Academic success is not everything.

Your child’s ability to achieve exam success is not a reflection on your ability as a parent. However, having a child that is teachable, respectful, resilient, self-controlled, and tries their best is a direct reflection on your parenting. Some children are academic, and some aren’t. However, every child will have talents and potential that the school will try to draw out. Don’t get so obsessed with results that you fail to see the efforts the school is making to help your child become a well-rounded individual. However, support the school by setting up a good homework routine, and giving your child enough sleep, nourishment and a good attitude, so your child can perform at their best.

Teachers are human and need appreciation

If you are going to see your child’s teacher, about a problem, please remember that, first and foremost, a teacher is human. Greet her respectfully, and take some time to mention, by name, the things you appreciate she has done. Don’t forget to do this repeatedly, throughout the year. That way she is much happier to deal with your concerns because she knows you are not just a ‘Moaning Minnie!’ Your child’s teacher is likely to be working all hours to plan lessons, and help your child succeed. Try to keep up her morale!

Children sometimes ‘change the story’

It’s important not to believe everything your child says. When talking about incidents, children often unconsciously change the facts, to make them look like the helpless victim, and others appear selfish, thoughtless or bullying. Every courtroom in the country must unpick two opposing stories to get at the truth. Take what your child says with a pinch of salt and have an open mind. Sometimes it’s good to support your child to deal with a problem themselves, to talk through solutions and empower them to deal with conflict or difficult situations, rather than feel you must ‘fix’ every situation for your child.

Stop blaming the teacher

It is very hard, when things are not going well for your child, not to blame the teacher. Of course, there are times when a teacher will make mistakes, just like we all do. However, when you blame the teacher, for a poor test result, or something going wrong, your child loses the valuable lesson in taking responsibility, being proactive, thinking of solutions and being determined to succeed.

Dealing with ‘Bullying’

Try not to blame the teacher or the school if your child is bullied. It’s not their fault. They will undoubtedly do their best to deal with it. Interestingly, however, most ‘bullying’ incidents are just children with immature poor social skills. Children don’t always know how to deal with other children respectfully. They may try out different behaviours to get their own way. They don’t always use the right words to ask for what they want and are sometimes a bit rough. The definition of bullying is: ‘Repeated, unwanted, aggressive behaviour that involves a real or perceived power imbalance.’ It’s important to let the school know about any repeated aggressive behaviour towards your child. The facts – the dates, time, and exactly what happened, so they can deal with, and help, the children involved. You can support your child by listening to them, helping them explore solutions, working out the best way to react, following up, and supporting their efforts to deal with difficult personalities or playground fusses. There will be ‘bullies’ in every school, college and job your child will ever attend. If you can teach your child to be bully-proof, you will provide them with an invaluable life skill.

Remember the end goal

Your child goes to school to be educated and to learn skills that will equip them for life. It’s good to work with the school, alongside them, and do everything you can to support the school. To make sure that by the time your child leaves school, they are well-educated, respectful, hard-working, well-rounded and self-disciplined. Treat the school as allies in this venture, and your child will thrive.

child behavioural expert
The author:

Elizabeth O’Shea is a parenting specialist child behaviour expert and one of the leading parenting experts in the UK.

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