If you were to ask your child “What did you do at school today?” they likely answered with a story involving a friend, fellow student or teacher. Relationships are one of the largest aspects of a child’s academic life. A positive interaction with a teacher can help ignite excitement in your child about a certain subject. A negative interaction with a fellow student can make a child not want to go to school the next day. Good or bad, relationships have the potential to make or break a child’s education experience.
Children learn about relationships through a number of ways. They pick things up through movies, music, and television, and they copy the actions of their peers, teachers, siblings, and (of course) parents. Kids are perceptive and easily molded. A positive environment with nurturing relationships set’s your student up for academic success.
• Students perform better in friendly and supportive environments.
• Students may not participate in class if they are worried they will get made fun of for a wrong answer.
• Students who are bullied or mistreated by their peers may struggle to focus in class, lose excitement for certain classes, or even start to dread school.
• Students, like in life, often have to work on assignments in groups or pairs. Students who struggle to work together may get lower grades.
• Students who feel respected and supported by their teachers are more likely to enjoy their studies and be motivated to try their best.
• Students who feel disrespected or unsupported by their teacher may disconnect from their class or lose interest in certain subjects.
• Students who disrespect a teacher or their classroom rules, may suffer disciplinary consequences or miss out on valuable class time.
Student – Parent Relationships
• Negative emotions or unhealthy relationships at home can follow children into the classroom
• Students in emotional distress or who feel unsupported may have difficulty concentrating in class.
• Children develop most of their social cues from the adults in their life. Watch your own social habits and relationships your child observes.
• Parents can help their child develop strong relationships by teaching them healthy boundaries. Talk to your child about:
o Appropriate vs. inappropriate touching o How to handle disagreements o Respecting the personal space of others o Learning to trust without trusting too easily o Being able to be friends or in a relationship with someone without losing their identity o How to say “no” and how to respect others when they say “no”
If your student is struggling with relationships either at home or in school there are resources that can help. Most schools offer counseling services for issues with peers and even adults. If you think your child is getting bullied or having issues with a teacher, contact your school administrator ASAP. It is better to be overly cautious than wait till your child’s grades drop or they act out.