One of the hardest things to do as a parent is to look at the school situations your child gets into and see both sides of the issue. Being able to value both sides of the story is an important ability, and one that many parents fail to do well. That includes educators who are parents as well. Our first inclination is to take our child’s perspective, rush to their defense and be their support. Support your child…always. But supporting them and defending them at all costs are two very different things. You need to listen to your child’s perspective carefully. Then you need to talk to the teacher or appropriate people at school to find out their take on the situation. If the issue is between your child and another child…remember…the other kid has a perspective too. Once you have all the information…take a little time and think about it. You are the adult. Be calm, be patient and be positive in the way you go about dealing with the situation. Don’t automatically assume your child is telling you the truth. Whether you want to believe it or not…every child tells their perspective. That may be a lie if they are afraid of being wrong or in trouble. They could be angry and wanting to get even or they may simply want your support no matter what. That may be simply what they believe or want to believe…but not the whole truth. When you talk with the adults involved remember: you and they are the adults. Adults are not going to lie to each other about an issue at school. That happens very rarely…but not the option to believe in the beginning. Remember to be an adult. Children don’t decide what the outcomes of situations are: adults do. Just because your child wants something to happen doesn’t mean it is right or the best solution. Be the adult. Trust the teacher. Work together to solve whatever the solution is. One more thing…never confront another child because you think they are bullying or harrassing your child. Terrible, childish move with legal ramifications. Talk to the other child’s parents WITH the teacher or principal. Be your child’s advocate by doing the right thing. For everyone involved.
I agree that supporting our child and defending them at all costs are two different things. The most important thing is to really know your child. I also agree that in most cases adults are not going to lie about an issue at school, however, I have seen where adults can be swayed by situations. To give you an example, we had a theme week in our Junior high school entitled anti-racism week. In our small community we had a mixture of caucasian and aboriginal students, the latter being the minority, but in all honesty, the students did not have a major problem with racism. The school basically wanted to bring awareness to the subject. Our children came home from school one day indicating that since the start of anti-racism week, some of the typical altercations at school between different students, that normally would have been considered differences of opinion , were now being labeled as "racist situations". Normally, the discipline for each student involved in a situation would be the same. In this particular week, if there was an altercation involving a caucasion and an aboriginal student, the caucasion was being given a harsher out of school suspension while the aboriginal was given an in school suspension , the latter being the norm. My son, who always, always, befriended aboriginal children was devastated when the school made the accusation that he reacted in a racist manner over a disagreement that, in his opinion, had no racial undertones. They were just kids disagreeing. When I approached the principal of the school to hear their version of the situation, and they reviewed the entire week, they did admit that the entire week created a sensitivity they mishandled, and in the end the racism they were trying to discourage, they actually created in the reverse. The unfortunate result of this mishandling was that many caucasion students became very sensitive to how they would interact with the aboriginal students for fear of creating situations that would result in a harsher than normal penalty. I did believe that my son was capable of being involved in a disagreement, but, knowing his personality, I had a hard time believing that he reacted in a racist manner. As much as the accusation and the penalty upset me , it was important to stay calm. In doing so, the school was much more open to reviewing their handling of the situation without being totally defensive. It was also important that the school apologized to my son when they realized that they treated him unfairly ( he too should have received an in school suspension) . The important thing from our perspective as parents, was to acknowledge to our son that the school made a mistake, but to leave our son's respect for the teachers and principal intact. and
Sometimes, parents can't do anything to protect their child, who may end up traumatized, because teachers are protected by their union. Least in Canada.
I'm sorry you have had that experience. Please believe me...in all the years I have been in education...educators who truly care and will go the extra mile with all their students is the norm. I'd say probably 96-97%. That's a pretty good average...but no one wants ANY child to have to deal with a teacher or adminstrator who doesn't care and won't tell the truth.
You have to set clear boundries for your child and be disciplined enough to follow thru. Then when an issue comes up you'll know where to make your stand for or against the teacher. We believed in punishment for bad behavior and rewards for good behavior. We never allowed our son to argue or debate an adult that was our job. If something came up we got our facts straight first then we moved. If our son was wrong or had the wrong perception we would address that, if the teacher seemed out-of-wack we chated with them. There was a time where he had a teacher issue and it was in a High School honnors class the teacher had been so blessed with brilliant students who basically taught them selves. When our son transferred in from another school and needed to actually be taught she felt he wasn't working hard enough all the others seem to get it. That wasn't the case but once I knew the situation I told my son it's time for a gut check and at semester you're out of there.
my kids are homeschooled. Call me wierd, but at least I know whats going on in thier education...
Homeschooling is a great idea...given the right circumstances (parents who are willing and capable, kids who will listen to their parents and not argue or debate them). I think a balance of home and school works best...but there are many people who homeschool. I have had alot of homeschool children come back to schools where I was principal because we made it easy, and worked with them...in or out...that was the parents' choice. It gets harder when you get into middle school and high school. Just simply the content...as well as kids wanting to go with their friends. Good for you...keep doing what you're doing...
I think that the best solution is probably a balance between he two. My son did the home schooling thing part-time. He went to school for four hours and was obligated to put in at least four hours of online coursework from home. I found that he really enjoyed getting up from the computer to go and participate in activities at school. At the same time, I was totally involved in the learning process when he signed on to his virtual coursework. Basically, we had the best of both worlds.
"Once a child reaches his independance, the parent who keeps on trying becomes an obstacle." Maria Montessori
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