As a former teacher, parent and even student, I’m here to give you some suggestions for the coming school year. Yesterday I told you about how I gave an A at the beginning of the year and asked my students to keep it. Today I want to remind you how to parent the school year better. You can tune me out now, I understand. But if you stick around and keep reading, maybe something will resonate with you.
While I’m giving your child an A, a fresh start for the school year, it helps if you do this as well at home. Everyone deserves a fresh beginning of the school year and if your child has had tough school years in the past, now is not the time to remind them of their past failures. Now is the time to encourage them that this is a new year and a clean slate on which to begin again.
Let me reiterate that important message:
This is a new school year! Encourage your child!
Elevate the possibilities in their head that this can be a good year because it can!
I hate parent/teacher meetings when you tell me, in front of your teenagers, all of their faults. Time and again, I’ve heard, He’s lazy. He doesn’t do his work. I’m always telling him to go to bed earlier. That’s why he’s tired, because he’s playing those video games, etc. He’s not like me. I was an A student. I work so I can’t watch him all the time or make him study at this age. He needs to want to do it. My gosh, doesn’t anyone teach them how to study? Back in my day….And so on and so forth…you get the picture, right?
Do you ever think to look at your child who stands there listening either belligerently or with his head hanging down with embarrassment or maybe even a mixture of both? How do you think he feels after your tirade?
Because I’m standing there listening to a stressed parent whose guilt and myopic view is plain to see. All I want to do is hug you and to assure you that with a few tweaks, you can begin to heal the relationship with your child. Because I’ve seen what happens when the divide between parent/child increases. The wounds grow deeper until there’s little left to mend a relationship.
I know you’re frustrated with how things are going with your child at school. I know you are overworked and upset. I know you don’t really mean all that you just said, but that you are at your wits end and you don’t know what you can do to change it for your child. I know that you’re not telling me how ugly the atmosphere can feel at home and how you feel like you’ve failed as a parent. I know. It happens. They’re called teenagers for a reason. Don’t you remember being a teenager too?
Let’s look on the bright side. A new school year means you get a fresh start too! Enjoy the clean slate and all it brings to your family unit! Elevate the expectations – share meals more often, take time to chat with your children one on one, be open and listen (keep your judgments to yourself), hug your child and tell them something nice everyday.
I have never met a child who didn’t want a good relationship with their parents. Funny thing is, parents often tell me that the kid has rejected them, but it’s the other way around usually. When you don’t act like you care or you put work or other responsibilities as a priority consistently above your child, then that builds resentment. Innately your child wants to love and be loved by you. They want that connection. But when you break it due to other commitments or choosing another child over him, or only criticizing him and putting him down instead of elevating him or complimenting him, you are at fault. I’m sorry. Under typical circumstances, you are the one at fault and I’m willing to tell you. Not to hurt you, but to help you to get your act together this school year and be the parent he deserves you to be and you deserve to be.
Carve out some time with your children. Clearly list your expectations and what they can expect from you. There is not always a dictatorship in parenting. Sometimes a democracy works really well too and it doesn’t lessen your power. It actually increases the power of the family unit! More on that tomorrow in case you’re interested.