Allying with your child's teachers

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Allying with your child's teachers

I've often advocated that if we are to help our children truly be resilient, teachers and parents have to work very closely together. And each has to understand the other person's role. I think it's really helpful right at the beginning of the year for a parent to write a note to say if any questions come up or if I can be of help in any way, please let me know. Another thing teachers have told me is that some teachers, the first time they notify a parent is if there's a problem. So I've gone to a number of schools where teachers before there's a problem will even send a note home, and now it can be through email, just saying something nice that a child has done. And also being available to the parent. I think where it becomes more problematic is if a child is really struggling in school and having difficulty. I think it's very important to have regular meetings where parents and teachers sit down together. I know as a therapist, I used to have meetings, regular meetings, where I would attend, the parents would be there, the teachers, the principle, because the more you can really problem solve and brainstorm together, the more you can be of help to that child. And the other, for me, one of the most important things is we have to avoid making someone defensive. I remember one teacher, I know she was upset, said to the parent, "Your child is one of the worst children I've ever taught." And right away that meeting went way awry. But I've also had a parent say to a teacher, "Last year my son was fine. What are you doing with him this year?" And so right away they were very defensive. We have to go in recognizing that the focus has to be on helping the child.

View Robert Brooks, PhD's video on Allying with your child's teachers...


Expert Bio

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Robert Brooks, PhD

Therapist & Author

Dr. Robert Brooks is a psychologist on the faculty of Harvard Medical School.  He has lectured nationally and internationally and written extensively about the themes of resilience, parenting, family relationships, school climate, and balancing our personal and professional lives. He is the author or co-author of 15 books and has also appeared in several videos pertaining to helping children to become more responsible, self-disciplined, hopeful, and resilient.

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