A SchoolHouse for Everyone

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How to Ask for Help

Laura Grill
February 23, 2021

Parenting is difficult. It just is. It is the most important job you will ever have with the least amount of academic preparation possible. People have polarizing and varying opinions, and just because you lived through childhood doesn’t mean you always know what to do. It’s a delicate balance between trusting your instincts and seeking advice.

But it takes a village and there are many experts out there who have dedicated their careers to research and learning best practices. One size does not fit all; all children are different; and please, take everything I say with a grain of salt.

As a parent and teacher there are phrases or thoughts that I have adopted not knowing their origin. I haven’t kept notes throughout my career as an educator or as a parent. Also I am TERRIBLE with names. Thus, I didn’t realize the impact this book has had until I recently came back to it.

The book “How to Talk so Kids Will Listen, and How to Listen so Kids Will Talk” by Joanna Faber and Julie King came up in a recent conversation. I knew it sounded familiar so I went to my trusty Kindle, and sure enough, I had purchased and read it in 2015. I decided to re-read it, and I am glad that I did.

During my second read I was reminded of certain vignettes that I have thought about frequently. 

Some little nuggets involve not asking “Did you have fun?” As parents, more than anything we want our children to be happy- but the child shouldn’t feel that they are letting down their parents if they didn’t have fun. 

The book gives strategies for teaching respectful independence, and mitigating conflict. 

Now, even though I have read the book, and have read it twice! I still break so many of the recommendations - daily! But it’s worth reading because it has helped me recognize some of the blips in my communication. Increasing our metacognition in anything that we do, whether it’s playing tennis, problem solving, cleaning will only make us better and more thoughtful. 

The title of this post is “How to Ask for Help” because a big part of the book talks about how to empower your child. How for you to know when to step in, what helping means to your child (and to go back to my favorite- letting them carry their own backpack because they can!).

I think that this is one of the gifts of the SchoolHouse model. The teachers have the opportunity, and time with individual students and with the pod to empower the children. Students do for themselves because the teachers can be flexible with the time. Students learn more about the process of problem solving versus just the algorithm. 

It’s the same with parenting. It’s one big process of facilitating problem solving versus rote memorization. how to problem solve (real problems) because they are getting more than just worksheets.