When you feel the need to correct or redirect your child it is best to do so privately. This includes instances when they are with their friends, family, at the grocery store, and yes, even during parent-teacher conferences. When you observe your child making poor choices you can do one of two things: hold off and bring it up in discussion later, or ask them to come with you for a moment and when out of earshot of others guide them to help them understand that there may be better ways to get what they want.
With regard to conferences, whatever the teacher has to say is what the teacher has to say. You can ask questions, you can nod. But if your child is with you, and something negative is brought up thank the teacher. Let her/him know that you and your child will discuss what has been said later.
By doing this, you are telling your child that he/she is respected and deserves the courtesy of being allowed to save face. It also says that you trust and honor their perspective. If they have indeed done something inappropriate, it can be dealt with at home, later. The teacher can also be contacted at another time to further discuss the situation. (Maybe the teacher could use your help.)
And, always attempt to begin a conference discussing areas of strength, What is my child doing well? What does he/she seem to enjoy
After all, we succeed by our strengths and not our weaknesses, right?
About the author
Kate Martin has been a high school teacher for 27 years and retired from the Racine Unified School District in 2015. She taught students with special needs as well as those in general education. While working with hundreds of parents over the years, she discovered that there was a significant lack of resources and educational opportunities to help them navigate the many demands of parenting today. For this reason, in 2013 she founded The Purposeful Parent, offering workshops and resources for parents, teachers, and caregivers.