Rafed English

Fight in your Child's Corner

The previous rule was all about backing the school up, even when you don't agree with everything they do. But that doesn't have to be unconditional. You have to back them up over the policies and systems in general because that's part of the deal. But other things can crop up that are specific to your child, and you can't always leave the school to deal with it.

Your children needs to know that you're on their side. And when there are serious problems, you're the only one to champion their cause -- and sometimes they need a champion. If the school is not doing enough about bullying, or they're failing to recognize your child's dyslexia, or one particular teacher is making your child's life miserable, of course you need to do something about it. And your children need to know that you're there for them if things get beyond their control. That's what parents are for. The alternative is that your children see you allowing them to go on suffering.

It can be hard sometimes as an adult to remember the feeling of powerlessness you have as a child. Situations we can cope with easily now were impossibly daunting when we were young. And putting up with something for a few months may seem bearable now, but when you're 5 or even 15, a few months can seem to stretch out ahead of you forever. I can remember that sick feeling I used to get (repeatedly) before a lesson when I was going to have to fess up that I hadn't done my homework (again). If you stood me in front of that same teacher today and he tried to tear into me, I'd give as good as I got. But I couldn't back then. Children are conditioned to accept the teacher's authority, and they don't have the skills or the clout to fight the system for themselves. That's when you step in.

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