When to contact your child’s school

I am not sure how often my parents contacted my school when I was growing up.  I think that they had a sense of trust in the institution of public education that the professionals had a firm understanding of how to best educate me and also had my best interest at heart.  I think that my parents also a firm understanding that part of instilling a sense of independence and responsibility in me was to allow me get knocked down (in the figurative sense) and rely on myself to get back up and try again.  During my high school days, I was that “average” student that was told that my potential was far greater than my achievement.  My parents pushed me but did not push my teachers.  They trusted my teachers.  More importantly, they understood that they would not always be around to swoop in and rescue me.


As hard as it can be, we need to let our children feel the anxiety that is associated with conflict, failure, and disappointment.  It is only by experiencing this anxiety that our children can learn to cope with it and recognize there are still methods and mechanisms to overcome it.  With that said, there are times that is in our children’s interest to contact the school and intervene.  This is a non-exhaustive of list of some situations when it is important that you contact your child’s school.


  1. Bullying.  A school’s administration should be contacted immediately if there is bullying occurring.  There is significant evidence that bullying is a risk factor of developing mental illness, future violent behavior, substance abuse, and suicidal thoughts and actions.
  2. There is a violation of legal document.  This could be an IEP or a Section 504 plan.  These are legally binding documents that are put in place to level the playing field for students with disabilities and must be implemented with fidelity.
  3. To collaborate.  In most situations, the schools goals will be very much aligned with your own.  Schools have a vested interest in your child’s success.   You are a stakeholder in your child’s education and if you have ideas or a plan that will help your child be successful, let the school know.
  4. Threats of harm.  If you know of a child that you think is at risk of being harmed either by an adult or another child, reporting this to school could help prevent this act from occurring.
  5. Change in behavior or work habits.  There is a good chance that the school would be in contact with you if there were a drastic change in behavior or academic performance.  If this occurs, and the school does not contact you, it is appropriate to place a phone call to the school and request a meeting to brainstorm solutions to assist your child.


These are just a few times when contacting your child’s school is perfectly appropriate and reasonable.  Children are quite resilient.  Most children can overcome and cope with many of life’s challenges.  Allowing your child to have a voice to speak up for themselves and develop their own problem solving strategies with your guidance is integral in their growth.


Commenting, responding, or posting on this site is not intended as and should not be interpreted as psychological service, advice, treatment or personal counseling. The transmission of any comment, response, or other electronic communication does not create a professional relationship between Dr. Roth and you. The information on this website or in any e-mail communication is not a substitute for psychological services or treatment nor does it represent the professional views or opinions of Dr. Roth.   Dr. Roth is not responsible for the content of the postings by others as those postings represent the opinion of the person who made the posting.   If you are in need of psychological services, please contact me via my office phone at 609-217-0973 to schedule an appointment.

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