Saturday, April 28, 2012

Things Your Child's School Counselor Wishes You Knew: A Message for Parents

I realize that this is the second post in a row with a guest writer, but as you can see from the change in the title of my blog - life has been rather insane here of late. I do have several of my own posts - recipes, ramblings, educational preschool ideas, maybe even a book review or two - in the works for you. However, I just couldn't wait to post this fabulous article written by my friend J.

Since I posted Words and the Single Woman ( a follow up to my own Stop Saying That, Please) I realized what a fabulous opportunity this blog affords for people with various life situations and areas of expertise to share their knowledge.

I asked my friend J, who is an outstanding school counselor, what she wishes she could say to the parents of the children she counsels. I thought her list was beyond brilliant. I personally plan to print this out and read it periodically to remind myself of what I, as a parent, need to do for my child.

Thanks to J for sharing her wisdom!

Things your child’s School Counselor wish you knew: A message for parents
-You are the most important person in your child’s life – not their friends, not their boyfriend/girlfriend, not their teachers – YOU! You have the most power and influence to steer your child’s life in a positive direction – please use that power and influence wisely.
-Your words have power. Children believe the things they are consistently told. So, if a child grows up hearing that she is “stupid,” “worthless,” or a “mistake,” there is little that I can do or say to change her mind.
-You cannot wait until your child is a teenager to try to discipline him/her; it is too late at that point. Please learn to tell your child “no” when it is necessary; it won’t hurt them, I promise.
-You cannot be your child’s friend, at least until they are an adult. Someone has to set limits, and it needs to be you. Your child is less likely to respect a parent who tries to be their friend. They, inevitably, will act like you are torturing them when you set rules and consequences; but, they actually crave structure and consistency. Stand your ground on the issues that matter.
-As difficult as it is to accept, some children have learning disorders or mental health issues that must be addressed. When I contact you to let you know I have concerns about your child, it is not a personal attack on your ability as a parent.  Please don’t take it personally. I am calling because I care about your child and want them to have the best life possible. These disorders are not your fault – you didn’t cause them – but, you simply cannot ignore them. Don’t be afraid to take the help that is offered to you.
-Bullies are real, but they are not as plentiful or as powerful as you may think. Your child’s best defense is a strong sense of self-worth and the level of trust they have for adults. I promise you, the school WILL address these issues, but we have to know about them.
-Your child’s teachers really do care and want your child to be successful, but we cannot do our job to our fullest potential without your support. After all, we are all on the same team.
-Your child will lie to you. Let me say that again to make sure you understand – your child WILL lie to you. It doesn’t mean that you have failed as a parent or that you have a “bad” kid; the self-preservation instinct is strong, especially for teenagers. So, please don’t believe everything your child tells you about the school or their teachers, and I promise that we will not believe everything your child says about you.
-Electronic devices (phones, computers, video games, etc.) are a privilege. You are not required to provide these to your child, and I would strongly encourage you to monitor their activity while using these devices – and be prepared to take them away from your child if he/she can’t use them responsibly. It will be a battle, but, trust me, your child’s safety and innocence are more than worth it. While we’re on the subject, Facebook and other social media sites, are NOT designed for children. You wouldn’t believe the things that children say and do on these sites! You need to know all your child’s login information and check their site frequently. Make sure they have activated all the security features possible to protect their privacy. While these sites have gotten more secure, an active and involved parent is the absolute best security measure.
-When buying clothing, please remember that your child is just that, a child. I am appalled at the clothing that I see some of our female students wearing. I am trying desperately to help them preserve their self-image and learn to respect their body – clothing that leaves nothing to the imagination of a young man does not help in this regard.
-Children who succeed – academically, socially, or emotionally – are the ones who have a solid support system. Love them unconditionally! You will not always like the choices they make, but do not allow your love for them to waver. Tell them, often, how much you love them and care for them – it makes a HUGE difference – trust me.
-Children will model your behavior. I realize that everyone has different views and opinions. However, please do not teach your children to handle their anger in a physical way or to use inappropriate words (curse words, racial slurs, etc.) when involved in a conflict. Those things are a violation of school rules and will receive disciplinary consequences. Please do not be alarmed or upset when you get a phone call that your child is in trouble for these behaviors; the school rules are clear and consistently enforced.
-As a parent, you have the most difficult and most important job on the planet – I get that. You will make mistakes – learn from them and move on. And, please don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it – because you will need it – we all do.


  1. I agree with every single word!!! Fabulous advice!!!

  2. What a terrific guest post. I'm sure parents of young and not so young children will find it helpful. I hope you have a great day. Blessings...Mary

  3. Thank, J, Angela, for sharing this. I wish I had a counselor like J back to when I just started the school.

  4. wow..wat a informative post..thanks for sharing dear..:)
    Tasty Appetite


Thanks for your comments!