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Resolving Teacher-Child Conflict

If your child has ever come home with a bad review at kindergarten or preschool and you've asked what happened you may have gotten the response, "My teacher doesn't like me." You probably brushed this response off as an excuse or didn't put much thought into it. However, something more serious could have developed, or is in the process of developing. A child/teacher conflict can be a sticky and uncomfortable situation for a parent.

Student Behavior in Preschool and Kindergarten

There's nothing more irritating to a teacher than hearing that sentence come out of a parent's mouth. You should acknowledge that your child is not perfect and no one is; this has nothing to do with how you raised them. On the other hand, you shouldn't totally discredit what your child is trying to tell you about the teacher. He/she may feel like a teacher is specifically targeting them and it's important to try to improve your child's relationship with their teacher for a number of reasons. First of all, you don't want your child dreading school and you also don't want the conflict to interrupt with their learning process. Furthermore, you don't want the teacher to label your child as a "troublemaker" or a "bad student." Try to improve the communication between your child and their teacher by:

  • Listening carefully. Don’t ignore things your child is telling you about their teacher and vice versa. You always want to have open communication with both sides.
  • Stay optimistic. Don’t undermine the teacher’s authority and if you are planning to talk to the teacher don’t walk in with preconceived notions.
  • Make intuitive observations. Before jumping the gun investigate the conflict. You may want to talk to other parents who have their child in the same class and ask them if their child has any issues as well as talk to another parent who may have experienced a similar situation. Either way, interpret the discussion accurately, don’t mistake someone’s past experience as the right thing to do in your specific situation.
  • Talk to the teacher. Don’t walk in with any predisposed mindset regarding the situation or the parties involved. Respect the teacher and listen to what he/she has to say. Ask for the teacher’s evaluation of the matter and what he/she suggests. More than likely this is something they have experienced before.
  • Make yourself available. Offer to volunteer for any school event where your help may be needed. Also, keep in contact with the teacher and check up on the situation. Just because there hasn’t been any new developments in a while doesn’t mean the problem is solved.

Teacher and child conflicts usually put parents in a tough spot. Remember that you don’t need to “pick sides,” you need to act as a mediator. Listen to both parties and offer support and interest in solving the issue.