Q: Okay, I agree with a lot of your advice to the parent whose teen had failing grades. But I don't agree with going to school with a teen. That would be so humiliating! Would you really go through with that?
A: Absolutely, I'd go through with it! However, just knowing that it was a possibilty was enough to convince my son that he'd better take care of the problem. If you don't use consequences that would impel a kid to do better, what's the use? You can talk and explain and reason, blah blah blah. But by the time a kid is in 9th or 10th grade, he's heard it all. He knows what the deal is. Parents have to take decisive action or they'll be fighting the same battle forever. Who wants that?
And if it came down to actually accompanying my son to school (his teachers have been told that if they have a problem with him that they should let me know and I'll be right there!), yes, he probably would be humiliated. So what? He won't die from humiliation. Think about the big picture...do you want to fight the same old, tired battles? Or do you want your kids to grow into responsibile adults? It isn't like you are calling the child names in front of his peers. Or making him wear a sandwich board declaring that he earned bad grades.
I'd also recommend attending school with a child who is misbehaving or bullying others. If a child engages in toddlerish behaviors or cannot refrain from causing hurt to others, then it would be great to have a parent acompany the child to school. If a child cannot behave, then he/she must need a parent to help them! I'm thinking that a lot of problems in schools today could be minimized if parents of misbehaving children went to school with their child.
The parent wouldn't even have to say or do anything. Just sitting beside their child would likely be enough to convince him to behave. And I am talking about responsible parents here, not those who may have a problem with school authorities themselves. The parents, it should go without saying, should not cause a disturbance.
I don't think that humility is should a bad thing. I think there should be more of it!
So, yes, I would go through with it because I said what I meant, and meant what I said. If I didn't mean it, if it was an empty threat, I wouldn't have said it. Don't make empty threats to your kids. They can see right through empty threats!
Copright 2008 Julie P. Clark
Julie answers parenting and bullying/relational aggression questions in the members-only area of DrDaveStein.com