Because you really don’t want to catch your teen with her hand in the cookie jar. (Or in the fridge, or with the car keys, or on her phone during class.)
Not if you value your relationship with her.
A better idea: Catch her being GOOD. Accept and love her even when she’s not. And let her know you expect greater and better.
This year’s Ichud Girls High School Teachers Orientation on September 6th featured a talk by Dr. Tamara Perlman, PsyD so riveting, it nearly upstaged the cheesecake and hot breakfast buffet.
Dr. Perlman is a renowned clinical psychologist with years of experience under her belt, specializing in trauma in adolescents. In her warm and captivating style, she focused on the far-reaching effects empowering teacher relationships have on struggling students.
Her years of clinical work have proven what many have suspected all along: after Mom, Teacher is the number one go-to person in a teen’s life.
Simple measures of showing up, spending time, and acknowledging their struggles and efforts as unique G-dly beings, protect our teens from the default messages their brains are wired to play: “I’m stupid,” “Nothing I do makes a difference,” or “What’s the point anyway?”
The goal is to celebrate them where they’re at.
- When you say: “You took notes in class today! Not easy with a Regent subject,” She thinks, “I’m a capable person.”
- When you say: “You made it to class within five minutes of the bell!!! Woohoo!” She thinks, “I’m a competent person.”
- “When you say “You davened Mincha every day this week!?! Those tefillos will rock the heavens!” She thinks, “I’m a connected person.”
And it’s this belief, this self-perception that imprints on her soul and psyche, reshaping her reality, and creating promise and purpose in her young life.
⚠ Hold it right there, Mrs. Bergstein! ⚠
Are you suggesting that I turn a blind eye and pretend my daughter or student is a faultless angel who can do no wrong? Where’s accountability? Where’s responsibility?
No, I’m not.
Because if you never expect more from your teen, you won’t get more.
Dr. Perlman explained that all leadership is in conflict between acceptance and expectation. A parent or teacher is the quintessential tightrope walker, the ultimate purveyor of symmetry in a child’s life.
In the word “emes,” spelled aleph mem taf, the aleph symbolizes the emunah, the unconditional love in the relationship. At the opposite end of the word, the taf represents the Torah, the rules and regulations we are expected to follow.
And in the middle is the mem, the mother or Morah, who constantly pulls between both, creating the right balance and finding the right tension point that will communicate both acceptance and expectation.
Staying in that space is what generates greatness and growth for our girls.
Takes your breath away, no? I thought so too. Keep that thought warm.
To cap off a superb event, my team and I released a reward system that changes how we at Ichud look at student struggles — specifically with attendance and class preparation.
All the right elements are there: acceptance, expectation, and student-driven accountability.
You can take your hand out of the cookie jar now.
We’re not looking. 🙈