Maximize Your Child’s School Success

By Katherine Smith
Katherine Smith
Katherine Smith
is a licensed marriage and family therapist as well as a gifted divorce mediator in NYC. She is a former high school English teacher and college counselor with a passion for enhancing the lives of others. Additionally, Katherine has extensive training in Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) for couples, family systems, and group therapy. Readers can contact her at AskKathyMFT@gmail.com.
October 19, 2013 Updated: April 24, 2016

One of the key components to your child’s academic success is the relationship you develop with school staff. Like all relationships, it requires nurturing. Follow the tips below to create a positive environment for your child in and out of the classroom.  

Assume that your child’s teachers and related staff want your child to be successful, even when you feel otherwise. Feelings are not facts. Barring clear evidence to the contrary, give school personnel the benefit of the doubt. Your attitude towards them will greatly influence the way both you and your child are treated. Additionally, your child’s attitudes towards education, school, teachers, and authority figures in general are greatly influenced by your attitudes. Keep it positive!

  • Display consistent interest in what your child is studying
  • Attend parent programs and parent-teacher conferences
  • Volunteer if possible
  • Expect your child to follow school rules
  • Encourage your child to work up to his/her academic potential
  • Make sure that your child arrives to school on time
  • Remain in regular communication with teachers
  • Check the school’s website regularly and stay informed

When you do face a school-related problem, such as a conflict with a staff member, resolve it as quickly and completely as possible. Get the facts from your child, and allow him/her to process ensuing emotions. However, resist the temptation to speak ill of the school or staff member with your child, another staff member, or another school parent. (Please note: If it is a safety issue and a child has been or is likely to be harmed, all bets are off. Speak to everyone involved including local law enforcement!)

If appropriate to the situation and age of the child, encourage your child to resolve it. If you need to step in, schedule a meeting with the staff member and stick to the facts. Keep your emotions in check. Either the situation will be resolved on the spot or you will need to schedule a follow-up meeting with the staff member and/or a supervisor. Regardless of the outcome of the meeting(s), don’t speak poorly of the school/staff to your child or others at the school.

Relationships with others are like gardens. Beware what you choose to plant and water!

Happy Fall,

Kathy

P.S. I have worked as a high school English and ESL teacher as well as a guidance counselor. Proactive, positive parents are a pleasure to deal with!

Readers, I encourage your feedback. If you have a situation which you would like some advice about, send your letters to AskKathyMFT@gmail.com. Please include your contact information. I look forward to hearing from you!

 

is a licensed marriage and family therapist as well as a gifted divorce mediator in NYC. She is a former high school English teacher and college counselor with a passion for enhancing the lives of others. Additionally, Katherine has extensive training in Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) for couples, family systems, and group therapy. Readers can contact her at AskKathyMFT@gmail.com.