You’ve received that notice! More stress to your life. . . What do you do?
When a note is sent home or detention is scheduled, parents today are often incensed and ready to battle with the teacher. Too many parents think their child can do no wrong and that it has to be the teacher that is doing something wrong. They immediately side with their son/daughter and paint the teacher as a bad person. What example have we just given to our child? “You can do anything you want; it’s the other person’s fault.” “There are no consequences for your actions.”
The stage has possibly been set for a lifetime of conflict in sports, higher education and even in the workplace. Now is the time to train a child up in the way he should go. Use misbehavior as a teaching tool to strengthen character.
1. Don’t be embarrassed.
Embarrassment can lead us to covering up and not dealing with the issue.
2. Don’t put all the blame immediately on the teacher and side with your child.
Don’t commiserate with other moms about how badly kids are treated by teachers. The first thing a parent does when their child is having discipline issues in the classroom is talk to their friends. We do this probably out of embarrassment. We really want it to be the fault of a bad teacher, not that our daughter is acting up.
The majority of teachers are in their profession because they really care about students. They have answered the call to a very strenuous, active job. They are assigned responsibility for 20 -30 students who come from all walks of life. They must know how to deal with each student, figuring out the individual’s style of learning and their unique personality.
Top that off with parents who are totally unavailable, totally hostile, and “off the grid” so to speak and the teacher’s job is even more compounded. Try to understand that teachers are human; they make mistakes. It would benefit the relationship between teacher and student so much more if a parent first tries to understand “where the teacher is coming from”.
3. Talk to your child.
Believe what he is telling you, but don’t necessarily sympathize until you hear the entire story from the teacher. Think of your child’s character to this point. Is the teacher telling you of behavior that is totally out of character for him? Watch his reaction when you ask him about the incident. Don’t be quick to judge him or the teacher.
4. Make an appointment to talk directly to your child’s teacher.
Don’t email or pass notes back and forth. Make an appointment and meet with the teacher. Find out what is really happening. She might key you in on some behavior your child is presenting that you are not aware. There might be tension among students in the classroom that creates an atmosphere that makes your son uptight, thus acting out in class.
5. When your child is guilty, discipline needs to be implemented.
Begin by praying with your daughter. Explain to her that at various times in our lives, we all make poor choices. God is a forgiving God and we move on. Talk about the poor choice she has made.
If the “crime” is misbehavior in the classroom, your child needs to apologize to the teacher. You should go with her to school (if in elementary school) and meet privately with the teacher so she can apologize for her action.
If the issue is with another student she needs to do the same, making things right by apologizing. Apologies will be very hard for her, but will go a long way in teaching her that we make mistakes but we don’t have to live with those mistakes. We can move on.
These two actions take your time, yes, but it will be a great lesson for your child. He will learn that he cannot act out without consequences. Asking forgiveness will usually clear the air and also build a new relationship with the other student and/or teacher.
Remember, every opportunity in life can be a teaching moment. As parents, we want to use those moments to realize growth in our children for now and for their future.
Listen to Mark Witt’s daily podcast on Teen Quest Live for more tips on parenting.