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Parent/Teacher conference and modifications for my son???

Dear Obsessive Mother's Guide to Parenting,

I hope you can answer this quick because our parent teacher conference is Friday.  My son is in the 2nd grade.  He is very bright and very kind.  He has some OCD issues and anxiety and ends up wanting to check his work over and over again before he turns it in.  His teacher has been having him finish his work over recess and the principal suggested my son be sent to the office to finish his work if he doesn't during class time.  This is the last thing I want.  That would only raise his anxiety and he needs outdoor time during the day.  I am so nervous about the conference.  I want to be level headed, but I know I'm just going to end up in tears.  We are meeting to talk about modifications for him and other school counselor stuff.  What should I ask for?  What should I be prepared for? I need some quick advice.

Sincerely, Jennifer from Spring

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Dear Jennifer,

          You’ve brought up quite a few topics here and we’ll try to solve them one at a time.

1st) Having a child who is diligent in making sure his answers are correct is a WONDERFUL thing.  Do not let this character strength get discouraged.  Your son may need some personal growth help in controlling this and I’ll give you an example a little further on.

2nd) Bring paper and pencil to the meeting and practice saying, “Great idea… what other ideas do you have for me so that I can help you?”  Turn the conversation around from unwelcome criticism to a chance to learn more…. a.k.a ..You are asking them for ideas, rather than them forcing their ideas on you.  And just write.  When you feel a thought arise in emotional reaction to something they say, jot it down.  Jot down supporting points to your thought and when they ask for any questions you have, share your point of view. (…after a few deep breaths and a drink of water)

3rd) You are absolutely right about your son NOT missing recess.  What you are ultimately trying to teach your son is to find a balance in life between work and play.  When he is the world’s best heart surgeon someday because he has continued with his insistence on excellence throughout his academic career, the world will thank you both.

4th) As far as modifications, ask for “extra time” on assignments.  Offer a “work- to-be-finished-at-home” folder for worksheets in class.  If your son is feeling peer pressure from others who have finished their tests and are waiting on him, ask that he be allowed to test at an alternative location, such as the library.  Make sure the location is a place your son would be comfortable, (as in probably not the principal’s office). 

Ask for a “pre-check” by the teacher, as in, she would pass by his desk while he was testing and put check marks by the problems he already has right.  He won’t need to obsess about questions 1-5 for example because he already knows those are correct. 

And finally, from the idea of personal growth of a balanced life, try these post-it notes.  The teacher would put one on the top of each of your son’s assignments and he practices saying, “I checked it once.  I checked it twice, and now I turn it in.”  Your son gets to make the check marks on his post-it.  He gets to go back over his work as he wants to, but he is learning to accept limits on how many times he should check something before he trusts that he did it right.

Hang in their Jennifer.  Your dedication to your son is admirable.  You are only trying to do what’s best for him and for him to have the best educational experience possible.  You are doing a great job.  Keep us posted on how the conference goes and as always, Happy Obsessive Parenting!

Sincerely,

The Obsessive Mother’s Guide to Parenting

If you have a question you’d like answered, send it to obsessivemothersguide@gmail.com and look for your answer in upcoming columns.