Dear Amy: My son is 8 years old and is very talkative and inquisitive. He asks lots of “why” questions that don’t always coincide with the current conversation, but are about a previous topic.
His two reading teachers have said that he is disrespectful and does not participate enough in class.
We have talked about this – both with the teachers and with him.
He comes home with complete papers, does well on spelling tests and is above grade level on reading assessments.
What they say and what we see coming home doesn’t make sense.
We have asked for examples of situations when he’s disrespectful so we can talk to him about it, but the teachers become vague and won’t give an example.
His other teachers say he is kind and helpful, while also being a bit too talkative, but they say he is on track and doing well.
We want to help solve the issue with his reading teachers, but can’t seem to get straight answers.
He comes home crying sometimes because his reading teachers seem to react so negatively to him.
He’s a good kid (an only child) and we don’t feel he’s disrespectful at home.
He is very creative, artistic, and generally a happy and easygoing boy.
Any advice on how to tackle this?
My mother-in-law says to just let it go because he’s fine, but I don’t know.
I’m worried that I’m just not seeing something, and this is uncharted territory for me.
Dear Uncharted: Your son’s teachers are telling you that your son has problems – or creates problems – in their classroom.
Without details or examples, you don’t have any way to coach your son toward improved behavior. It is ironic (to say the least) that his reading teachers communicate so poorly.
You should start by emailing both of the teachers. Thank them for teaching your son and explain simply and briefly that you are eager to help resolve some of the issues they’ve raised. You might engage them more thoroughly if you basically throw yourself on their mercy by adding something like, “We are first-time parents and he is our only child, so we don’t have any prior experience dealing with educational or learning problems. We really want to help him succeed, so please detail very plainly and specifically any behavior which you believe needs correction. We welcome your specific suggestions and guidance for how to help him to be the respectful and engaged pupil you deserve to teach.”
After this blatant appeal for help, you should also kick this issue upstairs to the academic counselor and/or principal. Meeting personally with these educators would help to give you a game plan, and it could also put the school administration on notice that these particular teachers are not necessarily setting your son up for success in school.
This is a critical stage for your son. He could emerge as a lively little boy who is excited to learn, or a frustrated child who doesn’t like going to school.
Dear Amy: I picked up my husband’s phone and found a private message to a woman he works with.
It started out “Hey, Beautiful.”
I looked up her profile on Facebook and under pictures she has posted of herself he was saying things like “absolutely gorgeous” and “beautiful.”
He had surgery and we both posted about the surgery on FB, but she messaged privately to ask him how it went.
I say she could have read it like everyone else and apparently she did because she left a heart emoji on his post.
He says this is all perfectly innocent and there is nothing wrong with it.
I say there is a lot wrong with it.
What do you say?
– Disgruntled Wife
Dear Disgruntled: I wonder how your husband would react if you were engaged in an analogous private communication with another man whom your husband had never met: “Hey, gorgeous!” “Hey, handsome!” “Hubba hubba…”
What matters most is not whether it is “wrong,” “innocent,” or somewhere in between, but how this makes you feel.
I suggest that you should discuss this, not by labeling the behavior, but by describing your feelings.
Dear Amy: Your advice to “Regretful” was backward. This older couple moved across the country to be with their children, and when they decided they’d made a mistake and moved back, you sided with their children!
Dear Upset: “Regretful” made a hasty choice to move, and quickly reversed course. I appreciated that they took responsibility for the impact of their “pandemic panic.”
©2023 Amy Dickinson. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.