The relationship between teacher and parent is such an important part of a child's educational success. Communication is a vital tool when trying to create an environment that is secure yet encouraging. Sometimes, teachers can't say what they really want to, for fear of offending the parent. Here are 6 things teachers would tell parents if they could:
1: Your child does not need to be praised for everything he/she does
Positive reinforcement is a crucial component to raising strong, secure children, but there are times when praise can be detrimental to a child's emotional well-being. How can praise be a bad thing, you ask? When children are told they are good at everything they do, there will be a time (most likely in school) when they are faced with the reality that they are not “the best” at something. This is a difficult concept to grasp when it takes place in a room full of the child's peers. Be supportive of your kids, be positive and give praise when earned, but also teach your child that other people might be better at some things, and that's ok. Additionally, if you are going to say the ‘p’ word – proud – its better to say, ‘You should be proud of yourself!’ rather than telling your child that you are proud of them. This way they learn to approve of themselves and take pride in their efforts, rather than seeking approval from others.
2: Your child ALSO does not need to be criticised for everything he/she does
In order to be successful in school, children must be willing to take risks and know that it's ok to fail. Parents who expect perfection from their children often feel they are doing them a favour by setting high expectations and holding their children accountable. Setting the bar high is a good thing, but realistic expectations are also a must. Children need to know that they can step out of their comfort zones and try new things without being criticised for failing. Students who are afraid of failure will also be hesitant to take risks in school… which can then result in a fear of failure as an adult.
Many highly successful people celebrate failure, with some of their families doing so every dinner time – they take turns celebrating the days failures! Each family member happily talks about what they failed at that day… because it means they tried something and they learnt something new. Failure is not bad. Failing to try again or not learning from your mistakes is far worse.
3: Everything your child says is not the gospel
In other words, we won't believe everything your child tells us about what goes on in your household if you don't believe everything your child says goes on in the classroom. There are always two sides to a story. Children have a way of slanting things to benefit them, or to make the story interesting, and sometimes that means leaving out important information. If you have a concern about something your child tells you we said or did in class, please ask us about it first. You may be surprised at what actually happened.
4: Your child will do as you do…not as you say
Parents are a child's first and most influential teacher. They are watching you from a very young age, and they will model your actions. Be socially responsible. Be courteous. Be respectful. If you make a habit of interrupting people when you talk, your child will learn that behaviour. If you tell “little white lies” in front of your child, he will assume that to be acceptable for him as well. Model kindness and compassion for your child, so she will treat her peers and her teachers with the same kindness and compassion.
5: It is your child's homework not yours
We all want our children to be successful. Watching them struggle with something that, to us, seems so easy can be frustrating. Too many times, parents begin by “helping” a child work through a homework assignment, but ultimately end up doing the assignment. The best thing you can do for your child is to let her work through those problems on her own. This will teach her problem solving skills as well as patience. Be there to support your child and answer questions, but don't step in and take over, because you are sending the message “you can't do this” to the child.
6: Your kids can do much more than you think they can
Contrary to popular belief, your children are independent little beings who have you wrapped around their fingers and are manipulating you to do way too much for them. Children can pack lunches, do research on the computer, clean out binders and do many other menial tasks that they sit back and let you do for them. Giving your child some independence is one of the best compliments you can give, and once they are past the initial moaning and groaning, they will take pride in completing these tasks on their own. It will also build self-confidence each time you show them that you trust them to handle it on their own.