I don't do this often. I'm pretty laid back and can often look past things. There really isn't much that bothers me but I have started a new job and it has raised some issues in my parenting brain. I got a call a few weeks ago from the high school wondering if I would be interested in an ongoing casual position as an Educational Assistant. Sure. Why not. I liked the wording "ongoing casual". To me it meant not every day but consistent. Ha! So far it's been more ongoing than casual! It has also thrown me waaaayy out of my comfort zone. My kids aren't that age yet so I have no idea how to relate to the junior high students I'm working with. A few times now I have thought I would much rather be at the elementary school. The kids in the classroom I'm in are so varied in personalities that every day is a new day. One day may be good but the next one is not. It can even vary from morning to afternoon! At first I thought it was the kids that were out of control but the more I watch, the more I realize it's the parents. Yup, parents. Most of the kids that make EA's necessary in classrooms have homes where parents are uninvolved in their lives. That has two sides to it; either parents who don't care or parents who think their kids can do no wrong so let them do whatever they want. I am not a parenting expert, I fail at it many times, but I'd like to think I learn as I go. In fact I often feel I'm going faster than I can learn!! Just because your kid reaches their teen years doesn't mean they are finished growing up. They constantly need love, attention and knowledge that their parents have their best interests at heart. Here are just a few points I'd love to bang into certain parents' heads!! (not in any particular order)
1) Be involved in your child's education. This does not mean doing their homework for them but showing interest in what it is they are learning about. Keep them accountable. Don't nag, the natural consequences will show in their marks. Ask which course they are struggling with and offer to help. If you can't help because it's beyond your own ability (pre-calculus maybe?!) find someone who can.
2) Take care of your child's health. Proper diet and exercise goes a long way.
3) Ask where your child is going, with whom and implement a curfew, at least on school nights. They may grumble and complain about having to be home earlier than their friends but it shows them you care about them.
4) Make sure they get enough sleep. There are studies that show kids need between 9 & 12 hours of sleep, depending on the age of the child. I realize that different kids need different amounts of sleep, just make sure they are well rested.
5) Teach your child respect by modelling respect. I can't tell you how many times I've seen kids speak disrespectfully to a teacher. However, I've seen the teacher speak respectfully to the disrespectful student and it's amazing how quickly attitudes change and results happen.
6) Just love your child. Spend quality one on one time with them. Play a game or go for a walk together. Find something that shows them you want to spend time with them and get to know who they are.
Again, these are just my own observations after being at school for three weeks. This does not apply to every child, parent or situation but they are all things to keep in mind as we raise our kids. Our parent/teacher interviews today taught me things about different stages in a child's life and it was eye opening. We may actually not be dealing with a disrespectful attitude at home but an inablility to know how to apply a social skill that's developing. Ron & I are guilty of jumping down our kids throats if we think they are being disrespectful or rude and don't often think about what they are learning outside of the academic realm. Psychology courses should be a requirement for parents!
I could go on and on about this subject (a trait I inherited from my dad!!) but I will stop. I just need to remind myself that as long as we are all parenting to the best of our abilities and love our kids they should turn out alright! Right?