To Be an Advocate for Your Child

May 21st, 2009

What parent hasn’t heard these words? “Be an advocate for your child.” But what does it really mean?

When my 6-year-old started first grade, I kept hearing those words over and over again from parents with children in the public school system.

“Be an advocate for your child.”

And I wondered…what did people really mean when they said that?

Now I know. And I’m here to tell you, this is what it means:

- Talk to your child about his day at school.
- Visit the classroom.
- Ask questions.
- Follow-up.
- If something doesn’t seem quite right to you, talk to the teacher. Talk to other parents. Talk to the principal. Talk to the PTA. Explore the formal complaint process in your school district.
- Follow your gut.
- Use technology to your advantage: ask questions on listservs. Email your questions to other parents. Do research on-line.

By rights, I should have been blogging about gardening again, and sending my post off to my friend Sommer for this month’s Green Moms Carnival. But instead, I was learning what it meant to be an advocate for my child.

What’s been your experience with advocating for your child? Leave a comment and share!

More later -

Lynn

Copyright 2009 OrganicMania

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8 Responses to “To Be an Advocate for Your Child”

  1. Sommer on May 22, 2009 11:45 am

    Being an advocate for your child is something I know all to well myself and actually advocate for all children in Michigan when it comes to early childhood. For me being an advocate for your child takes on a day to day role but also a legislative role telling your law makers what you want them to do. I just did this yesterday in Lansing (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ybjBefQ9RWc) and can tell you I understand how exhausting it is. I advocate for children and parents all the time and try so hard to get parents to do this for themselves. It’s hard work but good for you. I hope the turn out was a good turnout but as you know there are always two sides and two loving parents at each end of the table so it is emotional tough.

    Sommer’s last blog post..The Green Teen: Help Me Win and Donate 10 of These Books

  2. Having a Voice For Your Kids and Cause : Green and Clean Mom ™ on May 22, 2009 1:07 pm

    [...] to include this at Green and Clean Mom but then I saw my friend Lynn posted a great article on advocating for your child and thought it would be appropriate to share my thoughts with you. The word [...]

  3. Lynn on May 22, 2009 2:02 pm

    Hi Sommer,

    Thanks so much for the response and all the tweeting too…

    It is funny – after I wrote this post I went to a meeting at my younger son’s childcare center where a new Mom was talking about how upset she became when someone bumped into her 6-month-old’s stroller. I almost laughed, and thought, “Oh, just wait till she sends her precious bundle off to the public schools!” It’s all in one’s perspective, I suppose, but I can say that I was my usual persistent, tenacious self, and it’s reaping rewards, to the great relief of many other parents in my son’s school. I just wish it didn’t take so much effort! I still want to get that carnival post in to you…you can put it up anyway, right? :) — Lynn

  4. Jennifer Taggart, TheSmartMama on May 23, 2009 2:23 pm

    Right on Lynn. Advocating for your child can be “small” in the sense that you just participate with your child to something “big” taking on legislation or regulatory reform. And advocating for children can just be educating, like talking about 1,4-dioxane in personal care products.

    Jennifer Taggart, TheSmartMama’s last blog post..Non Toxic Solutions for Insect Repellants and Controlling Bugs

  5. Lynn on May 28, 2009 11:34 am

    You’re so right, Jennifer. It’s just a shame that so much needs to be done. The situation I ended up getting involved in seemed so obvious….and was obvious, once the right higher-ups got involved. What a waste of time and energy and a sad situation for all involved. — Lynn

  6. Organic and Green Mom Blog | Gardening with the Green Moms: Talk About Stress Relief! at Organic Mania on May 28, 2009 1:32 pm

    [...] added to the carnival after its launch, because I was …well…stressed out dealing with child advocacy and green advocacy issues; an elderly, sick mother; stitches for Baby Boo; and the everyday [...]

  7. Organic and Green Mom Blog | Organic & Green Savings: CVS, Whole Foods & Bethesda’s Giant Food at Organic Mania on May 31, 2009 7:27 am

    [...] been a while since the last Green and Organic Savings feature. With all this child advocacy, green activism, and taking care of clients , I’ve not had time for my long, leisurely shopping [...]

  8. Having a Voice For Your Kids and Cause - Go Green - SustainLane on June 2, 2009 2:30 am

    [...] to include this at Green and Clean Mom, but then I saw my friend Lynn posted a great article on advocating for your child and thought it would be appropriate to share my thoughts with you. The word [...]

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