What to do when your Child gets in Trouble at School
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What to do when your child gets in trouble at school - Episode 034
When your child gets in trouble at school there is feeling of shame followed by anger. It is even more difficult if you have a job that involves working with students to help keep them out of trouble! Parents need to remember that just like our children, we are human and these emotions are valid. However, we need to look past our emotions and work on helping our child be successful at school - including their interactions with other children and teachers! Listen to the episode of School Counselor Gone Rogue above for a candid conversation about what to do when your child is in trouble at school.
Dealing with Judgement when your Child is in Trouble
There is a reason why if you’re a teacher, you suddenly dread the day where you might have to teach your own child, or there is a day when your child might even be in the same school as you – a blessing, but you probably have that lingering fear in the back of your mind. Or that day where if you’re a dentist and someone else checks’ your kids’ teeth, maybe you get the squirms about that.
What it comes down to is that your kiddo is getting closer and closer to possibly being a reflection on the work that you do. It’s very interesting. I’m very transparent. Yes, as an academic coach, I used to feel a certain pressure that my children should be an outward billboard of what I help students accomplish. But guess what? That’s’ not the case
It comes back to the number 1 rule of the universe: That rule is that no matter what you try to teach your kiddo, chances are, if it’s coming from you, they don’t want to listen.
I like to be transparent. My daughter knows that I’m doing this, but the other day I got the call: The dreaded call from the teacher. I think my kid overall is a good kid. Of course, my immediate reaction was “oh my gosh, she jumped off a roof and broke her all her arms and legs.” The response was “No, no, no. Your kid’s fine. However, she was being a bit of a nut in class all day.
Once I got in check and realized that the teacher was telling me she was misbehaving and being a hot mess and not actually injured then I could flip the switch and go into parenting mode.
It is embarrassing when your career is so closely aligned when you get that call. But guess what? It’s not a reflection on you. Anyone who is a parent knows that first rule of the universe: they’re not going to listen to you. The second thing is: they’re still kids. They’re going to make a mistake.
How can Parents Handle the Phone Call Home from School?
First, we had to lay down some consequences. Being that my husband is a teacher, we hold a very big priority on being respectful to teachers.
The conversation went something like this:
“But I was being respectful. I wasn’t being disrespectful. I didn’t mouth off.”
First, as parents, we had to get very clear about what our expectations are as parents. It is also important to clarify the terms that are being used. What is respect to her might not be respect to us.
I had to ask - “If the class is carrying on like a bunch of hyenas, my love, are you being respectful to the teacher if you’re contributing to the chaos? Do you feel like you are helping your teacher be successful if you are in some way, even for a moment, adding to the chaos?” Her response was, “No.”
So we established that point. We defined the terms of respect and disrespect.
Have your Child Define their Behavior
I might have taken liberties with what the teacher told me on the phone and embellished when I said that the teacher told me she was acting like an out of control hyena. For some reason, she took great offense to this.
So I asked her how she would categorize her behavior? She said it was poor. And this is where I was so pleased with myself.
I said “Okay, if Mommy and Daddy went to a restaurant and we had poor service, do you think we would not ask to speak to the manager?”
As she fell into my unintentional trap, she said “This isn’t a restaurant.”
I said “No, but your teacher is providing a service and you were acting poorly. You were providing an expected service which was to listen. He was expecting something from you, and you gave him poor services. As such, he has every right to report to the manager, which is me. Mommy.”
Her response was to first start laughing because she knew I was 100% right, and then to glare at me.
My Message to Parents who Kids get into trouble at School
But here’s what I want to say to parents.
Even if you don’t have a job that relates to whether your kids should have perfect teeth or certain behaviors, they’re kids. They’re going to grow. They’re going to make mistakes and you’re going to have to correct them. That’s how they learn. And sometimes, they’re going to learn 50 million times before they finally get it. Why do people hire me as an academic coach?. At the end of the day- parents want to enjoy their relationship with their children - they don’t want to be the one who’s constantly on them all the time- especially when it falls upon deaf ears.
I personally don’t think it’s fair that people consider my own children a measure of my success as an academic coach. I don’t think it’s fair that a teacher be measured on the behavior of their own children. Chances are we are all going to get that phone call home at some point, or that email. It is embarrassing and horrifying, but you can’t let your own embarrassment or horror get in the way of how you’re going to deal with the situation.
One of the most difficult things in handling a situation: Having your kiddo accept their own part in it. It’s very easy and very typical for students to say “everyone else is doing X, Y, Z. Why did I get singled out?”
That may be very true that everyone else was contributing in some way; however, can they acknowledge the part that they played? Can they take ownership of their action?
You might have to do the dance a few times. It looks something like this:
“Yeah, I did have poor behavior, but…’
“What was your part?”
“I guess I did do this, but…”
“No. Do you see where the issue is in the sentence? The ‘but’. We have to get rid of the ‘But’ ”
The same thing goes for adults. If you take ownership of a problem, it does not include a “but.” It just stops. It’s hard and it’s not fair.
I tell my kiddos, “After you make that statement, that clear ownership of what you did to contribute to the situation, you can stomp your feet and throw a hissy fit and be irked at yourself, that’s totally cool. Throw your hissy fit. It’s all good. Just take out the “but.” Take ownership of what you did and figure out how you’re going to correct it in the future.
And, if it’s not corrected, or it happens again, this is what is going to happen as your consequence.”
We know my daughter’s teacher. I have every reason to know that our house probably wasn’t the only call that day, but it could have been the first, because he knew something was going to happen very quickly as a reaction to that call.
So yes, even I who work with kiddos as an academic coach, even I get the occasional phone call about my kids, and I hate it. And it’s embarrassing.
The only way to deal with that cringe-worthy embarrassment is to be honest with all two of you who are listening and say “we are human. As parents we are human. Our kiddos are human.”
If I was a brain surgeon, I would not expect my kiddo to go out to fifth grade recess and start doing lobotomies. It doesn’t matter what you do as your career, they’re not always going to go out and do everything you do in your profession. That’s probably a good thing in the case of the brain surgeon.
Help your kiddo address the mistake, let them take ownership. Give the consequence and then work on a plan on how you’re going to move forward. Maybe write a nice email to the teacher.
Oh, and you know what else? Start looking at the moon cycles – it is true. When there’s a full moon, the kids at school get a little bit squirrelly than usual. If it’s Friday the 13th and a full moon, you need to send your teachers a fruit basket because that’s going to be a very difficult day indeed. Kids go nuts when the full moon is coming.
I would love to hear your experiences. Join the School Counselor Gone Rogue Facebook group. It’s facebook.com/groups/scgonerogue/.
I would love to hear how you guys handle that phone call home.
How to handle a phone call from a teacher
Dealing with parent guilt
How to talk to your child about their behavior
Marni Pasch| Host of School Counselor Gone Rogue| Academic Coach | Team Pasch Academic Coaching
I work with students in grades 6th and higher, who struggle with academic confidence and motivation. I help them survive school with less stress by helping them create concrete goals, tackle procrastination and learn creative study techniques. I empower students to take charge of their education and reach their goals. I do this through individual or group coaching so students achieve success in life, school, career readiness and their social endeavors.