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Parent-Teacher Disagreement

Toddler and Teenager Expert Advice from Carleton Kendrick, Ed.M., LCSW

Q: I am a 45-year-old stay at home mom with eight children. ranging in age from 25 to 7 and still sane. My problem is the public schools where I live. My children are all above average in intelligence, however their enthusiasm is often misconstrued as insubordination. They are constantly frustrated, blurting out their thoughts about things and getting into problems at school. I have been told by a few teachers that my children do not belong at these schools. However I cannot afford to send them to private school. WHAT, IF ANYTHING, CAN I DO? I am talking about my two youngest ages 9 and 7.

A: Your desire to have your kids seen for the bright, curious, enthusiastic kids they are is laudable. Many parents would shame their kids for these very same traits because they are being framed by their teachers as negative and destructive ones.

Will those same teachers who see your kids as bright kids and not problem kids be willing to "make their case" for them with the teachers who view them as insubordinates? Can you speak to a sympathetic guidance counselor (who might also hear from these sympathetic teachers) and use her to mediate and reframe the present situation? Can you appeal to your boys, without stripping them of their individuality, to attempt some alternative behaviors in school that will still allow them to be who they are?

I would also begin networking to discover which private schools might offer scholarships to your sons. Politically speaking, influential private school alumni and/or big contributors to the school can be very persuasive in these scholarship decisions if they found your sons to be appealing and worthy candidates. Good luck, Denise. Thanks for being such a caring advocate for your kids.

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Carleton Kendrick has been in private practice as a family therapist and has worked as a consultant for more than 20 years. He has conducted parenting seminars on topics ranging from how to discipline toddlers to how to stay connected with teenagers. Kendrick has appeared as an expert on national broadcast media such as CBS, Fox Television Network, Cable News Network, CNBC, PBS, and National Public Radio. In addition, he's been quoted in the New York Times, Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, Boston Globe, USA Today, Reader's Digest, BusinessWeek, Good Housekeeping, Woman's Day, and many other publications.


Please note: This "Expert Advice" area of FamilyEducation.com should be used for general information purposes only. Advice given here is not intended to provide a basis for action in particular circumstances without consideration by a competent professional. Before using this Expert Advice area, please review our General and Medical Disclaimers.

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