“My Teacher Is Mean!”

A smiling teacher holding the door open for happy students

By this point in the school year, I’m sure some kids are complaining about their “mean” teachers.  It’s important to keep in mind that most teachers are caring, dedicated, and well trained.  Even so, each teacher has a unique style, and it’s healthy for kids to learn how to adapt to these different styles.

Kids can benefit from teachers who are warm and patient, as well as from those who are more business-like and demanding.  If your child is having trouble adjusting to a teacher, here are three easy-to-learn Love and Logic tips to help them effectively deal with the situation.

Tip 1:  Always Remember Empathy
When kids say something like, “My teacher is mean.  I hate her,” what they need most in the moment is a loving ear, not lectures, threats, or someone to “fix” the problem.  Wise parents respond by asking, “You really don’t like her?  That must be tough.  If any kid is smart enough to find a way to get along with her, it would be you.”  Be sure to let your child know how much you love him or her, and always be willing to listen to any concerns.

Tip 2:  Avoid Negative Comments About Teachers
Regardless of how much we might disagree with our child’s teacher, it is imperative to send our kids the message that teachers must be respected and listened to, even if they might not agree with what their teachers say or do.  It’s never acceptable for them to be disrespectful or disobedient to their teachers.

Parents who make the mistake of making negative comments about teachers in front of their children set them up for academic failure.  When parents encourage children to deal positively with difficult teachers and stressful situations, their kids learn how to solve their own problems and overcome life’s challenges.

Tip 3:  Help Your Child Learn From Tough Teachers
Love and Logic parents help their kids by asking, “Why do you think it is good that you have a tough teacher?”  When they answer by saying, “I don’t know,” these parents respond with, “Maybe it’s a chance for you to learn that you can be successful with even the most difficult people.  That’s one of the most useful skills in life!

Keep in mind that if it’s clear a teacher is so difficult or negative that even the best behaved and most responsible student would find it impossible to adapt, then intervention might be necessary.  Fortunately, these types of educators are rare.

When we follow these tips, we give our kids the gift of knowing that they can succeed around all different types of people, which will help improve their self-concept.  You can learn more about enhancing self-concept, and thereby help your kids deal with difficult teachers, by listening to our audio, Shaping Self-Concept.


Thanks for reading!

Dr. Charles Fay


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