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Use the parents-to-school day

MOST SCHOOLS invite parents to school after the annual exam. As a father of two school going children I often observe parents on the parents-to-school day getting unusually perturbed over their child slipping down a few ranks or losing a few marks in some subject. Some of them loudly argue with the teacher over an incorrect total of marks and some others lose their temper at their child in full public view.

india Updated: Mar 28, 2006 16:15 IST
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MOST SCHOOLS invite parents to school after the annual exam. As a father of two school going children I often observe parents on the parents-to-school day getting unusually perturbed over their child slipping down a few ranks or losing a few marks in some subject. Some of them loudly argue with the teacher over an incorrect total of marks and some others lose their temper at their child in full public view.

While it is good to keep track of the academic progress of a child it is also equally important to have a complete picture of the child’s personality development. Parents rarely inquire about issues that go beyond studies.

You know how your child behaves at home, but do you really know what he or she is like at school? A child’s mental health is an important factor in his or her ability to do well in school and to have a healthy personality.

Mental health is how a child thinks, feels, and acts. Mental health problems can affect any child even primary or nursery school children. These problems are more common than you may think.

According to a study one in five children has a diagnosable mental, emotional, or behaviour problem that can lead to school failure, family discord, violence, or suicide. Help is also available, but a majority of children with mental health problems are not getting the help they need.

This is primarily because the parents have no idea about getting valuable feedback from teachers at the right time. Your child’s teacher should be your ally. He or she can help you decide if your child may need help. Here are a few questions you could discuss with your child’s teacher at the next meeting.


1 Does my child appear unhappy in school? Cry a lot?

2 Does my child seem angry most of the time? Overreact to things?

3 Does my child damage school property? Harm other children on the playground? Break rules over and over again?

4 Does my child appear anxious much of the time? Show an unusual concern about grades or tests?

5 Does my child seem obsessed about how he looks? Often complain about headaches, stomachaches, or other physical problems especially when its time to take a test or participate in classroom social activities?

6 Is my child unable to sit still or focus her attention? Make decisions? Respect your authority as a teacher?

7 Has my child lost interest in things usually enjoyed, such as sports, music, or other school activities? Suddenly started
avoiding friends?

If you and your child’s teacher answer ‘yes’ to any of these questions, and the problem seems persistent or severe, then you need to find out if a mental health problem is contributing to this behavior.

It’s not easy for parents to accept that their child may have a problem. Early treatment can help your child succeed in the classroom, but it is important that you work at it

Take an active role in helping your child get better. Every child and every parent has strengths. Helping your child do his or her homework gives you a chance to share your time and your experience with your child. Be patient, yet persistent because this can strengthen the bond between you and your child.

It also can teach you what interests your child. Children need consistency both in the home and in the classroom. By working together, parents and teachers can reinforce a child’s strengths such as curiosity, caring for animals, or a sense of humor and of course make him/her a better performing student. That’s a big part of being a caring parent or teacher.

The author is a psychologist and a professor of psychology at BSSS. He can be contacted at drvinaymishra@rediffmail.com

First Published: Mar 28, 2006 16:15 IST