Friday, August 29, 2014

Using Our Language Filter, Even When It's Hard

School has (or will be) starting.  Your child will simply not be happy every single moment of every single day at school.   Mrs. Smith will have treated him unfairly.  Mr. Jones will have singled her (and ONLY her) out for absolutely NO reason at all.  Michael will have pushed him down on the playground and no one did anything about it, even when he told a grown-up.  And, one of the worst...all of the girls sat together at lunch and excluded your daughter.  She sat alone.  I am not being sarcastic, exclusion is one of the worst feelings a child can experience.  As the year goes on, I'll try and tackle some of these issues individually, but for today I'd like to discuss your immediate reaction, as a parent, to the statements (or those similar) made above.

1.  You know your child.  He/she's looking for some empathy.  Go ahead and give it.  Listen.  Just listen, with out a reaction.  I often tell people to 'keep your face'.  Be mindful of your facial expression.  Don't lose it, even if you want to.  Show empathy, but try real hard not to let the anger flow through or deep sadness for the situation they are describing.

2.  Then question.  You really are only getting 1 version of the truth. What would have motivated your child's offender to do what he/she did?   Most people are generally good people.  I'd like to say that again.  Most people are generally good.  We have to work on believing that.  We use a court system that prescribes to innocent until proven guilty.  Wouldn't it be great if we believed that most people are here for good, rather than here to harm?

3. Please do not react negatively.  Use a language filter.  Once your child sees that you've lost control and are in an negative emotional reaction, they've 'got you'.  It's possible you are done being reasonable.  It will be difficult for you to listen to the teacher's version of what happened.  Keep your mind open, and you thoughts inside.

4.  Wait 24 hours.  As the evening progresses at home and your child sees your non-reaction, maybe more of the truth will come out.  Maybe not.  In the morning, when all are calm, make an appointment with the appropriate school personnel to discuss what is happening with an open mind.  I always recommend having your child present at these conferences (especially if they are age 8+).  They can be accountable and can hold others accountable for their actions.

So, go ahead and have a flurry of thoughts in your head!  Just keep them from coming out in front of your child.  Children are so smart.  You made them that way!

Keep it simple...calm, and cool!  ♥D

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