kym asks: How can I approach my mom to transfer me into another school?
Hi kym –
You might have seen already that I’m a huge fan of formal conversations. In other words, I’ve seen tons of disasters when a kid or teen tries to casually, spontaneously, bring up big issues. Like when their mom is uptight in a traffic jam, trying to get them to school on time, even though they got out of the house fifteen minutes late because the youngster didn’t get up when they were supposed to, and the kid says, “I think it’s unfair that I’m supposed to be home by ten o’clock, because I want to go to a party with some new friends this weekend and it’s all the way on the other side of town and no one’s going to want to leave before eleven because the college kids don’t come by with the beer before ten!” Mom is not going to do well with that!
On the other hand, if you walk up to your mom and say “Hey Mom, there’s something really important I want to talk with you about. Can we have some time alone, maybe have lunch or dinner together or something, to talk about it?” She will be so impressed with that request that you’re already in good shape (She’ll also probably have a vivid enough imagination to have come up with ten ideas of what you’re going to say, all of which are so much scarier than school transfer, that your real subject will give her a huge sense of relief!).
So that’s good for starters. Then comes the most important part, though. That’s what you present to her. If you’re at a great school that’s close to your home, and want to transfer because you’ve heard there’s someone really cute at another school ten miles away… your odds aren’t good. But if you have some really good reasons, present them to her. For example, if any of these are true, they’d be very powerful:
1) I’ve seen some gangs around school, and they’re selling drugs to students
2) There are some bullies there who’ve been stealing my money
3) Most of my friends have left this school, and I’d like you to talk with their parents about why they made that choice
4) I’ve found that many of the teachers at this school don’t really care about their teaching, and I’d like to go to this other school that has a great academic reputation
5) I want to swim and take gymnastics, and this other school offers them while mine doesn’t
6) I’d like to study modern literature, comparative religions, and Latin, and none of those are offered at my school
Do you see where I’m going, kym? What we want is for you to speak to her desires for you. She of course wants you to be safe, to have fun, and to get a great education. So what are the reasons you want to transfer that she’ll care about?
And if this other school isn’t worse than yours, and isn’t wildly farther away, you might find that she’s pretty receptive to some “not so important” arguments too. Like maybe the other school offers a better social atmosphere, with more sports and dances. She was a girl once, and she’ll understand.
Just try to speak her language, and you’ll probably do great.