Yesterday, I posted Part One of this series on how schools and parents can actually experience collaboration instead of conflict. If you missed it, check out the first five ideas I provided for K-12 schools, colleges, athletic programs or other student organizations that want to deepen the partnership between parents and staff.
Today, let’s examine three more ideas:
6. Whenever You Meet, Talk to Parents about the Future.
Most problems with parents center on this issue: they’re parenting for short-term rather than long-term solutions. We, parents, often try to patch things up instead of make things right. Staff must help them see the future damage they do by removing consequences from the child’s actions. Paint a picture of the harm they do when they step in and put a band-aid on a problem. If you’re comfortable, discuss how adults often try to live out their unlived life through their children—and the kids becomes the victims.
7. Identify a Vehicle for On-going Communication.
People are down on what they’re not up on. Regular communication with parents is a great way to help them see the big picture. Create a weekly email, podcast, video or blog to stay in touch. In these contexts, talk about key issues like:
* Teens naturally test boundaries and values to discover their identity.
* They learn responsibility when adults don’t make excuses for their failures.
* Maturation requires kids to self-regulate and to experience autonomy.
* Since autonomy requires them to build life skills, don’t make excuses for them.
* Those skills learned in a dorm room or a laundry room may be as important as what they learn in the classroom.
8. Provide a Resource.
In your initial meeting with parents at the beginning of the year, furnish a resource for them to take home. It can be a booklet, an article, a jump-drive, a CD or a DVD for them to listen to or watch. For example, Growing Leaders just created a DVD and CD for athletic programs to give to parents as they drop off their first-year athlete on the campus. It simply helps the mom and dad to be the best parent they can be, and not attempt to be the coach. In it, I share some things that are easier coming from me than the coach.
As a dad of two in their twenties, I watched my role evolve from Direct Supervisor to Consultant. Even though I had ideas on how my kids should handle situations, I had to back off for the sake of their growth. May these ideas ignite better ones of your own as you attempt to partner with families to build young leaders.
(If you’re interested in the CD or DVD for Parents I mention above, contact Chloe Lufkin in our office at: [email protected].)
What are idea’s you’ve seen that help schools and parents cooperate?