Steering Parents in the Right Directions for Help

Many of the techniques and strategies mentioned in this book can be carried over into the home. Besides helping parents get along better with their children, they also reinforce what you are doing in the classroom, and let children know their parents and teacher are working together in meeting their needs.

A potential pitfall is that some of the techniques–behavior modification for example–look simple on the outside, but require a fair degree of precision in putting them into practice. If a technique is not done correctly or inconsistently, it can do more harm than good. One way of making sure parents do techniques the same way as you is to invite them into your classroom to observe you, and practise while you give them feedback.

You can also advise parents of any parent training programs being offered either at your school or in the community. Programs like Systematic Training for Effective Parenting (STEP), and Parent Effectiveness Training (PET), guide parents on raising their children, as well as letting them share their ideas and experiences with other parents. If parents are unable or unwilling to attend meetings regularly, you can suggest self-help approaches such as books, manuals, videos, and computer software.

In addition to these there are several parent support groups. These provide parents with (a) a regular time and place to meet; (b) a chance to talk with other parents; (c) practical help and information; and (d) an opportunity to learn about community resources, scientific breakthroughs, and changes in legislative and educational policies affecting their children. Some communities have branched into more innovative ideas such as sibling and father support groups, and groups matching seasoned veterans who have raised challenging children with parents who recently found out about their child’s difficulties.

Provincially and federally funded agencies such as the Ministry of Social Services and Housing and the Ministry of Health provide a range of services and information–financial aid, health care, respite care, counseling, parenting help, day care–for children and families.

If you have a hunch that a child’s problems are organic, you may talk to his parents about taking him to their family doctor or a pediatrician. Their doctor can make any necessary referrals to specialists such as neurologists, allergists, or psychiatrists.

Community sports and clubs promote children’s athletic and social skills, as well as giving parents some time away from their children. Some organizations for parents to look into are Boys and Girls Clubs, Brownies and Boy Scouts, YWCA and YMCA, summer camps, university programs, and religious organizations.