We Talk Too Much
Hey, parents! I mean it. Probably in general (ha!) but specifically we talk
Talking and talking to our upset children is counterproductive because the noise gives them increased sensory input and further dysregulates them.
I’m not asking you to do nothing.
Instead, try nonverbal communication. Try holding them. Or a hug. Maybe rub their shoulders. Sometimes a gentle smile will do the trick. But focus on giving them a vehicle that will help calm them down.
Then, we can introduce redirection with words that can address the issue on a more logical level.
Struggling with your child’s behavior? Maybe they are back talking. Or not listening. Or combative to your ideas, suggestions, and frustrations.
You don’t have to look outside the parenting relationship for answers. Be confident the answers can be found for both parent and child within the parent/child dynamic. Put your efforts into the actual experience of relating to your children and ignore the headline-grabbing sound bites you see all over social media. There isn’t a one size fits all quick fix, no cookie cutter approach.
Be present and open and create the space necessary to allow your child to be who they are. Then you are positioned to respond to their needs i
You are your child’s primary teacher. The number one. The head honcho. The most important influencer in your child’s education.
As a teacher, this fact is both a beautiful and troubling thing. It’s beautiful because it makes sense and is extremely powerful when done with intentionality. It’s troubling because too few parents take that role seriously, which has some pretty adverse effects on my role. It’s also troubling because, as a teacher, no matter how much I love your child or how much time I spend investing in her, I will never have the impact you do.
That, for a teacher, is a little defeating.
We assume this fact can be a little troubling for parents as well. We live in a society that demands. Jobs, sports, social activities, religious functions, gym, errands, the list goes on and on. As the adult in your family, you have to prioritize what is most important or things begin to fall by the wayside. After a long day of running around, it can be easy to forget to go over your child’s homework. That email from the teacher? It can wait. You begin to rationalize your decisions. But as your child’s primary teacher, education has to be one of your top priorities.
How to be the Teacher Your Child Needs in the Midst of a Busy, Chaotic Life
- Demonstrate a Value for Education
If your child is sick, keep her home. But, if she’s not and there are no emergencies, send her to school. Make school important to your child by making it a priority that she is present and on time. Absenteeism is defined as missing 10 percent or more of the school year, which only takes about 15 accumulated days of school absences for your child to be considered “chronically absent”, putting her at-risk of falling behind (U.S. Department of Education). Parents, this includes all absences: excused and unexcused. And, in many districts, tardy minutes accumulate to absences as well. Make school a priority when your children are young to discourage truancy and absenteeism when they are older. Every minute counts. Talk positively about school and education. If you rip on your child’s teacher in front of him, it will impact the relationship your child has with that teacher. Take up any disagreements or concerns you have with your child’s teacher or school with the appropriate people, not your child.
- Make Education a Way of Life
“Every moment is a teachable moment”. Make this your mantra as a parent. If you are cooking in the kitchen, invite your child to read and measure the ingredients (This becomes a literacy and math lesson – double bonus!). If you are driving, allow your child to interpret Google maps and lead the way (This is a duel hitter too – literacy and geography!). When you’re in line at the grocery store, read headlines and labels with your child. Look for opportunities to teach your child life lessons, behavior lessons, and educational lessons.
Lead the Way
Whether its taught or not, we learn. Your children are learning, whether you’re teaching them or not. They learn just as much from what you don’t do as they do from what you do. We’ve already established that you have the most influence on your child of everyone. So, set the example. Let your child see you reading. Let your child see you writing. Read aloud. Write together. Have meaningful discussions.