Quality Time

Parents often ask me what they should do when their child misbehaves at school. I have many thoughts about this question, but my answers often circle back to the importance of quality time. The more quality time we have with our children, the more we can teach, model and strengthen relationships.

When I was younger, quality time in the home was the norm. Of course, back then parents weren't competing with TVs, computers, and video games. Time with family had a direct impact on our social and emotional development. We learned about behaviors through ongoing discussions and interactions with our siblings and parents. I believe most of my behaviors were shaped not by the punishments I received as a child, but by the discussions I had surrounding my behavior and choices.

So, establish good habits of nightly communication with your child. By getting into this habit when your children are young, they will be more likely to talk with you when they hit the turbulent teenage years. The easiest way to strengthen communication is to eat as a family each night. Unplug everything and spend time around the kitchen table.

The beauty of quality time is that it will afford you opportunities during neutral times to talk with your child about his or her school behavior when he or she is more receptive to your feedback. If you are not in this habit, it is more difficult to approach your child about his or her behavior without it fueling a power struggle. So when your child misbehaves at school, find the right time and just talk with your child. I can think of no better homework, nor can I think of any better way parents can support teachers efforts at school.