It Takes A Village: An Open Letter to Parents from a Therapist and School Counselor
Your involvement and support in your children’s lives is crucial to their growth. While parenting can be a daunting task due to societal pressures and demands, it is also important to be aware that you are not alone in helping your children grow into mature, responsible adults. With that being said, your consistent and open partnership with your children’s school is an important one. A partnership is a connection between two or more people that includes the sharing of ideas and collaboration towards a common goal. As the expert on each of your children, it’s best to take into consideration their strengths, areas in need of improvement, their interests, and their feelings. It’s also helpful to take into account your own strengths, feelings, pressures, and personal experiences with education. When you have an awareness of these things, it can make for a healthy partnership with your children’s school – one that will ultimately assist in the healthy development of your children.
What do I mean by this? As a school counselor and therapist, I believe it’s important to partner with your children’s schools in order to teach your kids the life skills they will need to be socially and emotionally successful. Sure, academics are absolutely important, but if a child’s social and emotional functioning is unstable, then academic progress will be stifled. Partner with your children’s schools to help your kids learn and grow into healthy, thriving adults in society. This can be done by effectively communicating the needs of your children with their school; it does not mean demanding or bullying school professionals. Ultimately, this type of toxic parent-school collaboration does not help your children develop important life skills, such as self-advocacy, conflict resolution, and grit.
Once your children leave the nest, they will be on their own to face the world. I know this sounds scary, but you have the ability to teach your kids the skills they need to thrive, and the best part is you don’t have to do it alone! There are professionals at your children’s schools and within your local community that have spent years of training and dedication helping families such as yours. These professionals have the ability to assist with a number of issues you or your children may face, but it will require your engagement, respect, and authenticity to support your children. Be open to sharing your concerns and dialoguing with professionals so they hear you. Also be open to their recommendations, trusting that they have you and your children’s best interest at heart. If you feel otherwise, then don’t be shy about acknowledging your concerns and work towards a plan of action that is best for you and your family.
As I always say, YOU are the expert on your children. It’s your role to advocate for them through healthy collaboration with key stakeholders in their lives. Always make sure that kind of partnership remains open and consistent, while taking into account the skills you want your children to gain through your collaboration with their schools and local community.
A Therapist and School Counselor