Handling a Parent/Teacher Conference

Parent-Teacher Conference

Nothing strikes fear in the hearts of parents more than the dreaded parent teacher conference.  These typically occur after a semester has begun and are done for the whole school but they can also be a special conference if a child is having a problem.

Here are some tips for handling a parent teacher meeting.

Use Good Ears

While no parent wants to hear negative feedback from the teacher about their child, try to listen instead of reacting immediately.

That may mean that you have to take a breath and relax before responding.  Bad behavior or a child who struggles to keep up with class can be very defeating but try to remember that, for the most part, teachers want to help your child learn.

Clarity Can Be a Virtue

If you, as a parent, are coming to the teacher with something you are concerned about, try to be as clear as you can.  Sometimes a teacher may feel that she is being criticized or you may worry that by talking to the teacher your child will get in trouble.

Being as open and direct as you can will help work through the issues you have to discuss.  Even if your child feels that the teacher does not like him, it’s best to try to clear the air to find out if there really is a problem.

Sometimes framing things by using “I” sentences like, “I don’t know the reason for this, but Keith thinks you don’t like him” can remove any defensiveness and helps the teacher focus on the issue at hand.

Be Helpful

The more you can do to help the teacher get to know your child, the better.  After all, she is spending a good part of the day with your kid and you want to make sure that she understands as much as possible.

For instance, your child may be having some problems paying attention because she sits so far back from the front of the class.  This is something you can tell the teacher so she can move her closer to the front.

Work Together to Find a Solution

You and the teacher can work together to come up with a solution that works best for your child.  What this does is focus the meeting on finding answers rather than spending all your time on the problem.

Letting the teacher know that you value her time and experience is also appreciated.

Have Fun

Make sure that whatever meeting you have with your child’s teacher isn’t all about business.  Find out who she is and what her experiences have been with your child’s class.  See what things you have in common and try to form an alliance that will help your child continue to excel.

Teaching is a hard job and getting more difficult as school districts cut funding as well as add additional responsibilities.  Some teachers get to school and 7:00 AM and don’t leave until 7:00 PM so make sure she knows how much you appreciate her.

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Dealing with Kids Home from College

Kids Hanging Out

We all love to see our kids be independent and enjoy their lives at college.

But what happens when your child comes home from college yet still wants to run her own life while they’re under your roof?

Surviving kids home from college for the holidays or summer vacation has everything to do with communication.  This issue comes up more often for kids who are not yet 21 but are behaving as though they’re 40.


Let’s say your kid has just come home from college for the Christmas holiday and she’s going to be there for a month.  What’s the best way to handle situations like when she wants to stay out to the wee hours of the morning but her coming home late wakes up the rest of the family?

You know that’s what kids do in college.  The evening doesn’t truly start until 10:00 PM and sometimes kids don’t even get back to their dorms or apartments until nearly dawn.

But this isn’t something that’s going to go well in your household particularly if you have younger kids who need to get their rest.

Sit down with your college student and tell her what you expect from her activities.  Ask her if he she thinks she’s going to be out late often and, if so, find a way to give her the freedom that she has at college without upsetting the delicate balance at home.


One of the best things you can do as a parent is listen.  And sometimes that job is one of the hardest things you’ll ever do, especially if you have a rebellious kid who has just had the freedom of being on his own for the first time.

Listen to what he has to say and why he wants to do some of the things that you may not be in favor of.

If it turns out that the activities have drugs involved – and alcohol is a drug – then the conversation may need to be more serious.

Borrowing the Car

Your college student may want to borrow the car to go hang out with old high school friends or even get together with new friends from college.  If it’s not a problem … meaning that you have more than one car in your family … let him borrow the car but make sure that there is a curfew. This is no different from borrowing the car while in high school.


If there hasn’t been an issue in the past with trust between you and your college student, then you can continue to trust their good judgment and know that they will call if they need you.

But trust (and respect) should also go both ways.  Your student needs to trust you and respect the rules that you have at home for the consideration of other family members.

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