Greetings from the Director of Guidance

Greetings from the Director of Guidance…

Children can be both a blessing and a challenge.  I can empathize with each and every one of you having raised three children who are now grown and currently parenting a 7th grader, my bonus baby. This morning was another example of whether or not I wanted to start a battle over what sweatshirt she should wear for a school field trip.  This time I chose not to battle, I left the decision up to her.  I admit that is sometimes hard for me to follow the advice that I give to parents… “It is time to let them grow and begin making decisions on their own.” 

Our district is focusing on helping students build “resiliency” and “grit”.  These are great skills to help students adjust to the transitions of life; transitions through each primary, elementary, middle school, high school and then on to college/career. I recently reviewed these terms with our middle school and high school counselors.  After we defined RESILIENCY and GRIT, we attempted to answer questions like, “What can parents do to help develop resilience and grit in their children?”

Here are some of their answers:

  • “Involve their children in situations where they are forced to ‘figure it out.’ Encourage independence.”
  • “Don’t remove challenge.  Don’t jump in and fix it.  (I’ve been guilty of this…it’s always so tempting)
  • “Teach coping skills-be a good role model.”  (How do WE cope? Do we give up easily or do we show our children that we can stick to something long term?)
  • “Establish long term goals and see children through it.”
  • “Don’t be so quick to hire a tutor-see if they can do it on their own.”
  • “If they forget something to school, let them learn consequences before bailing them out.”
  • “Healthy involvement in daily lives-resist over-parenting.” 

I understand all too well that it is difficult to watch our children fail, but think of it this way… as you allow them to fail, you are also giving them an opportunity to get back up and build resiliency and grit.

If you should have any questions about your child’s academic, social or emotional progress, do not hesitate to call your child’s teacher or counselor.  They have the knowledge and expertise to assist you.  Also take the time to attend parent-teacher conferences this month.  It is an opportunity to speak with your child’s teacher about his/her progress and how you can work together to ensure their success.     

I wish you all the best for a successful year!

Gina Christel
christelg@gcufsd.net

Useful articles for parents to prepare for upcoming conferences:

19 Questions for Parents, Edutopia

What High School Teachers Wish Parents Asked at Conferences, US News

Parent-Teacher Conference Tip Sheet Parents, Berkeley Schools