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Wednesday

6 Simple Ways to Deal with Controlling, Pushy or Abusive Teachers

Tired of hearing stories from your child about what a controlling teacher supposedly said or did to him or her?  For some of you parents, you doubt the truth about a situation involving your child because he or she might have a history of lying or exaggerating.  However, some parents know better, and find that troubled teachers have a long track record of lying, covering up, and doing other things to stay out of trouble with bosses.  When repeated issues arise between teacher and your child, it's time to listen closely and put your pen and feet to action!

1.  Document what your child has said about the teacher and what you know or observed.

When you notice teachers are often behaving in ways that leave you scratching your head when it comes to your children, note your findings.  Analyze what might have happened to cause a teacher to behave in a confusing or unprofessional way.  List each incident.  Note dates and times your child came home with a story about what his or her teacher said or did to him, her or other students.  Some teachers have health concerns and are on medication that sometimes affect their line of reasoning.  Others are simply tired of dealing with children and are in need of a break.  Some things could be going on with your child as well.  Investigate both sides of the situation before coming up with a conclusion.

2.  Keep copies of any paperwork that will help prove cases of control, pushy, or abusive behavior.

Problematic teachers will slip sooner or later, when they do, be sure you have copies of the paperwork they send home--good, bad and otherwise.  They have your signature on file when you signed homework, permission slips, and more, so you will want to start a file on the teacher.  This  will come in handy later.

3.  Talk with children through your children and other parents.

Sometimes the best source of information are from the children themselves.  Have your child interview his or her friends about what was said or done in the classroom.  If you are able to talk with your child's friend about what he or she witnessed, do so.  Record what you heard.  Two plus stories are better than one.  Talk with parents about their observation, but keep your personal opinion and intentions about the teacher out of the discussion.  You never know how close the parent might be with the teacher.

4.  Ignore repeated requests from the teacher for your assistance and set up meeting(s).

The more cooperative you are with a teacher (for instance, assisting with tasks in the classroom) you claim is trouble, the more you will appear like you are okay with how the teacher is treating your child.  Cut off the friendly, yet personal exchanges; instead, be firm and professional.  Politely refuse requests to assist the teacher with activities.  Don't reply verbally or physically in an insulting manner to the teacher's messages when you notice something you don't like.  Rather, call the individual or see him or her directly about the matter (consider bringing someone along as a witness).  If he or she is responding to your concerns using tactics like: blaming, minimizing, exaggerating or lying, escalate the situation.  Excuse yourself from the meeting and call her boss.  Note the results of your phone or in-person meeting with the teacher.

5.  Report all offensive behavior to boss/principal and other school officials.

Set up a meeting with the teacher first via phone or in-person.  You might want to meet with the principal and possibly include the teacher in on that meeting.  Be sure you have someone or a group with you to show support.  Keep in mind, some school leaders and members of the Parent Teacher Association (PTA) have buddies--those individuals they don't want to get into trouble.  You might want to attend a few PTA or school board meetings first to find out how strong or weak the group is and who might be the friendly connections to the teacher in question.  Find out what others' experiences have been like with the problematic educator.

6.  Consult with attorney and/or police if need be.

Depending on the severity of the situation, you just might want to seek the advice of an attorney and/or police officer.  They can help you determine whether the situation is considered abusive and what your rights are.  Don't mention the teacher's name or others involved at first.  If you do, you might find you are looking in the face of a relative or friend of the person or people in trouble.  So do learn what you can about your rights and only mention names to those you believe you can trust.  Research the name of the attorney or police officer on the Internet and check out Linked In and Facebook connections before sharing specific details about your case.

You will find that as you learn more about the situation with a troubled teacher, you will think of additional ways to deal with him or her as well as other school officials.  The school year is long and as it comes to a close, it seems like it gets longer.  Be encouraged and know that when you are doing what's right, you will have the victory!

Nicholl McGuire shares spiritual insight on YouTube channel: nmenterprise7

Pushy Teachers - Parents Push Back

They send far too many fliers home requesting your participation in one activity or another.  They believe the more they ask, the more you will share of your time and money.  They have little regard for the other children you are parenting, the household responsibilities you have, job obligations, bills, and more.  Pushy teachers push parents over the edge with all their criticisms, rules, ideas, schedules, structures-- you name it!  Then they act as if they don't understand why a parent goes off or blows up on them! 

"I have this great idea and I would just love it if the parents would help me with it...Now Jane's mom can buy this...Peter's dad will bring that...Carol's grandma is so sweet, she will help me with the kids...Let's see who hasn't volunteered or gave money yet...hmmm?" Pushy Teacher says.  "I think I will create a flier, send an email, see the parent when he or she picks up the child or drops her off, set up a meeting, tell the child to talk to parent..."  In addition, pushy teachers who don't like that smart kid in the class who questions them on their rights and wrongs or that one who is often disruptive tend to target parents because "I just don't get why the child is always...I really wish the parent would...There are some kids I just don't like..."  Other pushy teachers will turn some children into teachers' pets while hoping they can get teachers' pet parents in the process!  If you don't see through the strategies, you will be taken for your time and money all in the name of loving and caring for your child.  Consider this, are you able to bombard people with communication outside of your workplace to help you with your job/idea/plan for free?  If so, you got yourself some willing volunteers.  But if not, you have to pay someone right?  A person who is somewhat skilled at what you do.  Sometimes it is just best to leave some people alone who have shown little interest beyond getting a child taught and that's it.  A teacher, who is like a used car salesman trying to get everyone who walks through her door to buy this or that, will find out sooner or later that it is best to simply leave some parents/customers alone.

So the emails, the printed fliers, and even your child comes home with messages daily/weekly/monthly from his or her teacher announcing classroom/school projects, holiday celebrations, collaborations with other teachers, needed items for field trips, and more.  It doesn't stop, pushy teachers keep pushing and pushing and pushing!  Discerning parents push back.  They don't permit teachers to run over them or run with their money or time.  They put limits on their giving and in some cases they sit out altogether depending on what is happening at home and elsewhere.  Teachers who are more concerned about accolades, personal achievements, and more could care less about parents' home and work life.  In their eyes, they are slackers, lazy, don't care about their children, and form other judgments when parents aren't like Jane's mom, Peter's dad, and Carol's grandparent who manage to give and give and give some more while hoping their precious children will receive some kind of favor.  Sometimes this works, other times it doesn't.  Familiarity breeds contempt.

As the pressure to push parents and children to do more of this and that increases from educators and others, there will also be some pushing back.  Some teachers use and/or abuse children to get what they want from parents by setting their sons and daughters aside or apart from group activities just because a parent chooses not to volunteer or give money to some grandiose idea/project/holiday event.  It is unfortunate but what might have started off as harmless with some teachers and good for the children will eventually turn ugly as more and more parents consult with school officials and attorneys due to the mental duress children and parents undergo from pushy teachers.  This is a serious issue for many who are already overwhelmed with personal and professional pressures.  It isn't any wonder that some parents flip out on teachers.

The communication for some of these pushy teachers is overkill and oftentimes useless when it is clear that most parents have indicated they are not interested in assisting.  How many letters, emails, text messages, and more does a teacher (turned beggar) have to send out even after parents have said, "I'm sorry this is not a good time...We have other obligations...We are not able to help...Please stop sending my child home telling me what I ought to do...?"

Kudos to the educators who have enough sense to put the brakes on all the unnecessary projects/ideas/event planning etc.  But to the pushy teachers, it isn't any wonder why you don't get the support you do?  The narcissistic teacher, the control freak counselor or principal, the weak PTA or nonchalant school board who refuses to see the writing on the wall when a parent complains will eventually reap for not doing their part when it comes to being understanding about parental plights and rights.

There is no one size fits all parent and not everything at home, work, church, after school, or at school appears to be "normal."  All should keep that in mind.  Push back parents on pushy teachers!  You are not obligated to do anything more then what you're already doing and that is making sure your child is cared for and taught.  Stop feeling guilty when you don't help out with something.  Stop being pressured or bullied into doing things you don't want to do.  Meet your goals, give back when you can, and do what is right.  Children do well in an environment of love and peace, not busyness and stress!

God bless.

Nicholl McGuire, author and blogger of When Mothers Cry and a mother of four sons.

Friday

Spring Break with Children, School Break Challenges

Well you knew it was coming, days off from school and you hate it!  Look, your secret is safe with me.  For years, I wasn't too happy about spring break either especially when I had two in diapers, one was being breast fed and the other was always into something.  The other two (yes four at home) would sometimes physically and verbally fight.  This is one of many reasons I lean on God to date as a result of motherhood issues.  See my work on YouTube channel nmenterprise7.  So I know what it is like to resent those days off from school particularly when you have little money and no job outside the home.

Spring break with children doesn't have to be too bad when mom makes up in her mind she will not be defeated by crying children, whining tweens and smart-mouthed teens.  You will be strong!  You will find your peace even while you struggle with school break challenges.  Here is a list of things you can do to get through this mentally and physically draining period.

1.  Get up, put your clothes on, and start your day with a sense of purpose.  When you do, you will be ready to do some things with the children when they plead, "Can we go out?  Are we going somewhere today?"

2.  Partner with other mothers or ask a supportive relative to tag along sometimes when you go out.  It makes it so easy when you have someone who can relate and is calm and patient with you and your kids.  Avoid those relatives who will only make you angry and wish that you would have never asked them to help.

3.  List activities you want them to participate in that will do the following:  give you a break, make life easier around the home (like doing chores for starters--more on this later), and won't wear you out!  Those time-consuming craft projects that require adult supervision will burn you out.  Having the children participate in something where you need to be present, a waste of time and money when you have a lot to do.

4.  Chores -- put children to work.  Create another list of everything those hands can do around your home.  From dusting to putting dishes away, everyone should have a task.  Did you see what I had my little ones doing at three and four on YouTube.  If not, see here and here.  This is another video I did as well, When the Kids are Busy Everyone is Happy.

5.  Stretch and exercise.  They can do it and so can you.  Breaks tend to make everyone eat more because the food is readily available and school related events have slowed down.  Afternoons and evenings.  Who says you only need to go out once a day?  Get those children going a couple of times a day--wear them out!  If you can take them to a gym where there is a daycare and you can afford it, do it.

6.  Visit people willing to watch your children or take them along to family events.  You will usually reap the benefits later after they get use to seeing you.  Many grandparents don't like the sudden phone call asking for something or dropping by and leaving children yet there is little conversation.

7.  Check into local recreation and park departments in your town/city to see what activities are taking place.  Go to church and ask members to pray for you and family.  Make time for God, because you will need Him!

8.  Use those rooms in your home and separate children. Anyone who leaves an area will have to deal with you!

9.  Take advantage of gaming devices, video, music, computers, and other things, but don't let them babysit the children for hours and hours.  Set a timer so that you won't forget about them--lol!

10.  Baths, swings, jumpers, music, vacuum cleaner noises, full belly, change of scenery/fresh air, card rides,and frequently changed diapers often helps those fussy babies.  Otherwise, you can stay in a room and pace the floor while crying right along with baby.  If the situation is not under control and other symptoms seem to be getting the best of baby, you will need to make that dreaded doctor's appointment.  See WebMD for health concerns.

As always, thanks for stopping by.

Nicholl McGuire shares spiritual insight on YouTube channel: nmenterprise7.

Distant Daughters, Troubled Mothers - No Contact

Wednesday

Why Bother Reaching Out to Some Relatives and Friends?

They can't help you, don't really like you, and seem to tolerate you because your mate puts up with you, these people you call "family, in-law, son, daughter, best buddy...," why do you continue to bother with them when you know the relationship has clearly changed?

I thought of this when I saw a family of Mexicans coming out of their home and I said to myself, "Don't they get tired of one another, I mean having so many people living in a small place and everyone knowing so much about you..."  From a distance, it appeared relatives, in-laws, and friends were cool, but when I looked closely at their faces, I saw stress.

Now if we were all living together for a long period of time, we would grow angry with one another and might even threaten not to see one another again.  Yet, most of us don't live in an atmosphere with many people, but our cell phones are crowded with phone numbers.  When we have slow moments in our lives, we call the good, bad, and ugly in our lives, don't we?

Why do we bother with some folks?  Because they are mothers like us, bought our kids something years ago, said something nice about us, hoped that things had changed with them, God told us...why? These lukewarm individuals rarely acknowledge us, partners and our children, and will seldom, if ever, send us anything.  Some dispense compliments few and far in between.  They don't sound happy to hear from us.  And thinking back, they really didn't care for us when we first met them, and that hasn't changed for some.

The holidays come along and now everyone wants you around and this one is celebrating a birthday and that one is expecting you show up to this child's game, but what is happening in the meantime? Nothing.  No phone calls and other forms of communication unless you initiate it.  Sometimes they are the ones who could have, should have, and would have done for you and children, but decided that because they don't like how someone behaved with them or what they heard about you, they will not make much contact, if at all, with you.  People in relationships experience this much especially with in-laws.  If the husband or wife doesn't do well about connecting with his or her side of the family, the rest of his or her family members are forgotten.

Not only do relationships with partners take work, so do maintaining a connection with relatives and friends and because of this, we must look beyond that old circle of relatives and friends.  The folks you grew up with served their purpose and some of those friendships have since expired.  Some relatives may or may not be there for you depending on their mood for the day, whether they are generous, or really like you.  Whatever the issue, I ask again, why bother reaching out to some relatives and friends?

Nicholl McGuire shares spiritual insight on YouTube channel: nmenterprise7  

Tuesday

21 Things and Counting When it Comes to Schools Making Money Off the Parents

A public school that two of my sons attend is indeed a money-maker!  There isn't a week that doesn't go by where we parents don't receive a list of upcoming activities, needed supplies and more that require our money.  Here are 21 things the school did to get money from us, and I'm sure someone will get the bright idea to use one or many of these ideas.  But I warn you before you bring up these ideas to money-grubbing leadership, greed will get some groups and individuals in trouble sooner or later. 


We live in a time where everyone is asking for money to pay for this and that, and for some people, including myself, it can be quite taxing especially when some smell generosity a mile away!  I'm not surprised when some parents and others go off when yet someone else is asking for a donation of money and time!  Enough already!  Greedy people and those with big ideas hoping to keep their own money to self, deserve just what they get, no support!  So check out the list of everything that has cost many parents much this year.


1. Scholastic book fairs twice a year and advertising in between to visit website to buy books.
2.  Friday weekly treats.
3.  School store.
4.  Fee to join PTA including frequent requests to volunteer for too many events to count.
5.  Restaurant events--partial proceeds go to the school when you spend money you shouldn't eating out.
6.  Afterschool programs that usually cost $80 plus dollars per child over a 10 week period.  Add gas, snacks, eating out at restaurants, uniforms, and other things needed to join the soccer team, acting, chess, science program, and other activities.
7.  Art made by the students.  A long list of things for you to buy so that your child's artwork can appear on the items.  Price range from $6 to $50 plus per item. (As if the paper crafts, drawings, cardboard box projects, and other stuff isn't already enough stuff!)
8.  T-shirts for everything your child's school participates in when competing with other schools.
9.  Holiday fund-raisers (Easter, Christmas, Valentine grams, cards, candy, novelty items, etc.)  Most companies don't support these fund-raisers because many people at work have kids doing the same thing.  The issues of having to support your own child, your co-workers, the boss' kid, etc. will take you to the poor house faster than you can say, "I don't have any money..."
10.  Buy needed school supplies at the start of the year.  (Seriously, why are we doing this, don't public schools get money from somewhere other than us?"  Just think when you have more than one child, this adds up.  Then the teacher will send a note back around again about mid-year indicating what she has run out of in the classroom.
11.  Penny collections to pay for school property.  (I can't even keep pennies in the house anymore!)
12.  Field trips. (Need I say more?)
13.  Holiday classroom parties.  "Could you please send XYZ items, and also this, and we will need that...could you donate your time too?  We really want to have a fabulous party for the children..." Who's idea was it?  You will pay for your own party!
14.  Supplies needed for recitals and plays.
15.  School projects
16.  Annual school photos (twice a year).
17.  Yearbooks
18.  Box top collections.  (Tempted to pay slightly more for an item to help your kid's school, eh?)
19.  School lunches (not everyone income qualifies to get free lunches).
20.  Library fees.  (I was on my kids like a drill sergeant this year to return books.)
21.  Uniforms bought through the school's supplier.  (No thanks, Walmart here I come.)


School leadership and staff at many schools are also beggars, score keepers, and members of a club.  I find it sad that the profession just doesn't have the reputation it once had in many circles.  I resent being asked over and over again for contributions and if you don't someone is smiling in your face asking you about doing this and doing that.  Many of us moms made financial sacrifices to be available to our children, partners and other kin.  Then along comes yet another program, request for service or money that isn't doing anything more than entertaining children that need to learn as much as they can.  (I can take them on a couple field trips myself.) Some staff use our hard-earned money for ideas that don't really pan out in the way these originators/innovators had hoped anyway. 


I pick and choose with the giving, but to be quite honest I am turned off with literally hundreds of fliers that have come home asking, "Could you help..."! 


Nicholl McGuire

Friday

No One Size Fits All When it Comes to Motherhood Accomplishments, Failures

I have read many articles and blog entries over the years about where mothers should be when it comes to different stages in their lives.  A twenty-something woman has graduated from college and is starting out in her career and quite possibly saving for a future home, retirement, etc., a thirty-something woman has money saved up for a house while hoping to get married and have a baby, and then the forty-something woman is supposed to be stable in her career and ushering children off to college.  Sounds about right for you?  Not hardly.  Most mothers don't fit into these groups the way some of these mainstream news media outlets report.  The information they provide is what they hope the majority would do by using various examples that might inspire many young women to start off in life that appears to be most beneficial: college, career, marriage, children, etc.  But as most of us moms know, our children dictate much of our lives once they are here while they reach milestone after milestone.  There comes a point in our journey where we have to take a step back and let a husband and/or children shine.  How long that occurs we never know depending on what our situations require?  A disabled child, a cheating partner, a crazy parent, debt, extracurricular activities...one never knows when life will settle down long enough for us to say, "Now my turn!" We find ourselves jumping right into achieving goals at times when it appears to be the wrong time when it is really right.

Those career goals you once had changed once you fell in love and had children.  The peace and quiet to do what you want at anytime of the day no longer existed when you moved in with a man or he with you.  Then throw in relatives and friends into the mix and now a daughter or son wants to either stay in the hometown she once grew up or move as far away from it as she possibly can.  Things change sometimes for the better and other times for the worse!  We ride with change or die trying.

Mothers don't come to this blog because they have it all together, they show up with pain in their hearts, frustrated with choices, irritated with spouses and children, and more, but through it all they thrive anyway.  Each challenge presents a life lesson and we either embrace, push back, ignore, fight, or move on!  For we know, only the strong survive!

You and I didn't go through childbirth just to have bragging rights we survived, we went through such a profound experience to be released from all those things that bound us mentally, physically and spiritually.  We were to look at our children and recognize the fact that we are responsible for looking beyond ourselves now, mature, grow, teach, etc. we are to experience another dimension of our existence in this life.  It was never meant to be all painful or all joyous.

I personally think that some mothers have lost sight of who they are as women, mothers, wives and/or spiritual beings.  They have permitted worldly activities to weaken their minds, covetousness and jealousy to divide their hearts, over-eating to slowly kill them, and life challenges to separate them from their Creator and His will for their lives.

There is no one size that fits all mothers and don't let anyone throw you in one big box labeled, "This is what motherhood is supposed to look like."  In addition, there is no chart that can be used to track our progress which tells us, "You have arrived, now do this...and if you don't make it here, then something is wrong with you."

So keep on crying mother, release the pressure, and then get back out there and win at whatever you know you are called to do.  And if you don't know, then you might want to take more time praying, and less time being bombarded with people and things that constantly analyze you.  Meditate on wise books, may I suggest the Holy Bible for starters?

Nicholl McGuire shares spiritual insight on YouTube channel: nmenterprise7


Tuesday

Winners, Losers and Playing to Win: Children's Sports and Parents

The tears on my eldest son's face after his team didn't win in the soccer finals, I will never forget.  It was one of those moments that I had to watch my son learn a life lesson after a string of wins, "You win some, and then you lose some."  I didn't comment on the team's mistakes, the fact that my son was one of the hardest working kids out there, or times where I thought a call or two was a bit fishy.
The point was, he was a child that wanted to play a game that was competitive despite adults saying things like, "It's just a game...their having fun...no big deal."  Those comments mean nothing, there are those of us who know all to well about playing to win.

A loss or a win doesn't matter much to those who are use to losing or average performers, but it means everything to those who are born leaders.  Consider the competition in the classroom, at the job, and even when one is online trying to get a date!  You seek for the opportunity, you meet goals/dreams, and you look for that win!  This is why some make good wages while others make just enough to buy bread, milk, eggs, a bit of cheese, etc. while praying that their pay will cover all the bills.  It's a mindset, a discipline, and a desire to win or best when it comes to competing with others. You want to come out ahead!  There is no wrong in that!  Everyday you get up and get out there to run life's race (whatever that might mean to you) the desire is to complete it while you hope for the win and if you don't do well, you get back out there and shoot for the win the next and the next.  Achievers do this!  Goal-oriented people do it!  Millionaires revel in it!  

Most recently, I witnessed yet another life lesson, this time with my third child.  He had won at track running the 50 and 100 meter yard dash, and received two medals to prove it.  While parents who wanted very much for their children to win dismissed their losses with sighs, laughs, encouraging words, or negative comments about other competitors, I saw something arise in my kid I didn't like a couple days later, and that was pride.  A light bulb went off in my head, taken from the Holy Scriptures, "Pride comes before a fall."  His time was coming, he would be humbled, "You win some and you lose some."

We, parents, build our children up, but life will break them down.  We can hope for the best, make light of sports, tell them how proud we are, and do other things to encourage them, but there will be life lessons and some will be harsh.  I think of my second eldest son who had to sit down this past basketball season.  He injured his back prior to, so he had to spend time recovering.  His basketball shots for the camera were put on hold and his bragging about what basketball shoes he was going to get was no more, he had his old ones to view.

There is a season for all things and sometimes parents must take the time out and ask this question, "Is the game really about the child or about you?"  Sometimes parents are missing out or losing at so much: marriages, employment, money, family relationships, dreams, etc. that they use their kids' sports to distract them from the truth.  Rather than win at a personal competition between self and everything else, they put their children out on the field or court while hoping that their child's winning or besting will ease the pain that they are feeling inside.

I ask you this, "Are you losing at something?  How bad do you want to win?"  Ponder the following, "...the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favour to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all."  Ecclesiastes 9:11 (KJV).

Nicholl McGuire shares spiritual insight on YouTube channel: nmenterprise7
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This freelance writer, author, wife, and mother of four has been writing for almost 20 years about a wide variety of topics ranging from spiritual experiences to self-improvement products. Nicholl has also been a leasing consultant for multi-family dwelling complexes and an events planner in Euclid OH. During 2004 she relocated to San Diego CA and continued leasing apartments to singles and families. In 2006, she became a community manager at an elderly housing complex in downtown Los Angeles. Since then she has been working as a writer from home. Nicholl self-published her first book entitled, "Laboring to Love an Abusive Mate." For more information about the book visit Amazon.com She has another book also on Amazon, entitled, "When Mothers Cry" as well as other books. For more of her work, feel free to stop by Blurb.com. There she has creative photo and journal books. If you have benefited in any way from Nicholl's writing, please do take a moment to show support, buy any one of her books, share her posts, subscribe or comment. Be blessed!

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