Many parents are not going to want to hear this, but I’m going to share it with you anyway. Most coaches, teachers, and anyone who works with your child will probably agree with this, too.
Here it comes . . . Wait for it . . . Wait for it . . . If “we” haven’t told you that you have a good kid, then assume you have some challenges in front of you. There I said it. I know I have ruffled some feathers, but please hear me out. You can argue with everything I say and come up with reasons (or excuses rather) to not agree with it but I absolutely promise you it is the truth.
Any of us who are responsible for the education, care, coaching or instruction of kids will go above and beyond to tell you parents that you have a respectful, well-behaved, polite, kind, generous, friendly, well-mannered, considerate, coachable and/or any other positive adjective to describe a little human. We will write a note, send an email or text, or catch you at the door, car, or when we see you out. We will go out of our way to make sure you know how awesome your kid is in one of the above adjectives mentioned. We will probably tell you multiple times on multiple occasions just so you know that we recognize some of these awesome characteristics in your child. My favorite saying to parents when I observe first-hand these characteristics in a child is to “keep doing what you are doing.”
The converse of this, however, is also true and hard to digest. If your child does not display any of these positive characteristics mentioned above, we will either not say anything to you, try to avoid you, or speak in broad general and less obviously flattering terms. You might hear from us – “I really like having your child in my class.” “She is really smart and good at math.” “He’s a good ball player.” “She sure plays hard.” These are just some of the comments that come to mind.
One thing you can count on with all of us who are responsible for your child is that we will never ever lie to you about how your child is behaving or conducting him/herself. We will either not say anything or speak in broad and very vague terms like I mentioned above.
If you are now questioning “who” your child is and what adults’ opinions and perspectives of him/her really are, just ask. This is not going to be the easiest of things to do I know, but it’s probably really really necessary. You can’t fix what you don’t know and we all need valuable feedback like this from multiple people. Chances are you will probably hear the same types of comments initially from these adults, however, you will need to qualify your questions before you ask them. Try this, “I really appreciate you working/teaching my child. I know he/she can be a handful sometimes and certainly isn’t perfect. Can you give me 2-3 things that I can specifically work with him/her on so that <insert your specific expectation>. If being a respectful child is your most important thing then insert that above. If you child being thoughtful or considerate of others is important to you then insert that above. Once the adult gives you their initial feedback, use that information to dig deeper or to provide you with a specific example.
Look, kids are kids. The great thing is that they are moldable, but you can’t wait too long. They are in the midst of forming their personalities, habits, attitudes and how they treat others right now. The longer you wait to get this valuable information from other adults, the harder it becomes for you to help them become a better person and adult. I believe all parents at least want this same exact thing for our child. To be a good person. Hope so.
by Jimmy Arispe
Founder of The Academy Virtual and The SAE School – the most awesomest schools on the planet!