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Missing school and coddling kids

SOUTH PORTLAND (WGME) Parents want the best for their kids.  But sometimes they're giving into their children too easily - coddling them to the point they don't learn to stand on their two feet.  We talked with a parenting coach who says start early teaching lessons and stay calm. 

Bringing up kids is not an equation easily solved

Sarah MacLaughlin, parent educator and author, says, The teen brain is actually very similar to a toddler brainThey're impulsive, hard to make decisions, hard to follow thru."

Maclaughlin is the author of "What not to say -Tools for talking with young children."    She says moms and dads have to have a backbone when it comes to their kids and to stay calm not get triggered and be reactive.
Also, work on not coddling your kids or it could lead to missing school.

Suzanne Godin, Superintendent of South Portland Schools, says, "At the elementary level it's really easy for a parent to call in and say my child is sick today or we're going to visit my grandmother today or we're just going to take a day off not realize that its compounded over time."

At the South Portland school district the highest rate of kids missing school is in kindergarten and while some parents think it's not a big deal, an empty chair could mean missing important lessons

Godin says, "Missing a day or two early on in your elementary career sets a pattern of a belief system that school isn't important."

The South Portland school district says they have 30 elementary students who have missed 18 or more days last year - that's 10 percent of their school year.  Right now, they're working with parents to make sure every student is in class.

Godin says, "We tend to want to support our kids and believe them and help them and some times that tough love is the hardest type of support we can provide."

Sarah MacLaughlin says, "The life skill of you can have a big mucky life-scary-feeling and survive it and it's not the end of the world that's a huge life skill that gives you so much confidence to go out into the world and engage in situations that might not go well."

With life you can't erase the mistakes but you can try, try again.

There's not just one reason why kids are missing school.  It can be a complicated issue.  The Superintendent says they are working with other schools in Maine and organizations to educate and work with the parents.