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Talking with Your Child's Teachers

When your child (or teen) suffers from anxiety, school may be difficult for them. The stress of completing homework, doing well on tests and getting along with the other children may create or worsen anxiety symptoms. Parents may need to talk with teachers and request their help in creating an environment in which your child can succeed.

 

Creating a positive relationship with your child’s teacher is not always as easy as it sounds. Parent’s emotions run high when their children are suffering. Their interactions with the teachers are often ruled by emotion. Teachers, on the other hand, are frequently overworked and may react sounding angry or as if they don’t care, even if the opposite is true. In reality, both parents and teachers want children to succeed in school.

 

Approaching the teacher positively can help develop a working relationship and develop an environment in which the student feels safe.

 

Approach the Teacher Without Offering Criticism

 

Parents sometimes use harsh or critical words when approaching teachers. For example, parents may say:

 

“My child’s work doesn’t deserve the poor grade, you must have made a mistake.”

“My child would not have failed if you would have contacted me earlier.”

“My child never had problems in reading before this year.”

 

In all of the above examples, the speaker is criticizing the teacher for being incorrect or for not having done something. When spoken to in this matter, teachers may become defensive. Their reaction can create even more hostile feelings. Children are left in the middle, with no one to help him or her get through the school day.

 

Instead of using words like the above, try approaching a teacher with a more helpful approach, indicating your willingness to work with the teacher to help create success:

 

“Can we talk about the grade Susie received, she normally does much better.”

“Can we set up a communication system so that in the future you can notify me if Susie is doing poorly. This way we can catch it early.”

“Can we discuss ways in which we can work together to improve Johnny’s reading skills?”

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