Dr. Maddahi Dentistry September 2018

INVOLVED BUT NOT OVERBEARING Parent-Teacher Etiquette to Support Your Child’s Development

Helicopter parents are the bane of every teacher’s existence. With the return of back-to-school season, it’s vital to find a happy medium between the tiger mom who bares her teeth at the smallest setback in her child’s schooling and the laissez-faire parent who is totally disengaged from their kid’s education. Here are a few tips to keep you involved in your child’s educational development while fostering relationships with their teachers in a way that won’t drive all of you up the wall. 1. Be a little empathetic. Teachers are some of the hardest-working people in the world, wrangling the disparate needs of around 25 children day in and day out while attempting to get them to actually learn something. It’s a high-stress, low-paying job. In the midst of grading 300 research papers written by 12-year-olds, the last thing they need is the added pressure of concerned parents bearing down on them. If you can approach a teacher from a position of understanding and be willing to give them the benefit of the doubt, you’ll be off to a good start. 2. Show up and keep an open mind. Ask any teacher in the country, and they’ll undoubtedly tell you that one of the best predictors of a child’s success is whether or not their parents make an appearance at parent- BEFORE AFTER &

teacher conferences. Your engagement should go beyond that. Use the teacher’s preferred method of communication to stay in semi-regular contact with them— always ensuring that you keep an open mind about any praise, suggestions, or concerns they have about your child. 3. Teach your child to take responsibility. Aside from leaving your kid completely to their own devices, one of the worst things you can do is swoop in to solve their problems for them at the slightest hint of adversity. Maybe that D your kid got on their algebra test really was their fault. It’s important to acknowledge your child’s missteps, but you should also try to equip them with the tools necessary to advocate for themselves. Learning to articulate what’s going wrong or what they need from their teacher will help them to develop positive and effective communication skills. The key is to work together with your child’s teacher without being overbearing. Don’t come in with guns blazing at the first sign of an educational slip. Think of your kid’s schooling as a collaborative effort — maybe one in which you’re a little less involved than the teacher — and you’ll be giving your child the best chance of success.

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