When your child doesn’t like their teacher, its a great opportunity for you to lay the foundation for some very important life lessons.
But first, you need to talk openly with your child to determine that the teacher isn’t behaving inappropriately. Asking questions, and having your child provide examples will help you identify what the main issues are. This is a great way to help teach your child problem solving, working through issues, and also coming up with solutions.
If you have established that its a personality clash, which is most common, then you have the opportunity to teach your child how to handle themselves when they don’t like someone.
A conversation, when emotions are low and the location is neutral, is usually best for life lessons. Remember that personal examples can really help a child understand your points. Parents are their child’s role models, and therefore knowing that you too have faced similar challenges will be comforting.
A great opener is to establish the reasons why your child doesn’t like their teacher. Have them think and develop concrete examples. Then talk through them. Ask key questions like: how would you have done that differently? Or how could your behavior have changed the situation? Identifying the concept of personal responsibility when dealing with others is an important seed to plant in your child’s mind. This is also a great exercise in critical thinking.
Next, you can discuss why people don’t like each other. There are a lot of people in this world and we are not going to like all of them. Does that give us the right to be disrespectful? No. Does it mean we shouldn’t try to like them? No. Have your child think of things they do like about their teacher. Stressing the positive over the negative is a good way to develop an optimistic attitude in your child.
Also, have your child think generally about solutions. This teaches problem solving. Did they get off in the wrong foot? A peace offering can be nice. Older children can even make an appointment to talk to their teacher (with your chaperonage) about this dilemma.
Working through the issue with your child and having them be an active participant in problem solving is a great way to turn a negative into a positive.
For smaller children, you can try to work through some of these issues with different approaches. Drawing and then discussing emotions is a common practice in child psychology and may be an effective way for the child to better describe their feelings. Role playing can be a fun way to get the child actively thinking about their own behavior and how it can impact a situation.
When all else fails, make an appointment to talk to your child’s teacher. First, try a private one on one meeting where you can discuss your concerns. If a solution seems possible, schedule another meeting and bring your child into the dialogue.