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Q: I am a teacher at the school my daughter attends. She has a problem with one of her teachers. She does not have any problems with any of her other teachers. She feels this teacher picks on her. I have had a conference with this teacher though I have not talked to her about my daughter's problem. She is always nice to me and says that my child is no problem in class. What should I do? Should I take a chance and be specific and should I yell at my child to make light of it?
A: This problem can rear its head at any time, as long as you remain a teacher in your daughter's school. So I think you should have a plan in place that best serves the needs of both your daughter and you. This current "problem teacher" may feel as uncomfortable as you in discussing your daughter, unless there was a problem that could not be ignored.
I believe the core issue is whether your daughter feels she needs you to advocate for her in this particular situation. If she looks to you to help her with a situation she feels she cannot handle alone and you turn her down because you are uncomfortable talking with a fellow teacher, then a message is sent; the message is that your being a teacher in her school makes you feel uncomfortable about talking with any of her teachers whom she has a problem with. I am most concerned by the larger issue that this particular situation raises.
Let's face it, there are always going to be issues like this that surface for you and your daughter. You and she need to come to an understanding about what she and you can expect from each other when these situations arise. Good luck. I'm sure you'll reach a satisfactory decision.
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Carleton Kendrick has been in private practice as a family therapist and has worked as a consultant for more than 20 years. He has conducted parenting seminars on topics ranging from how to discipline toddlers to how to stay connected with teenagers. Kendrick has appeared as an expert on national broadcast media such as CBS, Fox Television Network, Cable News Network, CNBC, PBS, and National Public Radio. In addition, he's been quoted in the New York Times, Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, Boston Globe, USA Today, Reader's Digest, BusinessWeek, Good Housekeeping, Woman's Day, and many other publications.