Supporting Children When They Are Wrongly Accused gives 5 Tips for helping your child. PLUS- 3 FREE parenting resources are also included in this episode!
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Transcript for Supporting Children When They Are Wrongly Accused
Welcome impactful parents! Today, we will talk about how to support your child when they are wrongly accused of doing something that they didn’t do.
Today’s question from the audience: “I am trying to figure out how to help my young teen. A teacher thought he was on his phone and called him out in front of the class. He did not have his phone, and the teacher did not apologize. He is having a hard time moving past this and becoming productive in class. How do I help him work through his feelings so he can move on?”
This is a great question, and today I will give you 5 tips to helping your child that is wrongly accused.
Tips #1 for helping your child that is wrongly accused is: Support your child first. What I mean by this is, believe your child and show empathy. Could your child be lying to you about what happened? Sure, but probably not. When your child comes to you sad, obviously bothered, and needing help- then they are likely telling the truth. Your child is looking to you for support and what to do. Your child doesn’t have the life experience yet to know what to do when an authority figure wrongly accuses them. Taking their side and believing what they say means the world to your child. They need your support.
Then also show empathy. LISTEN to what happened and let your child vent about their frustrations. They need a listening ear right now.
Tip #2 for helping your child that is wrongly accused is: Talk with the person who made the wrong accusations. Your child isn’t mature enough yet to handle the situation alone. Even most teenagers don’t have all the skills they need yet to confront authority figures appropriately. Having said that, take your child with you when you confront the authority. They need to learn these skills, and watching you advocate for them will teach them how to advocate for themselves. In this case, talk to the teacher. Ask for a meeting time where you can talk to the teacher privately without students around. The objective of the meeting should be to discuss your concerns and how the accusation is affecting your child. This meeting is NOT to make the teacher apologize or see they were wrong. You want to work with your teacher, not against them. To do this, you want to approach the meeting with
- A quick summary of what you heard happened in the classroom.
- A quick explanation of how your child feels like they were wronged and treated unfairly
- The concerns you have for your child moving forward. Explain to the teacher how your child feels disengaged and doesn’t want to make an extra effort in class anymore due to the separated relationship between the teacher and the student.
Good teachers will listen and understand how they may have made a mistake with the explanations you give and the efforts you are making for your child. Many teachers will problem-solve with you and your child during that conference and even apologize. Teachers are humans too and make mistakes often. Productively advocating for your child (coming from a place of concern) and NOT attacking the teacher. Don’t come at the teacher acting like Mama Bear. Instead, opening the conversation with a tone of concern will help diffuse the situation and open up the room for your child and the teacher to talk and reconnect. That is the main goal of this conference! Your child needs to feel safe and reconnect emotionally with their teacher. Your child feels so badly because they trusted their teacher and now feel like their teacher turned on them. To bring your child back to productivity, he has to reconnect with his teacher emotionally. He has to feel safe in the classroom. Kids don’t know how to facilitate these conversations alone, and it’s scary for them. That’s where you come in. You need to make the appointment and set the tone for the conference as gentle, concerned, and worried. Coming at the teacher like a Mama Bear will only put the teacher in defensive mode from the beginning. Then the meeting won’t be productive. So be careful in your approach.
Tip #3 for helping your child that is wrongly accused is: Make some next step changes if you have to. I hope that the situation resolves itself with step 2, but sometimes it just won’t. Here is some next step I suggest after talking with the teacher and getting a failed response.
- Talk with the principal. Yeah, go talk to the boss and see if you can make changes on a higher level.
- Ask to change teachers. Switching teachers is the last resort because I don’t want to encourage your child to avoid their problems. Still, sometimes it can be easier to just change classrooms. Sometimes kids can’t get over their hurt emotions and need a fresh start in a new class to get back on track and feel happy again.
- Start documenting what the teacher does. If the problem persists, you may want to document incidents so that you can present a more reasonable argument for concern to the school. This will also allow you to see patterns in the classroom.
Tip #4 for helping your child who is wrongly accused is: to talk about the consequences of allowing this incident to affect their life. In step 4, parents are trying to build resiliency in their children. Life sucks sometimes, and it’s difficult to see our kids in emotional pain/frustration. Still, as a parent, we can use these “bad moments” to teach resiliency. Start by talking with your child about the consequences of their actions. What is going to happen if you don’t care about this class anymore? Are you going to let this one person’s mistake affect your future? I am giving you a free PDF today to help your child process the situation and help YOU ask the right questions. This PDF gives you the right questions to ask your child to learn from the experience. It may not seem like much, but asking the right questions is the key to success with kids. To get your free PDF, go to https://theimpactfulparent.com/learningquestions
Tip #5 for helping your child that is wrongly accused is: watch out for thinking traps. When you get kids talking, but they are hurt emotionally, you will hear them speak absolutes. “The world is going to end.” “I am going to fail.” “Everyone hates me.” These are unhealthy ways of thinking that teens fall into really easily. You’ll want to watch out for this, and so to help you, I have 2 awesome resources.
- The first is this video where I talk about Thinking Traps, what they are, and how to spot them. The link is: https://theimpactfulparent.com/thinkingtraps
- The second is this FREE PDF that you can print out that helps you remember what all the Thinking Traps are so you can reference the PDF later when you need it. https://theimpactfulparent.com/thinkingtrapspdf
But until next time, parents. You got this. I am just here to help.
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