Teacher of 21+ years and parent of a sophomore & senior talks with a parent of an 8th grader & freshman about various struggles in parenting, encouraging other humans as we all do the best that we can, and partnering with teachers to rally a team of support for our future generations.
This is one part of my candid conversation with a friend who is also a teacher. I've typed out a few memorable sentences (with a few slight edits for readability) from our time together shared here and broke up our talk into 4 sections. Please share what resonates with you, and pass it on to others that would be encouraged by our conversation. Thank you!
Read/listen to the whole 4 part series here: Conversations with a teacher about teens & life.
How I supported and encouraged my kids while working full time as a teacher
parent of a Senior and Sophomore teaching for 21 years …
“I can’t cut myself in half” as a parent and teacher but I can help my children by asking them more questions
You said you ask a lot of questions… you limit yourself by not jumping into the situation.
“I limit how much I jump in and save them” because I am at work. “I try to encourage them to handle it before I make a formal meeting as a parent”
Ask a lot of questions but don’t jump in too quick to solve their problems for them.
“They know that I believe that they can fix it” I encourage them, I always listen, I always guide them.
If parents are doing the work for their child/student, … let them do it. Have them have the ownership of the situation.
“I’m behind you but you have got to go first.” Let the student start the conversation. The parent can be really involved but the student needs to be up front.
When you see that they are hurting, at what point are you as a parent are going to let them go through that?
When do I push as a parent?
Art issue with my son “at what point does the parent, me, continue to push because I can see the value?”
“Do we want our kids to do things just to make other people happy?”
“It really is a fine line between being a parent who is encouraging and pushing for their best interests but also letting them become their own people, because- they are …not us. Which is so hard as a mom, right? because we were literally connected to this baby at one point and now they are their own individual people with their own thoughts and ideas. And sometimes those thoughts and ideas are just wrong, as far as we are concerndd. They just made the wrong choice.” When to step in? Well is it something that will harm them or is is just a missed opportunity? ….
You can figure out why they are making that decision and then can guide them…
“Sometimes it comes to dating too.”
It goes into all things… will they try for a better grade or take the time to write the essay for the scholarship. They should do this, they should do that… but they choose things that completely baffle you as a parent. But ultimately you are trying to teach them to make decisions.
You did a really good job about standing up for you…
“There isn’t so much difference between doing things to please their parent and doing things to please their friends, because of peer pressure. Being a teenager that digs in their heels and is a bit stubborn can be a good thing. Find the good.
“Sometimes they don’t do what you want right now but that doesn’t mean that the conversation was lost. They hear you. Maybe they have to make sure that it is true or need multiple adults in their life saying these things.
We are growing and learning as parents.
Do I really want to shut down communication because I am overreacting because he told me something that I didn’t like? I want them to continue to talk to me. I am listening.
“As parents we are growing.” They are growing at teenagers and as parents we are growing. … As parents it is high stress we have invested so much in these children and they are starting to make decisions for themselves that we don’t always agree with so we have to give ourselves a little grace.”
They pick up on the underlying do you care for me or not, do you love me or not? We can encourage one another. “Life is hard and everyone is doing the best that they can.” “Life is messy, being human is messy.”
“I remember when I was growing up, I assumed that my parents knew what they were doing and had a plan. Now, as an adult parent, I realize they didn’t!”