School gripes and groans

My son often comes home with complaints that someone took his pencil or pushed him. We have complained to the school but they are not able to do much. How can I help him?
If the problem is big enough to result in serious injury or cause fear in your child, investigate and meet the childs teacher in person. Discuss why you think the problem is more than common school fights and how it can be solved. But if it is not too serious, avoid making an issue of it. Lend your child a listening ear, sympathy and attention. But after that, explain how such problems can be solved, give him ideas to manage the situation and encourage him to handle in himself. However protective you may feel ultimately your child has to face most school problems himself, and learn how to cope. But always encourage your child to open up and talk. You can judge whether you need to step in or not.

My 7 year old daughter was bullied once by a senior boy who took away her snack. Since then, she avoids situations where she will be with seniors, such as Annual Day programmes and group sports. What do I do?

Help your daughter understand that she needs to conquer her fear. There will always be bullies, but there are ways to tackle them. Teachers can deal with them, and she herself can learn to do and say the right thing when someone is rude. Share situations when you had to deal with bullies and how you overcame them. Discuss different situations that can arise; get her to suggest them. Thrash out ways to deal with them and come to a solution which will work. You can even do some mock role plays, where you take turns playing the bully, while the other ‘outwits the bully. She will soon realize that no problem is insurmountable.

My 8 year old daughter always tells me about how each teacher has her favorites. She tells me how the teacher has been partial and I am always sympathetic. But I sometimes wonder whether I should encourage this.

Whether the ‘partiality or ‘favoritism is real or imagined, it is reality in schools. Encourage your daughter to take it in her stride and not fret about it.
Some teachers do show favoritism, but she too can become the teachers pet by being a great student, participating enthusiastically in class and willingly helping students and teachers.

You can discourage her from thinking too much about this by dismissing such complaints and advising her on how she can be popular friend and student, and enjoy school.

Family Learning

Learning together can easily become a family activity. Plan a visit to the planetarium, aquarium, zoo or library at least twice a month. Before that, choose a related theme such as ‘animal behavior or ‘planets.

Get every family member to contribute a page full of interesting information on the theme. This knowledge will make the trip more meaningful, and the whole family gets to learn a lot of interesting new stuff.

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