Saturday, January 17, 2015

Positive Parenting

I just finished watching last night's 20/20 episode on Parenting. On the show, they gave many perspectives, and honestly you could have simply seen the bad in each situation. Well, of course, I have a blog post to focus on the GOOD that I see in parenting. Of course, I wouldn't be where I am today without my parents.

I've done a gazillion posts on how my parents were not perfect, but they did a wonderful job raising me. I can't imagine having anyone else for parents. In so many ways, I feel like I won the parent lottery. As I said, they weren't perfect. However, I had a FUN childhood. I had a wonderful set of parents that taught me so much more than what I can explain in a post. All that being said, those are high expectations for me to have for other parents around me or in my little corner of the world. *grin*

In my sixteen years in the classroom, I have worked with some AMAZING little people. Within that, I have worked with some AMAZING parents. Perfect? No, as there is not a perfect parent anywhere. *grin* I can't name names, obviously, but let me tell you some of my favorite stories of the parents I've had in my career. After all, parents sometimes get a bad rap, when in reality, they are often amazing people doing the best they can with who God gave them.

For example, I will never forget the parent (that was first in my world and that wasn't until 2009) that had her son come in and apologize to me the day AFTER he had behavior challenges in my class. Not only did the young student say he was sorry, but he asked me if I would accept his apology! That was a defining moment for me, as I had never had a student apologize THE DAY AFTER for what he had done. He also did not repeat that behavior again. Over the years, I did have to occasionally contact his parents about behavior concerns, and he would always come in BEFORE SCHOOL and talk to me. That meant a lot to me as a teacher. Not so sure I ever told that parent what that meant to me. Perhaps a Make a Difference Monday card will go out to that parent even though I don't have that student any more. *grin*

Another example of a great parent was when I was in a previous district and a parent recognized that she needed help and encouragement in working with her son. She contacted me from time to time to bounce ideas off of me. If I didn't know, I would refer her to resources, or ask questions to those who I knew had the answers. She really amazed me, as she legitimately wanted to to what was best for her son. Today she is tied to several resources to help her with some respite and still does an amazing job with a son who is not always the easiest to love. Yes, we still swap Christmas Cards. *grin*

Another great set of parents moved into my little corner of the world in the Fall of one school year from a previous district. They were parents of a special young man. His parents were so honest with me about their challenges and gave me a level of support as I worked with their son that I hadn't had before, as I was young in teaching. Ultimately, by the time the young man left my program, he had made some amazing gains due to the partnership between us.

Perhaps my favorite example of a good parent is when a student has a strong work ethic from their home. I love it when parents have high expectations of their children, and expect them to do the work required of them. I have several this year that have parents that will not accept anything less than hard work in the classroom. In fact, I have one parent right now that is so supportive, that when his child returns the next day, he is a different child. I love that!

One year I had a student that I really bonded with, but struggled with others in authority. When I explained this to the parent (with specific examples, of course) the student did MUCH better. And, typically the student did not do it again with that specific adult. While it took some time working with the student and the parent, that child went on to middle school in a much better place because of the work his parents did with him. I'm still in awe of that family. *grin* That student has come back a couple times to the school tell me how he's doing. I love that. Oh, and he was out of SPED the first semester he was at the middle school due to his hard work in my program before that. I can't tell you how proud I was of that young man. *grin*

This post would not be complete without mentioning one last AMAZING parent trait that I love. I LOVE IT when I hear a kid say that their parents make them do chores, and homework before they can play after school. I even love the parents I have that say, "Please send work home!" I have a few students that go home, have a brief break, and then must take care of responsibilities before they can go play with friends. Those students are making steady progress in my program because they are being held to a standard at home that fosters learning and HARD WORK as a priority, as well as a strong internal longing to work and do things right. Perhaps that's my favorite kind of parent. Sure, some kids naturally have an internal drive to work, and I do have a few of those, but overall the parents that partner with me, and encourage hard work both at home (chores, clean up toys, etc) and at school, are those that have students that move on up and out of programs like mine. *grin*

Honestly, that does happen in my world. I have students who know their goals and work toward them. They take responsibility for their learning, with their parents support. That's when I smile and know that that's why God put me here. *grin*

So, yes, there could be posts on what parents do wrong. I get that. But, honestly, I find myself blessed to work with the parents that I do on a daily basis. Parenting is not an easy job. However, there are some that do an amazing job that go unnoticed. Take a moment and let those around you that do a great job know about it. Your words will be appreciated more than you will ever know.


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