Strong Families, Strong Daughters Blog

How to be the Best Partner in Your Daughter's Education

Terri Collins

An important mark of a great school is that it works closely with parents for the good of each student. When parents are in unison with their daughter's school, together they are best able to achieve the common goal of educating young women of character.  How can you be the best partner in your daughter's education?

The first step is to foster a growth mindset in your daughter. A student who is ready to learn and has a growth mindset will accept challenges and failures as a part of learning. She will have a healthy notion of her self-worth as a child of God who is loved and supported by her family. 

What can parents do to help her develop this mindset? 

Wise parents strive to instill in their family culture a joyful confidence in God's love for them. Trying to see God's providence in the events of each day and making an effort to fulfill His will fosters serenity and peace. 

Secondly, children thrive when a home environment is joyful, warm and encouraging. Home should be a refuge. Children feel grounded and secure when Mom and Dad love each other and sacrifice for their children. 

A girl who is confident in the love of God and her family is not only more capable of learning, she is more capable of soaring! She in turn will be a source of encouragement and joy for her classmates and teachers. 

So, how concretely can we reach this goal? 

Know your top priorities as parents so that you are devoting time to these. It may be that you and your spouse discuss your goals frequently. Maybe you discussed them when the kids were younger, but much has changed. The beginning of a new year is an excellent time to have the discussion again. 

I propose that parents make their top priority taking time to develop their own personal relationship with God, who entrusted them with these children. God is the one with all the answers, so it is good to stay close to Him and ask Him for grace and insight. 

The second priority should be your spouse. Consider making regular dates when you can really enjoy each other. A walk at some special garden or a picnic with a favorite bottle of wine is romantic and rejuvenating. Some couples avoid talking about anything stressful on these dates (the child who put a dent in the car, who is shirking her chores, or how much the new dishwasher will cost). These "family business" discussions can happen at a later time. 

The third priority for most couples should necessarily be developing their parenting skills. Here are some top suggestions to aid you along the way. 

1. Read the book The Hidden Power of Kindness. This can help you advance in all three of your top priorities, it will help you grow closer to God, to be a better spouse and learn how to live virtue better and pass it along by your example (the best way to teach) to your children. You might even read a little bit each night with your kids or with your spouse. 
2. For enhancing your marriage and parenting skills, I highly recommend our Family Enrichment course: "Journey Through Adolescence." You can begin registration today
3. For additional parenting development, I recommend the book The Collapse of Parenting by Dr. Leonard Sax. It provides a data-driven case for virtue, especially the virtue of self-discipline. He will speak at Oakcrest this November 20. 
4. Here is an article about creating bright and cheerful homes. Parenting is an adventure and it is worthwhile!

Terri Collins (Lucy ‘11, Helen ‘14, Audrey ‘16, Jill ‘17) serves as Oakcrest's Director of Parent Support. Mrs. Collins brings her knowledge, experience and love for Oakcrest to the role. She aims to provide excellent resources to our parents, such as the Family Enrichment program, and plentiful opportunities for parents to find friends among parents. Mrs. Collins is also the school liaison for the Oakcrest Parents Association (OPA).