It’s what you want: positive outcomes through positive reinforcements. You want your child to grow and be nurtured in positive ways by the other adults in her life, but it’s not always rainbows and butterflies. There’s nothing worse than having your child come home and say, “My teacher hates me,” but going to the parent-teacher conference afterward is a close second.

You think, “Why does my daughter feel like this teacher hates her?” It’s hard confronting a well-meaning adult about a situation in which you had no a part. Yet you know it needs to be done, and that’s the key.

1 | Perception

Things are not always what they seem. I approach the topic of my child with her teacher with the preface, “This is my child’s perception of your class, please tell me what’s happening.”

I‘m letting the teacher know that, while my child may not be communicating to me exactly what is going down in her class, this is how she “feels” or “perceives” things to be. Of course, no teacher intends to make a child feel unloved. The child’s perception alone can be a real eye opener. At this remark, many teachers lower their defenses and the path to understanding begins.

2 | Listen

People want to be heard. Be the listening parent who really tries to see the situation for what it is. When Mama Bear instinctively starts to rear up, I take a deep breath and let the teacher clarify all the details, and then I try to respond thoughtfully. I try to come to the table with an open mind. I know that even in my den, my cubs and I have had misunderstandings or miscommunications about homework or activities.

3 | Work a solution together

Teamwork executed in sports, at the office, or at home is effective and beneficial. During our meeting I was open, receptive, and positive. I acknowledged that my little angel isn’t the easiest child at times, even at home. Talk about what works for you and how you achieve cooperation. Say, “So, how can I help?” An offer of support to the teacher can go a long way to defuse the situation.

4 | Give her a break

It’s nice to know someone’s got your back. When my little cherub comes home and gives me an earful about her hateful teacher, I remember how she describes her encounters with me when she’s tired, overreacting, or just not getting her way. Objectivity fails when emotions run high. Been there, done that.

5 | Appreciation

Who doesn’t need to be appreciated? The value of children’s education can be taken for granted, as well as the teacher we have to thank for it. I know that I need to feel appreciated big time, especially when I’ve been stretched to the limit. I have a feeling that this happens pretty often with teachers. A teacher’s dedication needs to be acknowledged and applauded.

Being connected leads to understanding

Getting together with my daughter’s teacher was like getting hit on the head with an apple. Painful, but, like Newton, we both gained a new perspective. It gave us the chance to discuss and better understand the relationship between my daughter and her teacher, as well as the opportunity to work at improving it. It turned out to be one of my better decisions.

If you find yourself in a similar situation, don’t stop, pause, or wait any longer – get it resolved. Maybe it will be a little painful, but the insight will be worth it and, hopefully, a positive outcome will follow!