The other day, I asked another mom the following question: „How would life be for us, if our kids didn’t go to school?” Her face lit up and she said: „We’d all be happier! There would be less problems!” Her kid is in the 8th grade and she feels pressured, thinking that at the end of the year he needs high grades, so that he can then get into a good high school

Unfortunately for many parents, kids do have to go to school. Private schools aren’t accessible to all of us, and homeschooling is not quite well-covered legally yet.

So all that’s left for us to do it to adjust to the situation and find solutions to make life easier both for us, and our kids.

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The famous Russian psychologist Mihail Labkovskiy told the parents, in a conference, a little about how to choose the best school for their child, about student-teacher conflicts and about their relationship with the child during the years of school.

Here are the 12 suggestions that Mihail Labkovskiy shared and that will help you manage school easier, be a more relaxed parent and have a child who is happier and not under so much pressure:

1. Before school starts, don’t over-schedule all sorts of activities for your child, like chess classes, foreign languages classes or other intellectual activities. „Up to the age of 6-7 years old, the child’s brain is not physically ready to process high volumes of information. You waste your money, he wastes his childhood.”

2. Don’t look for a good school when you decide to enroll him. During the early years of school, psychological comfort is essential to the child. That is why a regular school closer to home is more important. The child won’t waste any time on the way there, and it will be easier for him to create relationships with his classmates if they live nearby.

3. The first teacher doesn’t have to be a good teacher, she needs to be a kind one first of all. The best teacher at this stage is a good woman, who loves children and is a teacher because she loves doing it. In order to choose the right teacher, Mihail Labkovskiy suggests that you go to school in spring and speak to parents of 4th graders.

4. School is the child’s responsibility, not yours. You can take some leave off work during the first two weeks after he starts, but then you can explain to him that: „I’m not bothered by your school, so you won’t be bothered by me.”

5. Stop asking him questions about homework and reacting to his grades. School must become taboo for you. If he wants to, he will talk to you. And if he doesn’t want to, you shouldn’t try forcing out information from him about what happened in school.

6. You don’t have to help him with homework, set up his backpack or check his clothes. Think of yourself first: there will be a time when your child will be looking after you in the old age. And if you keep doing things for him, there will be problems.

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7. Obviously, you can help the child. In order to find the right time for that, look for who demanded it first. If the child asked you to help, then help. He is the one who needs to ask: „Mother, I don’t understand something here”, instead of you going to him and asking if everything is alright. If he isn’t asking, it means that, from his point of view, things are alright.

8. If there’s a conflict between teacher and child, you must solve the problem. Try speaking to the teacher first, and then, if nothing changes, speak to the principal. If this doesn’t solve things either, than you can speak to higher institutions. You can transfer the child to another class or even to another school. But you must not leave the child under this pressure for too long.

9.  Puberty is the most difficult time in your child’s life. This stage starts at 12-24 years old and lasts up to the age of 15 or 16. It’s a time when many changes take place, physically and psychologically, that generate hormonal imbalances, psychological problems, exhaustion. And this is the time when your child starts high school. And because of all these changes, his grades might drop. The psychologist advises that: unless you want conflicts or serious problems, including suicide attempts, leave the child be. Your task is to move as quickly and painlessly through this stage and wait for the nightmare to end.

10. Don’t enter an open conflict with the school, because this is a fight you will lose. When you are called at school and they lecture you about the strength of the school, the difficult syllabus and about the necessity of getting more involved and doing homework with your child, don’t start to argue about why you don’t agree. You keep doing what you always do at home.

11. Your kids’ talents and skills mustn’t necessarily be developed, if your child doesn’t want that. Talents must bring joy, they are not to be used otherwise. Don’t put pressure on your child, don’t look for teachers and don’t expect you kids’ talents to manifest themselves in any ways.

12. The most important thing is to learn how to accept your child without expecting anything in return. It doesn’t matter how well he is doing in school or how he behaves, love him as he is. Yes, it’s harder to do that at 15 that it was at 5, but the child should never feel rejected. But, in order to do that, you need to love yourself first.

So, according cu the Russian psychologist Mihail Labkovskiy, parent should only minimally get involved in the child’s school life, and only at his request or when certain conflicts at school seem to be causing stress and pressure for the child.

That way, you create the perfect context for the child to make his own decisions and to fully take responsibility for them.

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