The Teen Doctor

Answers to your questions about adolescents

My Teenager Hates Her Teacher!

My child hates her teacher.

Dear Dr G.,

Since my daughter started high school this year, she has been complaining about her English teacher on a daily basis. This strikes me as both odd and sad since English has always been her favorite subject. My daughter insists that the teacher hates her and in turn my daughter has decided that she now hates this teacher. When I ask my daughter what makes her think that the teacher hates her she says that the teacher ignores her. My daughter is used to getting a lot of attention particularly since she is my only daughter. Nonetheless, I am concerned that this teacher will destroy my daughter's passion for her favorite subject. I am ready not only to set up a meeting with the teacher but to meet with the principal if necessary. The idea of a teacher being unkind to my daughter is almost unbearable. My friends tell me to calm down but I am not sure that I can do that. Please advise me.

An Angry Mother,

Dear Angry Mother,

Yes, when we become mothers something really does change. We become very attuned to our primitive urge to harm anything and anyone who may pose a threat to our offspring. This is both very common and very natural. Nonetheless, I urge you to take a few deep breaths and calm down. First, your daughter has just started the school year. Let some time pass. She very well may end up changing her mind about this teacher. I have been witness to many situations where a least favorite teacher suddenly evolves into a favorite teacher. Second,you don't necessarily need to react or take action whenever your daughter is in distress. I know that that is easier said than done but it is a good message to send.

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Your daughter will learn that sometimes you have to deal with teachers and others who may not meet up to your expectations.If time passes and she continues to dislike the teacher then remind her that in life one has to learn to deal with all kinds of people with all kinds of personality styles. At school, we may have less than perfect teachers and at work we may have less than perfect bosses. As long as the teacher's behavior seems benign and not degrading and obviously harmful-I would suggest that you not get involved with the teacher or the principal. Sometimes less (involvement) actually is more helpful. Good luck and write back in a month or so with an update.Best,


Dr. G.

 

Barbara Greenberg, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist who specializes in the treatment of adolescents and their well-intentioned but exhausted parents.

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