Saturday, May 12, 2012

Supporting Mothers (and Fathers)

I am lucky to work in a school where 99% of the children live with their mothers.  My previous school it was less than 80%.  I collaborate with mothers every day at school.  We only have a few buses so most of our children are dropped off or walk to school.  We have several hundred parents come into our school every day.  They have to walk past my office to drop their children in either the gym or cafeteria.  This gives me lots of face time with parents.  I stand in the hall to greet children and parents any morning I am not tied up.  It is one of my favorite parts of the day.  Every day parents stop to catch up and almost every day one asks if they can talk to me for 5 minutes after they drop off their child(ren).  Since I don't start sessions or teaching until after our morning announcements this gives me 15 minutes most mornings to talk to parents who want to drop in.  Some mornings I have 2 or 3 lined up!  One of my frequent "customers" are mothers of only children or a concern about their first born.  For some, parenting is not intuitive and some do not understand how school work.  Since I am the parent of two children of my own, I feel very comfortable acting as a sounding board for parents as they try to figure out the best way to parent their children.  I feel that my working with parents maximizes the impact of the counseling program.  Many of these parents have more than one child and the parents in my learning community network a lot with one another; I like to think what we discuss may pay broader dividends.  Some time the parents just need an objective person to listen to them, others need information or resources.  Many times I recommend a book or check out one of our Family Resource Packs.  Other times I will offer to observe or talk to the teacher or child and get back in touch.  I believe most of the parents in my school see the counselors as a valuable resource.  I am always happy to make an appointment and prefer when I can talk to both parents together; however, some time being available immediately  for 5 minutes is what is most useful.  Children need parents with consistent routines, good role models, and lots of love.  I wish all the mothers in my school and any blog readers who are mothers a sunny and relaxing Mothers Day!

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