Can a school counselor talk to my child without my permission? (5 reasons why)
School counselors deal with various situations in regards to the normal, and developmental issues of your child like friendships, managing strong feelings, resolving conflicts and peer pressure. They operate under the laws of confidentiality and try to gain trust with students so that they feel comfortable going to them when needed.
In a case when a child gets into some sort of trouble in school, the school counselor will not bother asking the parent for permission to talk to their child, they will take the initiative to make sure the problem is resolved, and if needed be, to involve the parents. School counselors try very hard to work through the problems at school and advise students on making good choices. Meeting with the school counselors are something most children enjoy and seek out.
Yes, the school counselor can definitely talk to your child, without your permission. And they don’t really need to ask for one, unless it threatens the life or security of your child. In most cases, if the student chooses to visit and talk to the school counselor without the knowledge of their parents, the counselor needs to respect that, until and unless the harmful behavior is seen in the child.
Therefore, it is not illegal for your child to be spoken to by the school counselor without your permission.
Here are the five reasons why you should let your child speak to a school counselor:
Counselors help them cope up
School counselors are there to listen and help. They will talk to your child and take their problem seriously and try to find a good solution. School counselors are trained to help with basically every child’s concerns, not just the school stuff. It can range from dealing with mixed emotions and feelings especially when puberty hits, or dealing with grief and sadness, or just talking to the child about their dream colleges and future course.
When life gets busy for the parents, we often do not have time to really sit down and talk to our child in regards to their every concern. School counselors are trained specialists, with special training and certification in counseling and up-to-date on all the top things that affect our child’s behavior, and including trends that affect their performance in school.
Counselors are bound by law for confidentiality
When your child meets with the school counselor, the conversation will most likely be confidential. The counselors don’t go around school talking about the issues your child might have. In very rare cases, when a counselor needs to break confidentiality is when someone is at risk of being harmed. He is bound by law to report it to the proper authorities.
School counselors are authorized reporters in good faith. This refers to the assumption that the authorized reporters, to the best of his/her knowledge, had reason to believe that the child in question was being subjected to abuse or neglect. The school counselor acts legally and ethically when reporting and does not require anyone’s permission to report child abuse.
Counseling is usually done individually or in small groups. The counselors have a private office for individual meetings. The child doesn’t necessarily have to know exactly what’s bothering them. It is ok to set up a meeting just because the child is feeling bad or not doing well in school. It is the counselor’s job to find out what’s going on by listening to the child. In fact, it is better for your child to see the counselor if you know something’s up, even if you don’t know what the trouble is about. There’s a big chance
that the counselor will figure out and solve the problem faster since they have the skills and resources required.
Counselors can set up meetings in groups too. Group meetings can help people dealing with similar issues, such as divorce or death in the family. In the group settings, people can share their feelings and learn other people’s coping mechanisms. Not only do they get ideas of other people in the group setting, but it can also help to know that other students are going through the same thing and they are not alone.
Student counselors provide parents/guardians the support just as important as the support they give to the students. They may facilitate individual, parent-teacher, or parent-parent consultations to make sure everyone is aware when it comes to issues regarding students whether it involves educational progress, disciplinary actions, or social development. School counselors also provide education and counseling to parents and act as a resource for parents who have questions about child-related problems. They may also find other resources for parents and guardians if they need extra support within the school or the community.
Enabling overall development
Along with educational and career development, it is also important to focus on social and personal development of the child. Students need to acquire knowledge, good attitude and proper interpersonal skills to set their own goals, make and be accountable for their own decisions and make good choices to achieve those goals. It is important that children know how to become a good human being and become a responsible citizen of the community.
The Role of a School Counselor:
According to the Nalanda International School, Vadodara, the roles of a school counselor comprises of:
- Give wings to the dreams of children though vocational and career-oriented guidance.
- Lends an ear to individual problems both academic and personal.
- Aids in personal development.
- Offers information about jobs, interviews, career scopes, advantages of selecting a specific field, and the process of achieving it.
- Advises on study techniques.
- Makes the child mentally prepared for future outcomes.
- Leads the child to a pathway by motivating on strong points.
- Works on polishing the skills to reach a determined goal.
- Introductions to external agencies.
School counselors can give you all kinds of advices and tips on various issues with sound judgment. Most likely, whatever your child is having trouble with, the counselor might have seen it previously and have already bunches of word of wisdom on the most proficient method to help them work through it. It can be on tips on going to stand for themselves when being bullied, overseeing pressures, conversing with the parents, and managing outrage and other trouble-some mind sets. Counselor can also
prompt them on issues they might have with an educator like difficulty in communication or question over academic grades and requirements.
Seeking guidance though a School counselor:
Most schools do have a school counselor who tries to make life easy for the students. When your child joins a school, you can ask to meet with the school counselor who can prepare your child’s journey ahead. In many cases, the counselor is the one who keeps an eye on the students and their academic performance. If the counselor sees that the child needs more attention, disturbed or lacking something, they will seek a meeting with the student. A teacher may also initiate a meeting between a student and a counselor when they see concerns that need to be addressed.
It is smart to become acquainted with the counselor regardless whether the child has an issue or not. This encourages them to feel good with the counselor on the chance that they might need to actually see them in an emergency. It is easier to discuss an extreme issue when the child is comfortable with the counselor.
When do counselor’s need to seek parent’s permission?
All professional ethical codes in health, social and counseling fields to obtain informed consent for clients and patients, and in many states it is a legal obligation. Although informed consent is one of the important values of the helping professionals, many of the codes including the ASCA Ethical Standards for School Counselors recognized that informed consent is difficult and sometimes hard to obtain. Informed consent requires understanding of the students on the limits of confidentiality and can be difficult to obtain from students of certain developmental levels (ASCA, A2. 2010). Just as the school counselors must understand that utmost confidentiality can never be guaranteed, so too they must come to recognize that informed consent is largely unattainable with students in schools.
Remember that going to a school counselor is different from going to a therapy. A school counselor is limited to talk about school stuff and daily problems of your child. If the counselor feels that your child is suffering from a psychological disorder, they will advise to seek a therapist. In this case, a parent’s consent is needed especially if they are underage. In certain states, if the child is younger than 18, they will require a parents’ permission to go to a certain treatment.
Most parents always have their child’s welfare and best intentions in mind. They want them to grow up as responsible adults and reach their maximum potential. The school has provided them with the best tools and guidance to be able to achieve this. A school counselor’s becomes an integral part of their academic, social and interpersonal development. A child goes through different developmental milestones and achievements as well as hurdles and challenges. Varying degrees of peer pressures, academic challenges and expectations are constantly increasing as they go through the school years. And these are all important for the lessons to be learned and equip them with the attitude and right perspective needed as they become adults.
As much as parent’s want to become aware and be informed of their children’s activities and counseling in school, they also need to know that the school administration has their child’s best intention and wants to succeed in their endeavors. School counselors are all about the best experience that your child can get from school. The role of the school counselor today is very different from what it was many years ago. Their role now is more holistic and broader in a sense that it does not focus only on academics and career guidance. They help students with almost any problem that gets in the way of their learning, guide students to bright futures and try to create a positive environment for everyone at school. Finally, what is there is to lose to have someone listen to your child, and guide them while parents are not with them.
FAQ: Can a school counselor talk to my child without permission?
Can a school counselor talk to my child without permission?
- When I was a high school counselor I had over 500 students on my caseload. If I had to ask permission every time I spoke to a student not much would be done. I don’t even have to tell parents I spoke with their child unless the child is threatening to harm themselves, others, or being abused.
Can my counselor tell my parents what we talk about?
- The school counselor is bound by legality to tell anything which endangers the life of the patient or anyone else, otherwise it should be confidential.
How much can I tell my school counselor about my parents without getting them in legal trouble?
- If it describes emotional abuse or poor parenting, not physical abuse, counseling might benefit your parents, but it would likely benefit you too. You are perceptive in recognizing your parent’s demands as unreasonable, and in recognizing and implementing effective ways to deal with it.
Does a school counselor have to reveal what they and their child discuss in their sessions to the parents?
- No, they don’t. The only thing they would have to discuss with anyone is if your child is a danger to themselves, or others.
How to become a school counselor?
- Earn a bachelor’s degree in counseling, psychology or related subject.