Meet the Parents Effective communication with children’s families
Families today…. • Different configurations and relationships; • Parents overscheduled, and so are children; • Products of a culture of entitlement; • Don’t spend a lot of time together (except in the car); • Children are alone more; • Expect the school to furnish many services.
What’s the problem? • Parents inappropriately involved in children’s lives; • Parents stressed; • Parents living vicariously; • See them as gifted or helpless; • Had no/poor role models themselves; • Kids/parents expect rewards; • Don’t want children to suffer consequences; • Clueless w/respect to children’s aspirations; • Don’t see themselves as educators.
Listen to them: • “Well I only want my child to be happy.” • “Not my child; my child would NEVER do that.” • “You have to give her a break.” • “We don’t have time for that.” • “Rules are made to be broken.”
Listen to us: • “I don’t care if you forgot your books.” • “I treat everyone the same.” • “The rule’s the rule.” • “ You need to know this for the test.” • “Sit down, be quiet, and listen.”
What makes generations? • Culture: e.g. kind of music, movies, books, etc. • History: e.g. influence of death of JFK vs. 9/11/2001 • Values: e.g. hard work vs. luck • Life ambition: be productive vs. be rich • Ethics: honesty vs. cleverness
What’s this Generational Stuff? • Baby boomers: Born c.1943-1960 • Doting parents (helicopter parents) • Meddle too much in lives of older children • Get along well with offspring; try to spare them pain of failure • Seek “quality time” with their kids Source: Steinberg, et.al. (2004) 10 Basic Principles of Good Parenting
Generations, cont’d • Generation X: born c.1961-1980 • Protective, concerned about societal influences • Many were latchkey kids themselves because both parents worked • Watched their parents divorce • Want to spend more time w/kids • Dads more hands-on • Pride in family stability • Pride in stay-at-home moms Source: Steinberg, et.al. op.cit.
Generations, cont’d • Millennials: born c.1976-2000 • Good relationships w/their own parents • Have formed multigenerational households • Embrace technology • Want balanced lives for their kids • Allow their children more freedom to be creative, less tied to structured activities Source: Steinberg, et.al. op.cit.
Backlash on kids: Less independent children Expectation of reward for “showing up” Confined play, roaming distance Expect parents to fight their battles Fill up their time (and travel) with technology Are more expected to have counseling for PTSD
What is Gen X Looking For? • Family, family activities • Technology as a source of information • Educational achievement • E-marketing • Traditional values • Instant feedback • Truth in advertising
Support for school policies; Support for teachers’ decisions; Help with homework and assignments; Response to teachers’ notes, messages; Presence at school activities; Provision of school supplies, lunch, clothing; Supplement/follow-through with lessons; Accountability for children’s whereabouts What do we expect from parents?
Quality instruction; Order and discipline in school and classroom; Fairness; Individual consideration of the child; Updates on child’s progress; Communication of problems; Teachers’ presence at activities; Bang for the buck. What do parents expect?
Communication media • School/classroom newsletters • Notes, letters • Phone calls • P/T conferences • E-mails
Concern over academic progress; Behavior problems; Learning difficulties; Serious incidents that may involve health/safety Discussion of child’s accomplishments; Get acquainted; Reminders Schedule a meeting or conference When should teachers contact parents?
Hints: • Written notes should be free of grammar, spelling errors. • Your principal should see every note that goes home. • Check that the note describes the child’s behavior, problem. It should not label the child.
How’s your grammar? • Every child should have their school supplies. • Children will be allowed to choose between bowling, gardening and sports. • The principle will drive Andrew and I to and from school. • The lunch period will have it’s own supervisor. • It’s important that each child be on time. • This country is for we the people.
More Hints • NEVER give out your personal e-mail address or home phone number. • Face-to-face is always best. • Always be objective and focused on behavior; beware labels or names. • NEVER prescribe a medical solution. • Have sample of child’s work available.
Even more hints: • Avoid argument; keep focused on the subject. • NEVER compare siblings. • Start meetings with a prayer. • Don’t get personal; you’re the professional. • Set up the objectives before the meeting. • Check for understanding/use follow-up.
Remember: Parents expect communication. Parents expect you to provide personal attention to their children. Parents expect you to know your material and your craft. Parents expect you to be fair in your handling of various situations. What goes on in the classroom is curriculum; what leaves the classroom is marketing.
A note: Susie is usually prompt with assignments and works hard in class. Lately, however, she has failed to turn in assignments, and seems to have stopped trying hard to learn. Write a note to Susie’s parents describing the problem and suggesting a solution. Share your note with a neighbor and point out effective and ineffective points.
A phone call Kyle has been observed hitting other students in his sixth grade class. Several of his classmates have complained to you that Kyle threatens them with retaliation if they don’t share their homework and other assignments. Make a phone call to Kyle’s parents to share this information and discuss what should be done.
A conference Tiffany’s mother has called to schedule a conference with you. She won’t tell you what she wants to discuss. What do you do?
A conference Tiffany’s mother, a single parent, has been told by her daughter that you don’t like her because her father is not present in the home. Tiffany also has told her mother that you always make fun of her assignments because they aren’t always done on a computer.