Parent-Teacher Conferences

I always dreaded Parent-Teacher conferences. I was the teacher. I knew what I was in for when the angry parent charged through my door with the report card grasped in hand. “Why did you give my daughter a D?”

My reply?

“I didn’t give your daughter anything. She earned a D and I reported it.”

As parents, we want to protect our children. That’s natural. But sometimes we over react and want to blame someone else when, actually, our children are to blame. And when we finally realize our children are to blame, we want to fix it for them.

“What can my daughter do for extra credit to fix this D?”

My reply?
“She can begin by doing the work that was assigned to her. Why should I let her choose what to do? If I give her extra credit work, I am telling her that the original work is not that important.”

Finally, the parent is desperate.

“I don’t know what to do. She’s on that computer all night talking with her friends. And this job she has is just making her tired.”

My reply?

“Take the computer out of her room. Tell your daughter to quit her job. Her job is school.”

“But I don’t want her to hate me!”

My reply?

I stare.

Today’s children are growing up faster than the generation before them thanks to TV, cell phones, video games, and our changing society. They want it all, and as parents, we want it all for them. But sometimes, we’ve got to bite the bullet and face reality. They are children. They may have a driver’s license, they may have a job, but they are still children who are swayed too easily by others.

If we want our children to do well in school, we need to make school the priority, not jobs and not socializing.

What can you do?

Don’t put a computer in your child’s bedroom. Have one family computer where you can see it.
Don’t let your child have a regular job during the school year. Babysitting or mowing lawns are fine, but regular work hours raise havoc with the demands put on children today.
Monitor their socializing. How much time are they spending on their cell phone? Are they out and about during the school week?
Set up a regular study time. Check the school’s website. Many teachers have the assignments online. This way you can monitor homework.
Support your child and understand that school is stressful, but you are there to guide them, not fix it.

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