Help! My Kids Don’t Talk to Me About School

Help! My Kids Don’t Talk to Me About School

Saturday, 15 April 2023 11:56

Parenting a school-age child comes with both successes and challenges. Here are a few examples of both the opportunities for success and challenges that may keep you up at night.

Parents Feel Successful When Students:

  1. Gain Independence: School-age children are becoming more independent, which can be a source of pride for parents. They are able to take on more responsibility and complete tasks on their own, such as getting ready for school or completing homework assignments.
  2. Develop Skills: School-age children are also developing new skills, such as reading, writing, and problem-solving. Parents can take pride in their child's progress and help encourage them to continue to develop these skills.
  3. Engage in Family Time: School-age children are often involved in extracurricular activities or have homework assignments, but there is still plenty of time for family bonding. This can include family game nights, movie nights, or even just spending time outside together.
  4. Have New Experiences: School-age children are beginning to explore the world around them and try new things. Parents can help facilitate these experiences and watch their children grow and develop.

Parents Can Find it Difficult When Students Experience:

  1. Social Pressures: School-age children may face social pressures from their peers, such as fitting in or bullying. This can be a challenging time for parents, who may need to help their child navigate these situations.
  2. Busy Schedules: As school-age children become more involved in extracurricular activities and homework assignments become more demanding, it can be difficult to balance schedules and find time for family time and other activities.
  3. Technology Difficulties: School-age children have more access to technology than ever before, which can be a challenge for parents trying to monitor their child's screen time and ensure they are using technology safely.
  4. Peer Influences: School-age children are often heavily influenced by their peers, which can lead to negative behaviors or attitudes. Parents may need to work to counteract negative influences and help their children develop positive habits and attitudes.

Parenting a school-age child can be both rewarding and challenging. By staying involved in their child's life, monitoring their progress, and providing support and guidance, parents can help their child navigate the challenges of this important stage of development.

One of the things parents find exacerbates the difficulties they already face is communication. Communicating with your child can be challenging, as children often have their own perspectives and ways of expressing themselves. 

What Makes Communicating Between Parents and Children Challenging?

Here are some reasons why it can be difficult to communicate with your child:


  1. Developmental differences: Children go through different stages of development that can impact how they think and communicate. For example, young children may have trouble expressing their emotions, while older children may be more self-conscious and guarded in their communication.
  2. Limited attention span: Children may have a limited attention span, making it difficult to have longer conversations or discussions.
  3. Language barriers: Children may not have the same language skills as adults, making it difficult to communicate complex ideas or emotions.
  4. Emotional barriers: Children may be hesitant to share their thoughts and feelings, particularly if they feel ashamed or embarrassed.
  5. Different perspectives: Children may have different perspectives than adults, which can make it difficult to understand their point of view.
  6. External factors: Children may be distracted by external factors, such as noises or other people, making it difficult to have focused communication.
  7. Power dynamics: Children may feel like they have less power in the parent-child relationship, which can make them hesitant to communicate openly or honestly.

Despite these challenges, it's important for parents to make an effort to communicate with their child. By taking the time to listen to their child, speaking clearly and simply, and showing empathy and understanding, parents can build a strong and healthy relationship with their child based on open and effective communication.

Communicating with Students About School

Middle school can be a challenging time for children as they navigate new social dynamics, academic challenges, and changes in their own bodies and minds. Parents can play an important role in helping their children through this period by establishing open and effective communication channels.

1. Develop a Safe Environment for Communication

Creating a safe and open environment means making sure your child feels comfortable and supported in talking with you. It's important to be non-judgmental and to listen actively when your child is speaking. 

Try to avoid reacting in a negative or critical way, even if what your child is saying is difficult to hear. Instead, focus on understanding their perspective and empathizing with their feelings.

2. Ask the Right Questions

Open-ended questions can be a helpful way to encourage discussion and draw your child out. These questions require more than a simple yes or no answer and can help your child express themselves more fully. For example, instead of asking, "Did you have a good day at school?" you might ask, "What did you do in math class today?" or "Who did you sit with at lunch?"

3. Be an Active Listener

Active listening is also an important part of effective communication. This means paying attention to what your child is saying, asking follow-up questions, and reflecting back on what you hear. This can help your child feel heard and validated, which can encourage them to share more in the future.

4. Be Patient with Your Student

Being patient is another key element of effective communication. Children may need time to process their thoughts and emotions before they feel ready to share them. Be patient and give your child the space they need to express themselves on their own timeline.

5. Take an Active Interest in Your Student

Taking an interest in your child's activities and hobbies can also help build rapport and make them more comfortable sharing with you. Encourage your child to pursue their interests and ask them questions about what they enjoy doing.

6. Share Your Own Experiences

Sharing your own experiences can also be a helpful way to build a stronger relationship with your child. Talking about your own experiences in middle school or high school can help your child feel more comfortable sharing their own experiences with you.

7. Utilize Technology

Finally, using technology can be a useful tool in communicating with your child. Text messaging, email, and video chat can provide a less intimidating way for children to express themselves, particularly if they are feeling shy or anxious about talking face-to-face. 

Use precaution to use this supplementarily, not as a primary form of communication. It can be considered another avenue that makes further communication available to them.

Elementary and especially middle school is a challenging time for children, but by establishing open and effective communication channels, parents can help their children navigate this period with greater confidence and resilience. 

Creating a safe and open environment, asking open-ended questions, listening actively, being patient, taking an interest in your child's activities, sharing your own experiences, and using technology can all be effective strategies for encouraging communication with your middle school-aged child.

How St. Paul Lutheran School Helps Facilitate Healthy Parent/Student Communication

At St. Paul Lutheran School in Northville, Michigan, we believe that effective communication between parents and students is key to success in the classroom and beyond. We work hard to facilitate open and honest communication channels that foster understanding, support, and collaboration between parents, teachers, and students.

One way we encourage parent-student communication is through our open-door policy. We believe that parents should always feel welcome to reach out to their child's teacher with questions, concerns, or feedback. Our teachers make themselves available for parent-teacher conferences and provide regular updates on student progress and achievements throughout the school year.


We also use a range of communication tools and resources to keep parents informed and engaged. These include weekly newsletters, class websites, and social media platforms that provide regular updates on school activities, student achievements, and other important information.

We recognize that every student is unique, with their own strengths, challenges, and learning styles. To help support each student's individual needs, we offer personalized learning plans and work closely with parents to identify areas for improvement and growth.

Finally, we believe that effective communication is a two-way street. We encourage our students to be active and engaged in the learning process, to ask questions, and to seek help when they need it. By fostering a sense of trust and openness between teachers, students, and parents, we help create a positive and supportive learning environment where every student can thrive.

Effective communication between parents and students is a cornerstone of our educational philosophy at St. Paul Lutheran School in Northville, Michigan. We believe that by fostering open and honest communication channels and providing a supportive and nurturing learning environment, we can help every student achieve their full potential.

Reach out to St. Paul Lutheran School for more information about how your student can be part of our student body.