The Unexpected Benefit of Attending Parent Night at School

Jane Repp, Director of the Middle School
One of my favorite parenting books is Get Out of My Life, but First Could You Drive Me and Cheryl to the Mall by Anthony Wolf. It normalizes the push and pull of parenting an adolescent who wants to simultaneously do everything on their own and stay a dependent child forever. This is the age when children start to give parents one word (or no) answers, but will also run to them in tears when they make a mistake or come across a challenge or disappointment. Anthony Wolf does a great job in the book of explaining the wild swings of emotion in our children who are going through puberty, and also suggesting strategies for helping them navigate this challenging time in their lives.

  • As many parents know, there is nothing like a car ride to create space for children to talk and parents to listen. The topics that we so badly want to give them advice about are many times the ones they will bring up on their own.
  • Know that often times, your child is presenting their “baby self” to you, as they have held their more mature self together all day long. Give them the love, but also encourage them to develop ways to solve problems on their own.
  • As parents you may obtain less information from your child about their life outside of the home. Take advantage of opportunities to gain insights whenever you can. The upcoming parent night at school is one such opportunity. Make your way through their academic day, open their locker, meet their teachers, and sit in a chair in their classroom. The evening will give you much common ground to connect over. The story a teacher shares or the work you see on the walls will give you insight into what your child’s day is like and will also give you a shared experience to draw on.

Of course parent night is more than that; you will also learn about course content and skills and gain a sense of teacher personalities and the rhythm of the school day. But, the real bonus might be an opening to talk about a world that your child inhabits without you and give you common language to continue that conversation.
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Located in West Hartford, CT just steps from Blue Back Square, Kingswood Oxford is a private school inspiring co-ed day students in grades 6-12 with a college preparatory curriculum. Empowered students become clear confident communicators, resourceful problem-solvers, and ethical leaders. KO: where unlimited potential meets endless opportunities.
Copyright 2018. Kingswood Oxford.