Why I don’t think my children are always right
Being a teacher has never been easy, but it seems to me that it is becoming more difficult these days. This post is dedicated to a great woman and teacher Sanja Tomic, a wonderful friend of mine.
There is a trend (at least here in Serbia) that parents think they should protect their children in every given situation. Now we have teachers who are not allowed to confront children, risking to have to deal with difficult parents.
And by difficult, I do not refer to those who question their child’s teacher’s decisions with common sense or ask for an explanation of some specific actions, in a friendly way, but to those who are prepared to defend their children at any cost.
I refuse to be one of those. First of all, I had been a teacher, and I know how dealing with the kids (although teenagers) looks like first hand. Secondly, I am a parent.
My husband and I are not perfect, so we do not expect our two boys to be perfect either. I’ve been aware of their weaknesses since the day they were born. Some I help them overcome, and some I let them deal with themselves. And I think every parent can identify with it.
So, why do some parents become aggressive and strange when a teacher is trying to point out some of their cubs’ flaws? I’ve heard many times from my fellow teachers, that their biggest problem at work is not children, but parents.
My opinion is that parents are overprotective. When their children are criticized, they don’t see it as a constructive suggestion, and they feel like they are under attack. They may feel as if someone is jeopardizing their precious offspring. I would be lying if I said that it is nice to listen what your child did wrong and feel as if that was directly your fault. But my tactic is to count to (at least) ten and think it through.
Secondly, teachers have lost their power to “nurture.” Instead, they have widely been restricted in their actions by school regulations and laws. In Serbia, their hands are cuffed. They are expected to teach no matter the discipline in the classroom, which is just impossible. Don’t get me wrong. I am not advocating those methods of spanking and making them kneel on corn. But some measures have to be put in place. Their only option in Serbia is sending children to school psychologist or director, and I believe that it is more stressful both for children and parents (and teachers after all) than sending them to the corner of the room to calm down.
Thirdly, parents do not have time to deal with their children. A call from a teacher in this busy world means just another item in their overbooked schedule. That is the worst excuse, but I see it around me. Parents want everything to be perfect, and they have no time and capacity to deal with yet another problem. They want their children to be their joy and not a problem.
Well, dear parents, we have chosen to bring to the world these little diamonds, and they are not and will not be perfect ever! Bear in mind that teachers are on the same mission as you are; they are not the enemies but allies (and in most cases underpaid allies). Work with them, for the benefit of what is the most important to you.
And you will do your kids a favor, not teaching them that they are immaculate, but showing them that no one is perfect, everyone makes mistakes, and they can be corrected. You will indirectly tell them that they are not bad themselves, but that particular act was not good and that they can do better. You will boost their confidence. That way, you will make a stronger bond with them, and you will show them that they can always come to you for support if they encounter some difficulties in the future.
And most importantly, you will teach them that there are limits because children need limits to make them feel safe. Otherwise, they are lost. Just like us.
Jelena is a working mom of two boys, philologist, writer, project manager, DIY crafter, singer — you name it! Forever learner!
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