Talk Talk Talk

Sending children to school is one of the ways we parents "let go" of our kids and allow them to venture into the world on their own. Even as we let go, it's very important that we "stay connected" to provide support. I have three basic recommendations about staying connected.

1) On a daily basis, ask children about their experiences in school and discuss them.

2) Listen with love and acceptance: Do not criticize children during these discussions, and avoid putting any performance pressure on them.

3) When school problems arise, be a problem-solving partner with your children.

Kids do best when they know their parents care about them and are involved in their lives, and when parents supportively stand by them through thick and thin.

Too often, parents who have fallen out of touch with their children suddenly try to revive communication during a crisis. Often it is after a bad report card, or a behavior problem erupts in school, or a drug crisis, or a sexual encounter of some type. Or sometimes it's after a newsworthy incidence of violence hits the national media. It's much harder to start a dialog under these circumstances than it is to stay connected from the beginning. The key to success in parent/child communication is to never let the dialog dwindle.

Very young children may need extra help with verbal communication. To facilitate discussion, parents can talk regularly with the pre-school teacher to know the bigger picture of how their children are doing. This information allows parents to take the initiative to ask about the events of the day in school.

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