EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA


December 22, 2013

Children learn valuable lessons from problems solved

Dear Doctor,

The teacher our son has in the seventh grade, or I should say one of them, is not working out well with him.

The teacher is a male and we were hoping for a positive year. Our son is not a bad student and causes no trouble. He says the teacher does not like him, yells a lot and is “mean.” He is having stomach aches and does not want to go to school.

We are afraid to go to the school since we don’t want to be known as making trouble. Can you give us any help?


Dear Worried,

What are you waiting for?

You do not sound like a “helicopter” parent who rushes in to rescue on any and all issues. Your son is responding to a perception of a teacher he thinks of as “mean.” The teacher, on the other hand, may misread your son or be utterly unmindful of how he is impacting him. You are your son’s advocate.

Contact the school. Talk with the principal and guidance counselor about the problem. Ask for a meeting with the teacher.

When that occurs, do not be accusatory or express negative feelings. State your mission as wishing to help both son and teacher have a more positive relationship. If the teacher is negative, you will know it. Teachers are people, and like all human beings, have their gifts and faults.

Most of the time things will improve. Trust your gut. If your son is miserable, ask to have him moved from this teacher’s classroom.

This should be a last resort since your son will benefit from seeing a problem solved. He will learn about the teacher, appreciate your advocacy, and learn people can work things out.

Meanwhile, blessings of the season to all.

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