If you have stopped by because the title sounded enticing and you were really looking forward to some hearty discussion about evidence-based practices, you will have to come back another day. You know as readers that we are die-hard evidence-based girls. None the less, today’s topic is actually about parental responsibility of keeping teachers up to date on family matters.
Besides us, as parents, teachers spend more time with our children than any other person in our children’s life. Wow. That is a lot of time. Because of this, teachers may be the first to notice subtle changes in our children’s behaviors, emotions, learning, and friendships.
We, as parents, need to keep teachers informed about events in our children’s lives that may impact their performance at school. We are not suggesting that you air your dirty laundry with your child’s teacher. Instead, we are suggesting that you keep her apprised of serious events.
As adults, we process information differently than children. We have a series of life events, education, and experiences that have formed the way we process information. What may seem like an everyday activity, may be a source of stress for a young child who is still figuring out the world. Factor in hormonal changes that occur with adolescence and your child could have a serious case of the blues at school.
Serious Illness in the Family or Friendship Circle
Illnesses such as cancer are scary for all of us but it is especially scary for children. If you have a friend or family member who is fighting cancer, your child may fear that he/she will catch it. They may begin thinking about death and have questions about the future. Hopefully, you have held those discussions at home. Either way, your child is probably thinking about it.
Change of Living Conditions
As parents, we are good about telling school staff when we move. However, what if the conditions in the home change? What if a relative is moving in for an extended period of time due to a loss of a job? What if the children changed rooms? What if a parent is out of the home to go care for a sick family member? All of these things sound simple for us as adults, but children may not handle the change so easily.
Loss of a Relative
The loss of a cousin, great-aunt, or other distant relative may not result in a cross-country trip to the funeral. Thus, your child’s teacher is most likely unaware of the incident. However, your child is. With the invention of cell phones, many of us have adult conversations all day long when our children are within an earshot of us. They know when these events happen, even if we don’t directly share the information with them.
Loss of a Pet
You know that goldfish that you have been secretly wishing would die? Well even though your child hasn’t fed it, spoken to it, or even looked at it in months, she will fall apart when it’s gone. Endearment for pets is not just limited to living pets. Some children form close bonds with stuffed animals. If one gets a “boo-boo”, it could cause stress for your little one.
We get that you were not planning a pregnancy or that you don’t want the world to know until it is a safer time. However, your little one has probably already picked up on the vibes or even overheard conversations. Nothing is more confusing for children than the age-old question “where do babies come from?” So, while you may want to keep it a secret, it is probably best that your child’s teacher know that you are pregnant. That is far better than her assuming that you are “sick” from too many cocktails the previous night.
Pending Divorce or Separation
No parent wants the neighborhood that things on the home front have fallen apart. However, your child’s teacher needs to know that a separation or divorce is on the horizon. Your child may handle the news when you present it but she may show her feelings differently at school.
These topics are just a few of the things you should share with your child’s teacher. School staff, including your child’s teacher, have received training on how to handle confidential information. Privacy laws prevent your family’s issues from becoming fodder for school gossip. Additionally, schools have a number of different staff available who can assist your child in times of need (e.g., school psychologist, school social worker, and school counselor). However, these trained personnel cannot help if they do not know.
Thus, be sure to keep your child’s teacher in the know so he/she can help your child adjust to life events.
This post will be linked up over at Yeah Write. Go check out all the other posts that have linked up.
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