It complements our earlier publications Thinking Matters (in celebration of our promotion of free learning, learning that goes beyond the syllabus) and Wellbeing Matters (to express our commitment to a holistic approach to pastoral care which looks to support teachers and parents as well as our pupils).
We hope you will scan this collection of articles now and that the relevant ones will come to mind when you find yourself having a concern about your son’s progress or wellbeing: Is he doing enough homework, and is he working effectively at home? Why does he spend so much time behind his computer? Can one distinguish between ordinary and concerning teenage behaviour? How can I help him to make the right subject choices and prepare his university application – without becoming a helicopter parent?
These short articles are not meant to take the place of those all-important one-to-one conversations with your sons’ tutors and Year Heads, or with the counsellor or the chaplain. Rather, we hope they will facilitate such conversations, giving you the confidence to feel you know where we stand and that you can approach us in an informed way. We tend to find that when parents come forward to talk about their concerns later than they might have done it is because they felt they should know more than they do about the latest innovations in social media or in sex education, or what the new A levels look like, and why they have been changed.
The underlying principle of the series of articles which make up Parenting Matters is that we can support you in your parenting and that when parents support us, we are at our strongest. We always want to hear from you when there are concerns and we always want to find solutions with you.
There is, perhaps, already too much written about being a good parent, but what this series offers is something bespoke to the Alleynian today. What no third party advice can do, however, is take the place of the parent and the staples of being a good parent remain being a role model for the behaviours you and we want from your child and being as good a listener as you are a giver of advice.
We would be delighted if parents wanted to contribute their own articles to this evolving series. Please don’t hesitate to offer us professional or personal observations, but please be understanding if we have to say we cannot publish them as they are. What we would do, at the very least, is engage in a fruitful dialogue as to why that is the case. We would also value your feedback on the articles already published and your suggestions as to other topics to cover.
Dr JAF Spence