Be honest parents; don’t your school days feel like a lifetime ago? When we’re young, we convince ourselves we’ll never forget those feelings. Some of us are even certain that we’ll recall them when our kids experience the same things. We’ll be those cool, hip parents who know about that kind of thing.
Fast forward ten years, two kids, and four jobs later, and school is nothing more than a haze. In fact, you may feel like a different person. It’s probably best in the long run. Being ‘cool’ is overrated when it comes to parenting. Much better to be responsible and secure, right?
But, it can be tricky to help your kids through their first school years when you don’t remember your own. They’re going to experience things, and approach you with issues you’re ill-equipped to deal with. If you fail to offer adequate solutions, they may stop coming to you. And, when that happens, they could soon start to withdraw, and suffer alone.
NOT what any parent wants. So, how can you make sure you’re in a position to offer advice when they come to you? Strange as it sounds, you could try to apply what you’ve learnt at work to those school situations. Though you may have forgotten, the two aren’t so different. For proof, we’re going to look at the similarities, and how you can apply them.
The need to turn up on time
If you turn up late for work, you face disciplinary action or worse. Admittedly, the school won’t throw your child out if they turn up late. But, if they’re five minutes late every day, they will find themselves in some trouble.
Often, it’s down to parents to turn up on time. If you take your kids to school each day, you need to make sure you get them there early. Leave at least ten minutes for them to meet up with mates and have a natter before classes start.
If they catch a bus or walk with friends, it’s still crucial you instil good timekeeping. The first few times, it may be worth walking to the bus stop with them, and continually letting them know what time it is. Then, they’ll know what time frame they’re working with when they do it alone. Getting them a watch wouldn’t hurt, either. This will instil good time keeping from the off!
The ability to handle difficult situations
In a working environment, we face difficult situations on a daily basis. It may be that you struggle with a piece of work one day. Then, you have to meet with a tricky client the next. Work always throws up challenges like these. And, school does the same. In fact, the difficulty is all the more severe given the fact that your kids will be dealing with a variety of situations they’ve never encountered before. The chances are that you’ve already had to talk down a client or two. But, for their first years in the classroom, your child will be facing things they don’t understand. They’ll have their first arguments with friends and their first teacher telling off. They’ll also have to cope with entirely new work each day. It’s a lot to deal with!
For the most part, you have to let these experiences run their course. Trying to protect them wouldn’t help in the long run. But, you can put them in a better position by providing them with coping mechanisms. It may be that you teach them deep breathing, or practice counting exercises together. Finding a way for them to clear their mind like this will ensure they can face what their school day throws at them. It may even help you, too!
The right to a defence
No parent likes to accept that their child could get into trouble at school. But, the day may come when you get that phone call. Your kid is in the headmaster’s office, and they want you to come down. It can be challenging to stay calm when this happens. Your first instinct may be to shout at your child, or perhaps the headmaster. But, staying calm is always the best option in this situation. To help you do it, consider what would happen within a disciplinary in your workplace.
As adults, we very much stick to the ‘innocent before proven guilty’ concept. And, anyone who is accused of wrong has a right to a fair trial according to the ACAS code of practice. Your kid can’t contact a lawyer, so they rely on you to hear them out and ensure they’re treated fairly. Instead of jumping in and assuming the worst, hear them out about what’s happened. It may be that they were accused wrongly, or forced to do something they didn’t want to. Of course, they may have done it. If that’s the case, work with the school to rectify the situation, and make sure it doesn’t happen again. Often, getting into trouble is enough to scare kids out of bad behaviour. But, it won’t hurt to have a chat and explain your disappointment. After all, the disappointment treatment is so much worse than a shouting mum.
We’ve saved the best for last. Never do school and work crossover more than when it comes to the politics of the place. The office always has cliques and infighting. And, the classroom is much the same. Popularity is often prized above work ethic, and life can be difficult if you aren’t in the ‘group’. That said, within the workplace, you face discipline if you don’t get your work done. As such, many of us find it easier to turn away from the pull of popularity.
If you notice your child struggling to make friends, think about ways you approach people in the office. Highlight, too, that one or two close friends are more important than many. And, never forget to remind them that they should never let someone put them down for being smart!