they have been threatened and it may take time to get them to speak.
Assess the Situation
Once you have the necessary info and the full story, decide what needs to be done. If there is a situation bothering your child that is small, bringing the teacher into it may not be necessary. However, if any type of bullying or other equal problem is happening, the proper authorities need to be alerted.
Perhaps the problem is something that does not require adult intervention, such as friends sharing their snacks with everyone other than your child. Give them the tools they need, such as vocalizing their feelings and making requests confidently. Other problems that may not require a teacher’s intervention include minor and common childhood problems.
Perhaps the problem lies with the teacher. Maybe the teacher gave your child a consequence they didn’t feel was deserved. If you believe it was appropriate, give your child the skills to avoid having it happen again. For example, if your child was not listening or was disregarding rules, help them to see the importance of these things.
Involve the Teacher When Necessary
Sometimes it will be necessary to involve the teacher. If bullying of any sort is happening, or if a teacher is being unfair or acting inappropriately towards your child, get them involved. It may be difficult, but you must make the call. You are your child’s main advocate, and it lies in your power to make sure your child doesn’t face difficult problems alone.
There are times when your child can deal with a problem alone. There are other times that will require a phone call or more. Be a parent who knows the difference and makes the right call.