Communication Short-Circuits Potential Problems,
Believes John Lazares
What’s the single most important thing parents can do for their kids?
“Participate,” says John Lazares, author of “Please,
Don’t Call My Mother!”
Sounds simple, doesn’t it? But Lazares, an acclaimed Ohio school superintendent,
emphasizes that simplicity does not equal easy.
“Parents need to participate in every facet of their children’s
lives,” he says. “That means at school, in sports, in
hobbies–and at home. It doesn’t mean you and your child have to
do everything together, but it does mean you have to communicate with your kids about what
Parent-teacher communication is also key to children’s success, especially as
students move into middle and high school, Lazares insists. Adolescence is when the parenting
work really begins, he emphasizes.
Because true communication between home and school can be tough, Lazares is a strong advocate
of telephone calls and home visits. His commitment to introducing himself to
parents–long before there were problems to discuss–led to an
innovative “parental intervention” program that sharply reduced
middle school discipline issues.
It was the success of this incredibly simple–and free–program that
put Lazares on national television and filled his mailbox with requests for how-to advice. And, that,
to no one’s surprise, led to his straightforward, step-by-step guide to creating a
parental intervention program in your own school.
A second-generation American with strong ties to the Greek community, Lazares and his wife are
the parents of two. Now superintendent of the Warren County (Ohio) Educational Service District,
he has also been superintendent of the Norwood and Kings Mills schools. He is a graduate of
Miami University and a resident of Maineville.