When Home and School Clash

It's Halloween time, and your son's teacher asks everyone to draw witches, ghosts, and goblins for a bulletin board. Your child is confused. You avoid Halloween at home and church. What should he do?

You can resolve parent-teacher conflicts such as this in ways that make your child feel okay. Randy Zila, teacher, principal, and parent says parents first of all should be proactive. Zila's tips:

Communicate up front. Before school starts, set up a teacher-parent conference to talk about the teacher's educational plan for the school year. Have an open mind and willingness to compromise. For example, there may be a valid reason a teacher assigns a questionable project.

Express your values. For example, say, 'When you get to Halloween, we have strong beliefs about the holiday.' Then ask the teacher if he or she has alternative activities that won't single out your child. 'It's very important that a teacher has that communication from the beginning,' says Zila. 'That way, the teacher has the background and a little more knowledge about where the child is coming from.'

Be honest. Tell your child why you're meeting with the teacher. For example, express your beliefs about Halloween. 'Plan ahead to avoid embarrassing your child,' says Zila. 'It only magnifies the difference in kids' beliefs vs. the teacher's beliefs if you're not honest.'

Reprinted in full from Children's Ministry Magazine, September/October 1995, p. 58.

© 1996 by Orthodox Family Life and the original author(s).
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