Dealing With Teachers When There Is a Conflict
When your child is having trouble with a teacher at school, your first impulse may be to go right down to school and jump to your child’s defense. However, that is not the best way to handle the problem. Good conflict management means that you are willing to listen to both sides of the problem and find a solution that both your child and your child’s teacher can live with. If your child is in the third grade or younger, you will have to do much of the problem solving for him. However, after the fourth grade, you child can become much more involved in problem solving and conflict resolution.
Even if the teacher and your child don’t see eye-to-eye, don’t let it ruin the whole year. Here are some tips to promote communication and improve the relationship.
* Get a clear picture of the problem. Ask your child to tell you how things happened and ask probing questions to get the complete story. You can then send your teacher an e-mail or give them a call. When you speak to the teacher, be non-confrontational. Saying things like, “My daughter was telling me that there was a problem today. Can you tell me more about it?” will give the teacher an opportunity to share his side of the story.
* Help open your child’s eyes to his part in the problem. Without jumping down your child’s throat, ask some pointed questions about how he contributed to the issue. Ask your child if he was polite and respectful in his interactions. Saying things like, “How do you think you would feel if you were the teacher?” will help him try to see things through the teacher’s eyes.
* Brainstorm some solutions to the problem. If your child has a part in formulating the solution, he will be much more likely to follow through.
* Assure your child that conflict is a natural thing. In life, everyone runs across people with whom they clash. However, people have to learn to get along with those who frustrate, annoy or irritate them.
* Keep communication lines open with the teacher. Make sure that you stay in contact with the teacher about the problems. Things will go much better for your child if the teacher has confidence that you are working on issues at home.
It is never fun when there is a conflict at school, but helping your child work through difficult situations will give your child confidence that you care about what is going on at school. These problems can give your child practice at conflict resolution, so he or she will be more prepared for inevitable “real world” personality conflicts.