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September 6th, 2011

I Don’t Like the Kids In My Class – I Don’t Like My Teacher

It’s time to return to school. Some children are already back in the classroom. They know who is in their class and they know their teacher. Other children may not begin school until after Labor Day. They may have just received the class lists and teacher assignments. Many children are happy with classmates and teacher…and many are not.

If you are the parent of a child who does not have friends in the classroom or dislikes the teacher, you know how difficult this can be. Children are often afraid of being alone in the class, at lunch or on the playground. Separation from friends who may be together in another class can be especially hurtful. Teachers who may be strict, very structured, or who yell a lot, may be intimidating to youngsters.

A disappointing classroom assignment can be challenging but it can also be a good opportunity for learn how to problem-solve. For example, learning how to make new friends and learning how to deal with different teacher ‘personalities’ are important life skills that youngsters can use for the rest of their lives. Following are two simple, but very effective interventions to help your child feel better.

1. Try to reflect your child’s feelings. Basically, this means to listen to your child in a non-judgmental way and repeat back what you think he or she said. For example, you might say something like, I know it’s hard when you don’t have your special friends in the class. Or, Yes, your teacher is very strict.

2. Children need to learn that a difficult situation can be a good opportunity to develop new skills. Even though it is hard to be in their classroom right now, making new friends and trying to get along with a new teacher, can help them feel better later.

Transitioning to a new school year can be a challenge for children and parents. Your support and patience can help children develop the confidence and skills they need for a successful transition. Read our Back to School Newsletter for more tips on managing September stress.