How to help your children with behavior issues succeed in school
As Solo Moms, we often blame ourselves when things don’t go well. We internalize our children’s struggles, feeling like they’re a reflection of our parenting.
The truth is many kids struggle in school at one time or another. Many schools aren’t set up for optimized learning. Teachers often have too many students in a class and are underpaid. Classes can be long and tedious. Opportunities for movement, play, and connection often are lacking. For many kids, despite their best efforts to follow the rules, they sometimes do things that are not OK.
Help your child by following these five tips:
- Ditch the blame. Blame does nothing to help remedy the situation. It only makes people feel bad and lets us dance around the real issues.
- Acknowledge your feelings about the situation, whether they be anger at your child or the teacher, frustration with the school, or disappointment. Then take those feelings to a trusted listener, and let it rip! When we are full of emotion about a situation, we’re not able to think clearly about how to solve the problem.
- Think out loud with someone or journal about how you want to address the situation before you start talking.
- Remember the goal of everyone involved is the same: to have school go well for your child and the other children in the class.
- Set up a time to talk to the teacher.
Try this format to help you communicate effectively with your child's teacher:
- Thank the teacher for taking the time to talk with you.
- Let the teacher know you appreciate all that he or she does for your child. If you have a specific appreciation you can give, such as “I really appreciated when you helped my son at recess last week,” that's even better.
- Let the teacher know you understand things don’t seem to be going well in school right now, and ask for ideas on how to get the situation back on track.
- Respond thoughtfully, acknowledge the teacher’s ideas, and contribute your ideas.
- Outline a step-by-step plan that has everyone working together. Don’t leave without this!
- Plan to check in again in a week or so to see how things are going, and revise your plan as necessary.
- Go home and write the teacher a quick thank-you email.
Although it can feel scary to approach a teacher, most are generally very appreciative of our involvement. People love to be asked for help. It shows we respect them and value their opinions. You will be amazed at how much better you’ll feel once you and the teacher are working as a team. Together, it is much easier to support your child through a rough time. Change begins to feel possible!
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