Over the years of confronting kids that are struggling in school, I often received an excuse that always made my eyes roll. “My teacher hates me!” This excuse is often given to explain poor school performance or behavior. I have even heard many other parents talk about how a certain teacher dislikes their child.
In my experience it is important not to fall into this trap. If we excuse poor school performance or behavior and blame the teachers then where is the incentive for the child to make better choices?
When a child is blaming a teacher for something that is going poorly at school, I choose to give the teacher the benefit of the doubt for a few reasons:
They are an adult and they graduated from college. That alone makes me trust them more than a child.
They have no reason to lie. Seriously, how does a teacher benefit from giving your kid a bad grade or a write up?
Most teachers became teachers because they want(ed) to help kids.
If your child knows that they will be punished at home for acting up in school, then they have something to gain by lying. I’m not saying you shouldn’t punish them for misbehavior, just know that they have motivation to stage a cover-up or blame someone else.
The best way to handle a dispute between your child and the teacher is to ask the teacher what happened and then trust them. Believe them. And give your child a consequence that will help him or her regret a poor choice.
This will cause a few positive things to happen:
The teacher will have more authority with your child. The next time your child is warned by that teacher, the warning will hold more weight because he, or she, will remember the consequence you gave out.
You will have eyes and ears into your child’s classroom. Your teacher will see you as an ally, instead of an enemy. Many parents, by blaming teachers for EVERYTHING, have made themselves enemies of the teachers. That isn’t a good idea considering how much time and impact this person has with your child.
Your child will get that teacher’s best effort. Teachers are human beings. They are often disrespected by students on a daily basis. If you got that kind of treatment from a student how would you feel about them? If you called a parent looking for help controlling a student’s behavior and got chewed out, what would you do? Some people might give up on making a positive difference in that child’s life. Think about it.
This line of thinking has served us well as we worked with many very challenging kids. Give it a try! :)