Heidi Allen Garvin, founder of the website Mormon Moms, has garnered an enormous following with her compassionate advice about raising children. It’s all too easy to brush off a child’s complaint like this, she says.
“First I would inquire, ‘What happened? Why do you feel that way’? I’d let him share his feelings and add simple follow-up questions. After he’s talked and ‘felt heard,’ I’d ask him what he thinks we should do.
“Oft-times children are able to work through issues on their own if they feel cared about and understood. If it seems more serious I’d continue: ‘Do you think we should go talk to the teacher? Could you have misunderstood something?’ and proceed from there.
The main thing is to not talk children out of their feelings; rather, seek to understand — and help them figure out — why they feel as they do. That simple act can resolve a lot of challenges. Feelings matter and are part of learning, for all of us, so that we may better communicate in family, work, and educational pursuits. As we listen to understand, our children begin to trust that they can come to us with other concerns and we’ll be there for them.
“If the child needs to change teachers to feel safe or more comfortable, then that’s a very viable and important option. Sometimes children are better off with a different teacher for learning styles, personalities, emphasis on topics, classroom noise, etc.”
Here’s how 4 other parenting experts say to respond…
“Maybe it’s a good thing if your teacher says that,” says Mary Ann Zoellner, co-author — with Alicia Ybarbo — of the book “Sh*tty Mom.” Here’s their anti feel-good response. Format: Video (1:57)
The psychologist and author of The Available Parent says that parents aren’t necessarily helping their kids if they go straight to the teacher. Try this instead. Format: Video (1:40)
The physician and best-selling co-author of Hold On to Your Kids says American parents need to consider an entirely different approach to handling this. Format: Article
Raising Happiness author Christine Carter says too many parents respond by saying, “Of course she doesn’t!” But this isn’t the right approach. Format: Video (1:40)