15 Jul what are we teaching our kids if we regularly protest about a teacher?
…let’s work with schools to allow them to teach the curriculum, while we do as much as we can at home to prepare them for adulthood. Write Dr Ginni Mansberg and Jo Lamble
Working with teachers
Kids have always complained about some teachers and it can be very frustrating as a parent to hear some of these comments. The urge to complain about a teacher can be even greater for a parent than it is for the child themself. Teachers will tell you that they have so much to deal with every day with the curriculum and the children that the last thing they need is complaints from parents taking up their time. And what are we teaching our kids if we regularly protest?
Obviously, if there is a serious concern, such as suddenly plummeting academic performance, bullying or school refusal, then there should be a series of discussions with the school. But how do we help our children if they just feel generally hard-done-by?
Firstly, we need to give our children empathy. If they believe that they have been wrongly accused of something or are being unfairly punished, then they need to hear that we understand how frustrated they are. Then, when they’ve felt heard, we can gently point out that the world is often unfair and to aim for anything else will only lead to greater frustration. It is also helpful to teach them to have empathy for their teachers. You could point out that teachers are human, that they have bad days and can make mistakes. We can also help our children to brainstorm different ways to handle certain situations. We can role-play by having a chat with a teacher about an issue. It’s better to empower them to be able to deal with issues than to take it out of their hands by doing it ourselves. That way, we are helping our child to build resilience, confidence and independence.
Schools do want to know if there is a serious problem with your child. Dr Briony Scott says that parents should not try to keep up appearances. If your child is struggling, don’t fear being judged by the school. ‘We are here to help, not judge. Don’t try to go it alone.’ But if your child has been given a detention, there’s no need to panic and contact the school. Let the school deal with the issue and trust that your teen is going to be all right.
Extract from The New Teen Age by Dr Ginni Mansberg and Jo Lamble. (Murdoch Books RRP $32.99) How to support today’s tweens and teens to become healthy, happy adults.