Boys and school

Boys and school

I recently picked up some consulting work with a local school district helping teachers of pre-k students who did not see the pediatrician during the pandemic, and therefore, did not get referred for early intervention services. So many children were impacted negatively by the pandemic. Thankfully children are pretty resilient.

When I did behavioral consulting in years past, almost all of my initial referrals were young boys. I experienced this myself as a parent with my oldest. We joked when he was a toddler that he had 2 speeds: high and off, nothing in between. We were lucky in that he had an amazing preschool experience, the most patient Kindergarten teacher, and best of all, a Quaker education from grades 4-12. I will always remember his lead teacher from 4th grade. She was also his math teacher and it took her a good 4 months to teach him that he could approach math problems in any way that made sense to him. His response from those early months: “you tell me the right way to do the problem, and I won’t get in trouble if I do it that way.” Ooof.

We were lucky that we found the right school fit for our boy, but that is not the case for all families. I read the book The Trouble With Boys when we were researching school options for our boy, and the content stands true still to this day. So why is school hard for a lot of boys? Here are some links to possible answers to that question.

Kindergarten is the new 1st grade.

No more recess at school.

Few male teacher role models.

So what can you do as a parent of a boy in school?

  1. Get involved at your child’s school. Bring supplies to the classroom (they are always needed). Join the PTA. Volunteer to help proctor one of those super boring end of year exams. Being active in your child’s school gives you a window into his school life and sends the message to school staff that you are a team player.
  2. Be proactive. If a teacher expresses a concern, offer up what you can do at home to help address the problem. Be sure the teacher knows you are a team and working together.
  3. Intervene earlier rather than later. Don’t be the parent whose only contact with the teacher is when there is a bad report card grade. Too little too late at that point. But, if you end up in that scenario, make a concrete plan to address it the next semester/trimester.
  4. Talk to your son. Ask questions that cannot be answered with just yes or no responses, start the conversation with something about your day, and my favorite question I stole from a friend this week…what was the best part of your day with a friend?

Fellow parents, chime in. How do you best support your sons at school?

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