Archive for Truth

6 Parent/Teacher Conference Tips Not Often Heard

Parent- teacher conferences are a time where there should be a meeting of the minds.  Teachers should be able to lay out their case for the child’s progress academically, socially, and emotionally.  Parents should be able to compare what they are hearing to what is going on at home.  At that point, a plan should come together as to how to work with the child going forward. It should be the ultimate collaboration crammed into about 15 minutes.

When I was a teacher, I was meticulous about laying out my arguments about how a child was performing before a parent walked through my door.  Instead of dominating the meeting, I would lay out these arguments as quickly as possible in order to allow the parent to agree or disagree with my assessment.  Because I have been on both ends of the parent teacher conference table ( I was an elementary teacher for 7 years) perhaps these tips will guide you through a conference.

 

The first tip is for a parent to keep samples of student work just like a teacher.  This is especially helpful if there is a disputed grade in a subject.  Bring the student work to the conference and compare it with the work the teacher presents.

The second tip is to respect the knowledge of the teacher concerning your child but don’t take it as the law.  You have been around your child for years.  At this point, a teacher has had your child two months (give or take).  I’m not saying that teachers do not know what they are talking about.  What I am saying is that you know your child better than anyone.  There’s nothing wrong with trusting your instincts unless the teacher can present irrefutable evidence.

The third tip is to approach the conference as a problem solver.  The last thing a parent should want is to be lectured for 15 minutes about poor grades or behavior then sent home shamefully.  Let’s pretend there is a behavior problem in the classroom.  As a parent, you should be able to present a few effective methods you have used at home for handling discipline. If concentration is an issue, what do you do at home to help your child concentrate?

The fourth tip is for parents to understand that teachers aren’t the only professionals in the room.  All parents should be treated like professionals because when it comes to your child, you might as well have a PH. D.  If you feel like you are being talked down to or belittled by a teacher, you can choose to address it on the spot.  If you are not confrontational or if you have a situation that catches you off guard; going to the principal is always a good option.

My fifth bit of advice is to not get too excited or too depressed about the results of a parent/teacher conference.  A conference is simply a snapshot in time.  If a conference goes well, be happy for your child but understand there is still more work to do.  If a conference doesn’t go well, that’s fine in most cases.  There is  plenty of time to turn the problem around.

Finally, here’s the key once a conference has concluded.  Follow up with the teacher (in the next couple of weeks) by phone or email to make sure that the game plan from the conference is being implemented to everyone’s satisfaction.  Often, I had parents who I would not see again until the next conference 5 months later.  It’s much better for all parties (especially children) when the parent clearly demonstrates they are keeping their finger on the pulse.

I hope you liked today’s article.  Don’t forget that there are many other lessons parents can learn from my parenting book Tantrums, Troubles, and Treasures.  Feel free to read the preface located right below my picture.  I hope the lessons you will learn from the book will serve your family well.  Here’s the direct link to the book from www.lulu.com:   http://tiny.cc/8gs8o

I also wanted to announce that over this past weekend, I receive the 1,000th comment on www.claytonpaulthomas.com.  For everyone who has ever cared enough to leave a thought on my website, I truly appreciate your time and effort.

My next post will be on Tuesday.  Have a terrific weekend.

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Is it OK to Lie to My Kids

Happy Friday to all of you.  I’m so pleased you have come back to my blog to read this intriging topic from a person I’ll call Joan.  As I was thinking about the answer to today’s question, I felt like I was going through a minefield.  It seemed at every turn, I would make an argument that would eventually blow up.  Hopefully though, I’ve thought this out well enough. Joan (and all of you) can make your own decisions as to whether I am correct.   

Perhaps the best way to start is to lay out my definition of a lie. Therefore, according to Dictionary.com, a lie is “A false statement made with deliberate intent to deceive.”

Joan had some good points to be considered.  She wants her children to know that lying is not the right thing to do.  I would think most of us would agree with that.  She also thought she was being hypocritical if she lied to her kids but enforced the fact that her kids should not lie.   

I may be making a bold statement but I would bet a vast majority of my readers have or will lie to their children for some reason.  For example, who places money under their child’s pillow when they loose a tooth?  How about who comes sliding down the chimney on December 25th?  Finally, who is the best parenting blog writer on the planet? (all right, I made the last one up) While I realize I have readers all over the world, I hope you get my point even if you don’t participate in these particular falsehoods.

The prior examples are what I call lies of innocence-  We tell “stories” to our children to celebrate a certain time or event on their level.  While I understand that it is still lying by definition, I don’t believe there is any harm.  Therefore, you can bet that the Easter bunny will be making a stop at my house in April. 

I was driving through Hamburg when I seen this...Image via Wikipedia

There are other lies though which aren’t so innocent.  Several months ago, I was told a story by a “friend” which really bothered me.  Basically, this person’s mother lied to my friend about who their father really is. This person didn’t find out the truth until her adult years and has understandably been very bitter since.   

In my opinion, lying and whether it is OK can be found in the circumstances.  (Now we are getting in the deep weeds because everyone has to define their own circumstances). Although I am not big into lying to children, I can certainly recognize situations as to why it is done.  Except for the lies of innocence, I’ve often told children I would rather tell the truth and hurt their feelings rather than lie.  For the most part, I’ve stuck with it over the years and haven’t regretted it yet. 

I will say that for any of us, we are taking a risk when we lie even if it is a lie of innocence.  The risk is that we will eventually be caught. If and when that happens, will the modeling we have perpetrated rub off on our kids? In other words, will they believe it is all right to lie based on what we have modeled?  Also, will our overall credibility with our kids be less?  If so, how can we teach future lessons they will listen to and follow?  Finally, as in my prior example concerning the lie about my friends dad, will the lie(s) cause severe harm to the relationship with our children?   

I’d like to believe I select my lies carefully.  While I am the guy singing the accolades about the tooth fairy, I wouldn’t tell my kids on a hot summer day, “when the ice cream man passes and his bell is ringing; that means he is all out.”  Some people may not believe there is a difference because lying is lying.  In the end, it really is a personal decision.

To sum it up for Joan, is it ok to lie to your kids?  Probably not.  But, I don’t think when my children learn the truths behind some of the little lies, it will affect them or their ability to tell the truth due to the nature of the lie. Only time will tell if I am right and that’s no lie.

On Monday, I will be throwing an education blog your way.  Over the weekend, I would like you to think of your favorite magicians/illusionists. Their “escapes” from situations are pretty amazing, aren’t they?  I’m going to compare these performers with teachers in some of your kids classrooms.

Have some fun with your family this weekend and I’ll see you Monday!