So How Involved Do I Really Have to Be?
Let me lay it out bluntly, I do not like dealing with teachers, their phone calls, and the general mess of issues that comes from my child’s one tiny infraction of school code. Sorry, I have to deal with administration and bureaucracy in my daily job, forgive me if I don’t feel like dealing with it in my child’s life as well. However, I also realize that these teachers might have something important to say, and I certainly don’t want to be raising the neighborhood bully whose parents don’t care about his, or her, actions. When it comes down to it, there are some things that I think a kid is just a kid about, and some things that might warrant a lecture or grounding.
To start off with something that a kid is just a kid about, take swearing as an example. Kids are gonna do it. They’re going to find out that adults do not like it, and that’s swearing is taboo and exciting. They’re going to spout off every swear and curse they know, count them on their fingers, and compare who knows more. And this is a great social opportunity. A chance to get to know other kids, to converse, to get excited about being in a group, and that’s good. And true, nobody likes a potty-mouth all the time, so kids learn, they adapt. You don’t swear around the teacher and the grown ups, but if you’re among friends, hey, its open season. And if that isn’t convincing enough, I think of it this way, some of the most intelligent and well spoken people I know are in excellent command of their cursing powers.
Something that’s a little more serious is the bullying. That has a real chance of seriously hurting another child’s ability to learn in a school environment, and disrupting the “safe” feeling of school. Children naturally feel the need to roughhouse, and sometimes it just so happens that the bigger child wins more often. But horsing around should always be fun for both parties, and when it stops being fun, its starts to be bullying. Confronting a kid about bullying is pretty difficult, it’s hard to strike a medium between coming on too strong, and coming on so timidly that your child ignores you. There isn’t any need for loud yelling, or the menacing whisper though, a firm voice backed up by concrete punishment is often enough to send your kid back onto the right path. Teachers are usually quite persistent about this one, and since they are with the children for the largest amount of time, they can sort of keep an eye out for you.
In any situation, communication is the key, with your child and with his teachers. It is true that the last thing we want to deal with after a day’s work is hearing bad things about our kids, but isn’t that a small price to pay for raising a great member of society?