Where Did Parenting Go Wrong?
by Corey S., Friendswood Junior High student
Where did parenting go wrong? Currently, a looming problem for teachers is the parent-teacher-student relationship, or lack of one. Parents and their attitudes can be very problematic for teachers and students alike. Some parents fail to realize that the teacher and the parents work together to help the student.
One common problem with well-intending parents is that they keep telling their children that they're so smart and that they can do anything. I always thought this was great for kids; however, this unintended self-esteem booster often creates major problems for the child in the future. What about when kids eventually hit an educational brick wall and they realize they can't do something? If we can't do chemistry, does this mean we aren't really that smart? Are we letting down our parents who believe so whole-heartedly in us?
Another parent issue is when parents have such faith in their children that they can't look at an issue objectively. How many times have teachers heard parents say, "My child wouldn't lie" or "My child said she didn't cheat," and the parents actually believe their child over the school, as if the school is conspiring to prevent the child's academic success. The best thing kids can do is mess up, be held accountable, and learn from it.
One presenter spoke of a time when a child was sent to the principal's office for repeated use of inappropriate language. The parents were called, and the father showed up. The situation was explained, and then the father said that if he did it again, they could smack his %*&$#@$ until it was @#$$%&. The apple never falls far from the tree.
With the array of parenting issues schools face, honesty is the best policy when dealing with any parent, problematic or not. The only way to deal with parents is to tell them the painful truth. One of the worst things you can do as a teacher is to tiptoe around a huge academic or behavioral problem to avoid a confrontation. Talk to the parents. Invite them to conferences. Sit down and discuss with them. Listen to them. Sometimes when discussing with parents, all you need to do is listen. Sometimes they just need to outpour their worries, troubles and hopes. After all, you are working together.