Does your child come home with stories of how his teacher has upset him? It almost seems to be part of childhood and adolescence-every so often, your child will have a teacher with whom he just can't seem to get along. Sometimes it's a simple personality conflict; other times, your child is having difficulty responding to authority. I think that the very first thing to do for your child in this situation is validate how he feels. Don't agree with him and say, "Yeah, you're right; your teacher is a jerk." When you undermine the teacher's authority, you are giving your child permission to disrespect her. On the other hand, you should allow your child to share with you what it's like in class. Don't tell him he's wrong or that he shouldn't feel a certain way. Once your child has been heard, he'll be more receptive to hearing your ideas about what he can do to make the situation better.
If your child is old enough, he has to learn to accept the fact that certain teachers require things that he might not agree with. It's a fact of life that not every teacher is able to give your child what he would like to have. It's a fact of life that some teachers are quite strict; they're not warm and fuzzy. As a parent, you definitely would not want to ask them to do their job differently. Instead, work on helping your child. Say something like, "You know, you're going to meet a lot of people in life, and you have to learn how to get along with them. Even though this teacher isn't your favorite, part of your job this year is to get through it, be respectful and do your best. I wonder how we can figure out how to do that?" (There's nothing wrong with asking the teacher for some ideas, as well.)
If the teacher does seem to be at fault, meet with him or her and share what your child's experience has been. You will want to try to find some middle ground if at all possible. You might also want to bring in another administrator or official, like the school social worker, to this meeting. This will keep things civil and give you some support should you need it later.
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