A few weeks ago, I had the wonderful opportunity to host a webinar for my friends at ADDitude Magazine. As a coach, counselor, and educator through EF, ODD, and ADHD workshops for parents, teachers, and families, I was thrilled to spend some time talking about the benefits of parents and teachers working together to maintain the Calm and Connected pathways to success. I am thankful for the opportunities I have to connect with parents and teachers in the ADHD/EF/ODD community.
During the webinar we opened up the floor from some questions and had some really amazing moments. I wanted to share a couple of the questions from the webinar with everyone. I hope you enjoy and if you have any questions yourself, please reach out to PTS Coaching staff at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Parent 1: I used to meet with every teacher, but now my child is in high school. How should I handle it?
Should I try to meet with all his teachers or is this the time to allow him to learn to address the teachers himself?
Cindy: That’s a really great question. I’m going to always go back to “Parent the Child You Have”. Which is my way of saying, it really depends on your child. If you have a child who really is very good at advocating for themselves and really wants to be taking that role, then you may empower them with that responsibility.
Talk with your child about which of the teachers you feel comfortable advocating with? What are the things you want your teachers to know or how can you communicate those things? Because especially if they’re in high school, if they’re going to be going on to college, they’re going to need to advocate with their professors.
So, you do want them to start having that experience of advocating for themselves. But we don’t want them to be at a loss if they’re not ready. That’s where we may want to really be able to step in and have that transitional period of having the student in the meeting, with the teacher, and you, and you can prep your child and say hey you know what kiddo? I want you to take a bigger role, you want to take a bigger role. The teachers are used to me being there and I’m used to being there. I’ll take the backseat, but I’ll be there if you need me. Maybe you can have those meetings together with the child and teacher.
One more thing I want to say about that. The idea of meeting with every teacher versus the team. Sometimes it’s nice if you can meet with a few of the teachers together, because they collectively may have a very different picture of your student than individually.
So, if one of the teachers hears from one of his other teachers “he participates, he’s great, he’s really animated” they may express “wow, he’s shut down, and he doesn’t participate in my class”—and that may be because that’s your child’s weakest class. It’s nice for the teachers to sometimes hear each other.
Parent 2: I feel that my child is just not able to do this much homework. He’s doing hours every night and hours on the weekend and still not finishing it. How should I handle that with the school?
Cindy: OK. Oh, that big homework issue. I don’t know what grade we are talking about so that’s hard, but let’s be generic.
You must speak with the teacher about what the expectation is, about how much time my child should be spending on homework? Teachers sometimes are unaware of how long your child is actually spending doing homework. So, that’s the first thing.
The second thing is, I would keep a log of how long your child is spending on each subject independently. And next to that, how much time are you spending with your child on the homework.
Gosh, there’s so much I want to say. I have a whole homework workshop course. But, what I’m thinking is, it also depends on the level of help you’re giving and are you giving the appropriate level of help.
Does the teacher know how much help you’re giving? But if we’re talking about the raw amount of homework, sometimes we want to modify that homework. To reduce the load.
When we’re dealing with the upper grades, it’s sometimes harder to modify. How do you modify if the homework is to write a reflective essay? They can’t just write one paragraph. So, we need to see, what is the homework? Why is the homework taking so long? Is that a reasonable expectation or maybe it’s something really generated from your child?
Maybe your child’s meds have worn off, and it’s not reasonable to keep doing it. Maybe your child needs a break. Maybe they need more support in the work. So, there are lots of different variables before we go to the teacher and say, we need to reduce the amount of work.
We’re going to need to give the teacher more information on what’s happening at home. I have a homework agenda sheet, that I like, that talks about writing down how long should each of these assignments take. So, the kids can start to measure that against what’s reasonable.