Thursday 24 October 2019

Dear David Coleman: My six-year-old son is stressed about school, but I don't know how to talk to his teacher about dealing with the situation

Stock image Photo: Deposit
Stock image Photo: Deposit
David Coleman

David Coleman

Question: My six-year-old son is wetting the bed and having out-of-character tantrums - hitting, shouting, banging doors - since starting first class. His teacher complained to me about his focus in class and his slow writing speed. My son feels singled out and it's really affecting him. I don't feel equipped to deal with his teacher and wonder how best we can handle the situation?

David Coleman replies: From what you describe, it does sound like your son is having a hard time in class and that the associated stress is spilling out into his behaviour at home.

I'm not sure what leaves you feeling ill-equipped to deal with his teacher? Perhaps it is that your own confidence levels are low, and you feel that you may not represent your son and his needs well. Maybe you have already felt "on the back foot" because his teacher has complained to you.

I think it is important that you do speak with his teacher, especially to stand up for your son and his experience of feeling "singled out". If you do feel unconfident, then perhaps choose to bring along a friend or family member for support. Having someone there, just to listen and take notes on your behalf, can be very reassuring as it means you won't miss anything important.

Your goal in meeting the teacher is to help your son's voice be heard about his experience in the class and to try to establish a collegiate sense of working together with his teacher to create a positive relationship in which your son can thrive, rather than feel stressed.

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