There’s no question that we as parents love our children. However, with such fast-paced lives today, it’s become all too common for parents to expect “the village” to assist in the raising their children. In other words, many depend on their child’s teachers, coaches, daycare workers, camp leaders, and so on, to do much if not most of the teaching and guiding. These other authorities in the child’s life, although valuable, do not have the emotional connection nor his very best interests at heart as would his own parent.
In order to truly be assured that our children’s experiences in school, camp, sports teams, and in everyday life outside our homes are as positive as possible, it is vital that we as parents do our best to be their advocates.With twins, it’s important to address each child’s interests separately because, fraternal and identical twins alike, will choose different activities to pursue. If a set of twins is in the same class or on the same team, make sure that their teachers, team captains or coaches not treat them as a pair, but see them for their individual strengths, weaknesses and talents that can be beneficial to the class or team.
With school now back in session (or to begin shortly), I try to follow a few rules of thumb when it comes to advocating for my children, as I’ve done for the previous 10 years. I find that these tips have proven, and wanted to pass them on to you:
1. Involve yourself in your kids’ activities:
• Attend parent/teacher conferences (both generally-held and individual) and demonstrate your sincere interest in and complete commitment to your child’s success while you spend one-on-one time with your child’s teacher.
• Connect positively with teachers by showing respect for them, so they may in turn, show respect for you and your child.
• Meet your child’s sports team coaches and establish a rapport with them. Allow them to see you at the sporting events such as the ball games and track meets. When they see your commitment and your consistent presence, they will see your child in a positive light, as well.
2. If a negative issue arises, be the first to initiate a solution, and approach it maturely.
• Show your child’s teacher that you understand that your child may have done wrong, and that you’ll take steps to make sure that it doesn’t happen again, whatever the problem may be.
• If your child was misunderstood, wrongly accused, or in the “wrong place at the wrong time”, it is important that you get the complete and honest story from your child, then initiate a meeting with the authoritative party to get to the heart of the problem. Present yourself with dignity, maturity and without confrontation. There’s a reason why the old adage still holds true today that “you can lure a lot more flies with honey than with vinegar”.
3. It is very important that your child knows that you believe in her, support her, and will always “have her back”.
• Whether the outcome of a difficult situation results in favor or in opposition of your child, let her know that you will never abandon her, that you believe and believe in her, and are proud of the way that she handled a difficult experience, regardless if she was or was not at fault to begin with.
For some valuable questions to ask at your child’s next parent-teacher conference, please visit:
… And please stay tuned for an upcoming post on Becoming an Advocate for your Learning Disabled Child.