Friends vs. Teachers vs. Parents

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Friends vs. Teachers vs. Parents

There are a lot of reasons it is important that other adults play a major roles in your kids´ lives. And this is one that parents really need to understand. Prior to puberty, if you ask a child if you have a problem who are you going to talk to, first on the list are parents. Second are teachers. Third are friends. It feels great. You are the manager then. When it flips and you become the consultant, all of a sudden the most important are friends, teachers and parents are last, which scares us because the stakes have gone up. It is driving. It is alcohol. It is drugs. It is sex. It is grades. It is the future. So it is really scary to be third. Teachers, however, are in the middle the whole time. You want to take advantage of these relationships. The best way I know to do this is when you know who your son or daughter´s favorite teacher is or favorite coach, call that person and have a very short conversation. It will go something like this: I am calling. I am Sara´s mom. She is in your history class. Oh yeah, Sara is in the class. And I am calling for just a couple reasons. One is I just want to let you know we are the kind of family that wants to know what is going on with our kids so if you ever see anything going on that concerns you, please let us know. Because what we want to do as parents is invite in these other observations. The second thing you want to say is you are her favorite teacher and I am just curious as to what she is like in your class. You will hear the pause as they go favorite teacher. And you go yeah, she really loves your class. She talks about it all the time. Because as a teacher myself, you do not know. It is hard to say whether you are someone´s favorite teacher or not. And as soon as you tell them that, the beauty if you just changed the relationship because now if I know that I am your favorite teacher, I am going to push you a little bit harder. You know I have got the relationship. I am going to care about you in a different way. I am going to reach out to you in a different way. I am going to look out for you in a different way, which means as a parent I now know that the favorite teacher is there for my son or daughter and they are really going to be an advocate and it does not get much better than this. The only caution I have in this, you can only do it with one or two teachers. You cannot call all the teachers at school. I see some parents. I will call everybody and make it really work wonderful. No, it has got to be the one or two and they will really go out of there way to make sure your son or daughter is safe.

Watch Michael Riera, PhD's video on Friends vs. Teachers vs. Parents...


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Michael Riera, PhD

Head Of School, Brentwood School

Michael Riera, PhD, Educator, Author, Media Personality, and Speaker. Michael Riera is the Head of School at the Brentwood School, best-selling author, award-winning columnist, educator, television commentator, and national speaker on issues of children, adolescents, families, and parenting. Mike is the author of Right From Wrong: instilling a Sense of integrity in Our Children, Field Guide to the American Teenager, Uncommon Sense For Parents With Teenagers, and Surviving High School. His most recent book, Staying Connected To Your Teenager, was launched with three appearances on Oprah! For eight years he was the Family Consultant for CBS The Saturday Morning Early Show and also hosted an award winning television show on the Oxygen Network, Life in Progress, as well as his own daily radio show, Family Talk with Dr. Mike. Mike has worked in schools for over 20 years as a head of school, counselor, dean of students, teacher and consultant. 

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