by Chris Taylor MFT, Author “Back To Basics”
How many times have we heard or used the cliché, “what are you going to do, work at McDonalds?” Parents try to instill the love for education in their teens to give them a better future. For many families this is a smooth sailing process with only the occasional difficulty. For others, it is a source of constant stress and worry. Regardless of whether it is occasional or more frequent, her are three tips to addressing any school issue.
1. Engage the school. As a parent it is important to know who is in your teen’s life. This does not only mean the other kids they are hanging out with. From the very first day of the school year, email all your teens teachers. Let them know who you are. Let them know past struggles and what you have known to be successful in the past. Teachers are overworked and stressed and welcome the insight and help you can provide. This connection also ensures you will hear of problems as they occur not once the evolve into bigger issues.
2. Set meetings and make sure the teen is present. Teach your teen that you will create a forum for issues to be addressed but that they need to own the process by showing up and contributing to the dialogue. Do not let them play the victim and teach them how to prepare an agenda and effectively communicate their beliefs. Too many times we coddle our teens in these situations instead of teaching them the responsible way of handling problems. Parents are partners in this process.
3. Teach your teen to let go of the need to like or be liked by teachers. So, may teens will give their power and control away because a teacher doesn’t like them. Here’s the truth, they are probably right, but who cares. If the focus is on mean old Ms. Patterson, then they are victimizing themselves and setting up a justification for lack of effort. Do not allow your teen to reject the class because their feelings are hurt. They will suffer in the long run and mean old Ms. Patterson could care less. Teach your teen to deal with negative personalities by conquering with performance and killing with kindness. This skill will serve them well for the rest of their life.
With these three tips you can help partner with your teen to teach them that life isn’t fair, bad teachers are a reality, but ultimately that should have no bearing whatsoever on their education. Help your teen mature by teaching them the realities of life in a proactive, process oriented approach.