Trouble at School? How Parents Can Respond

Trouble at School? How Parents Can Respond

Although school progress reports have arrived,  it doesn’t look good. Maybe your son is missing multiple assignments,  and his grades are dropping fast.

You  try to talk about it, but you get angry or frustrated.

So how can you effectively respond to trouble at school?  That is what many parents want to know.

Here are two effective ways to respond to your child’s school troubles:

1. Pause before jumping to action.  Jump to action is a natural response. You see a failing grade and immediately start worrying about what this means for your child’s future, so you ground him for the rest of the semester until his grades improve. Or, you hear about a fight at school and march in to confront the principal, who, in your opinion, has never been fair to your daughter.

These are serious issues and they do require action, but just pause for a few moments before you take the next step. Pause and take a deep breath.

2. Ask yourself: What’s my part here?  School issues often push our buttons. Perhaps you had some hard experiences at school and you don’t want the same thing to happen to your child. Whatever the situation, it’s important to remember that this is your child’s experience at school–not your own. These missing assignments are his to complete, not yours.

Try to separate your feelings and reactions from your next step. Ask yourself,

What part can I play in responding to this without doing my child’s work for them?

  • Your role might be to hold your child accountable and make a plan for him to make up the missing assignments.
  • You might decide to meet with teachers or school counselors about getting your child some extra support at school.
  • Maybe your role is to be an advocate for your child and bring your concerns to the principal or superintendent.  Make a plan for how you can be involved.

If you are feeling stuck with what your role or plan should be, try reaching out to the school. Ask who is available to help you and your child. See if you can meet with your child’s teacher or school counselor to talk about what is happening and how you can help find a solution.

What happens next will depend on the situation! But starting with these two steps can help you find your way forward.