My child tells me about an injustice that happened at school. My protective instinct quickly kicks in and urges me to defend my child and, in my emotional state, I agree that he is completely in the right. So, I pick up the phone to defend my little one…
This has happened to everyone, especially if your children are between 5 and 25, like mine. Why? Simply because things have changed.
Forty or fifty years ago, teachers represented an institution; they were practically untouchable. Whatever happened, they were right, and there were no ifs, ands or buts about it. Our parents didn’t question whether the teacher had made the right decision or had punished us mistakenly. Respecting authority was of utmost importance and there was no questioning that.
Today, however, this authority gets questioned. It is examined under a microscope, dissected and criticized. Being a teacher has gradually lost its prestige and credibility.
And yet! Professionals who have studied arduously for years to light the flicker of knowledge in our children are doing their best, everything they can do, in the current conditions.
Conditions that sometimes prevent them from seeing everything. Sometimes, they might have to make a quick decision and solve a conflict without knowing all the facts. Sometimes, they might make mistakes…
That isn’t a reason not to trust them. When our children tell us about something that happened, it’s always told through the lens of their emotions and perceptions.
“He’s always picking on me!”
“She doesn’t like me!”
And sometimes, to avoid being scolded, children might even make themselves sound better in the story. That’s completely normal.
Here are tips to avoid useless conflicts:
- In every case, good communication is key.
- From the very start, establish a positive relationship with your child’s teacher or tutor, as you will be sharing your child’s education with them for the next 200 days. For example, at the first parent-teacher meeting, you go up and introduce yourself to the teacher, ask them about their experience and interests, or just tell them about your expectations for the year.
- Check with the teacher that what your child said is true. Aren’t there always two sides to every story?
- Get your child involved in the discussion and problem solving; they will learn simply by watching how you act.
These few tips will help you clear up most of the situations that seem unfair at first, but that are easily explained once you dig a little further.
We still need to help our children understand other people’s points of view and learn to clear up misunderstandings on their own.
And what if, by some unfortunate design, they are right? What if, out of all the teachers out there, they ended up with an ill-intentioned one? Without saying that’s impossible, it’s certainly extremely unlikely.
If you think that’s the case, there are other allies who can help you get to the truth of the matter, like school management, psychologist, psychoeducators or paraprofessional staff. These people are there to help you, listen to you and search for satisfactory solutions with you and your children. There’s no problem that can’t be solved.
In the words of Mark Twain:
“They didn’t know it was impossible so they did it.”
In a previous post, I offered you some food for thought regarding the right time to see a therapist. If you decided to go for it, good job! That takes a lot of courage. Now that you've made your choice, you have a few not-so-easy steps to take before your first appointment. Here is a series of posts meant to help demystify the process by explaining what you can expect once you’ve decided to seek the help of a therapist.Read →