Everyone says it. Communication is key.
The most important thing to remember when supporting your child who struggles academically, behaviorally in school, is that you as their parent are their best advocate.
Sounds great, but how do we do this? Have you ever been in a school meeting about your child and started to feel like you are the child being sent to the principal’s office? I’ve been there. Really, I have. So how can we move from that feeling of the helpless child who is in trouble, to your child’s best advocate who is going to save the day and make it all better?
A few words of advice:
- Don’t go it alone! Bring someone with you for emotional and practical support. This could be:
- An educational consultant
- Your child’s therapist or tutor
- A supportive family member or spouse
- Preparation is key! Write out some ideas that you would like to bring up to the team, such as: why you feel your child is struggling, the kind of support you’d like him/her to get and why. It is so much easier to communicate effectively when you are not feeling emotional, so thinking things through and writing down ideas ahead of time, when you are calm and can practice, is super helpful.
- Talk to your child in advance of the meeting. Even young children may have some insight into why things are not going well. They may not have all the answers but hearing from them, what they think is tripping them up in school, can give you some pretty good insight.
- Everyone is on the same team! Keep this in mind. While not the case, 100% of the time, this is almost always true. The school your child attends, wants the best for him/ her and most likely just needs a little help figuring out what that is. Showing them you’re a willing partner who wants to work collaboratively to meet a common goal, goes a long way!
- You don’t have to have all the answers! You don’t need to solve all of your child’s problems, there are professionals that can help. Don’t be afraid to reach out!
Hadassa Meyers, MA
Director of Educational Services