Periodically students are given their report cards by the school system. They are evaluated as to their achievement in various areas of the curriculum. Some excel. Others have not been as fortunate and have fallen short of the desired standard. Reassessment is needed to steer a more successful course.
Just as students are evaluated on their performance, so, too, should parents. Is the parent relationship with each other and with the kids as good as possible? Parents are the leaders, the mentors, in the family. Parents set the tone, establish the expectations, and evaluate accordingly. It is appropriate for parents to be evaluated as well. Perhaps, based on the information gathered, some reassessment and modification would be necessary.
The following questionnaires can be helpful in raising self awareness and engendering better communication within the family. One questionnaire is for kids to evaluate parents and the other is for parents to rate themselves. I have used these instruments in my practice and in workshop situations. They have been effective in improving dialogue between parents, as well as parents with their kids. Try to be as honest and objective as possible. Help your child answer the questionnaire if needed. Some of these questions may make you feel uncomfortable, but I assure you that they are relevant.
REPORT CARD FOR KIDS: Circle the appropriate letter for Mom. Put a square around the grade for Dad.
1. Tells me regularly the he/she loves me. A B C D F
2. Respects me as a person. A B C D F
3. Understands my moods. A B C D F
4. Respects my privacy. A B C D F
5. Teaches me what I need to know. A B C D F
6. Listens to my problems. A B C D F
7. Shares sexual information freely. A B C D F
8. Has a sense of humor. A B C D F
9. Appreciates how hard I try at school. A B C D F
10. Is consistent and fair with expectations and discipline. A B C D F
11. Treats each child in the family fairly. A B C D F
12. Accepts my friends. A B C D F
13. Does not nag. A B C D F
14. My parent’s marriage is a… A B C D F
15. My dad shows love to my mother. A B C D F
16. My mother shows love to my dad. A B C D F
17. I am happy in this family. A B C D F
18. I contribute my fair share in the family. A B C D F
19. I show love to my parents. A B C D F
20. I am being honest in this exercise. A B C D F
Things I wish were different in my family are….
FOR PARENTS: For each item please grade yourself. Mothers use a circle. Dads use a square.
1. I tell my child regularly that I love him/her. A B C D F
2. I show respect for my child. A B C D F
3. I am understanding of my child’s moods. A B C D F
4. I respect my child’s privacy. A B C D F
5. I teach my child what he/she needs to know. A B C D F
6. I listen to my child’s problems. A B C D F
7. I share sexual information freely with my child, appropriate to age. A B C D F
8. I bring humor to the family. A B C D F
9. I appreciate how hard my child works in school. A B C D F
10. I accept my child’s friends . A B C D F
11. I am consistent and fair with my expectations and discipline. A B C D F
12. I treat each child in the family fairly. A B C D F
13. I do not nag. A B C D F
14. My marriage is a(n). A B C D F
15. I show my love for my spouse. A B C D F
16. My spouse shows his/her love for me. A B C D F
17. I am happy in this family. A B C D F
18. I contribute my fair share in this family. A B C D F
19. My child experiences my love. A B C D F
20. I am honest with these answers. A B C D F
Things I wish were different in our family:
What do the “REPORT CARDS” indicate? Did you get further insight into the thoughts and feelings of various family members? What are you going to do with that information?
Quality relationships between parents and kids are built on love, trust, respect, communication, consistency, and a willingness to adapt to the changing developmental needs of the family. Your willingness to participate in an evaluative process indicates a desire to be the best parent you can be. You can bet that this will have a positive pay-off for your children, personally and academically. Your kids deserve your best efforts.