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Yes, Parents Can Learn from Teachers..

(And teachers can learn from horses)

Quora question: What can parents learn from teachers about managing children's behavior?

Teachers have to manage students well in order to be effective so they can be a good resource for parents. Working all day, 5 days a week, 180 days a year with students, having to control your emotions and be professional at the same time, is a huge help to learning how to parent well.

I have also learned from my horses how to work effectively with students. I combined my learning from managing a classroom and from working with horses for years, to how to manage behavior with my 3 sons. (Not easy at times) I have shared some strategies that worked for me in the space below.

Here are some essentials that they do that can help parents:

  1. Have a clear plan. Teach the plan to the students and be consistent with it.

  2. Be fair.

  3. Enforce the plan. This means stick to the consequences that you choose.

  4. Design a plan that you are comfortable enforcing.

  5. Do not argue with students. Listen, hear their side, but stick to what you know is correct. You are the adult in the room.

  6. Start EARLY with your consequences. Don’t wait until you are angry to use your plan. What I mean by this is do not continue to give warnings over and over and over again. This is something I see fairly often with new teachers. Students (and horses) will tune you out because your warnings don’t mean anything.

  7. Be calmly confident. Students can feel this and will not challenge you when they know you mean it. Since I work with horses every day, I’ve come to realize that the calm confidence that a person needs to work around 1200 lb. prey animals is the same calm, confidence that produces a good response from students/kids/adults/spouse/partner. It is not being aggressive or timid. It is calmly in-between those two.

  8. Do not get emotional. In order to to maintain calm, it is important to manage emotions. Breathe slowly and deeply and pause before you react if whatever just happened is especially egregious. If you’d like to learn more about this read Chapter 28-It’s O.K., Even with Sheep Brains on the Floor! (In my book-Wait, Don’t Quit! It’s available on Amazon and on Google Play)

Final Thought: Working with horses has helped me in the classroom and with my own 3 children. Horses have been excellent teachers. We want them to be willing and open to learning while also staying respectful. We also want good rapport. The exact same thing we want from our students.

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