How can I talk to my daughter's teacher?

Rebecca - posted on 10/31/2014 ( 2 moms have responded )

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Recently, my daughter has made friends with a younger girl, 5th grade, from her school. She's in 7th grade, and other kids have been bothering her so much at school about it! Partly because she's at a middle school age, and her new friend is at an elementary school age. I don't find ANYTHING wrong with my girls with older/younger kids, as long as they're a good influence. There's a girl who threatens her to stop hanging out or she'll talk to the principal, and not just the girls at her own age. Girls in 5th grade also do it, telling her friend that she's not allowed to be hanging out with my daughter because she's what they call "too big" to be her friend. One of the 5th graders are one of my daughter's classmates younger sister, and both of them are quite rude to my daughter. I don't know how to talk to the teacher about her situations because I need to have good reasons. She also hangs out with older kids (10th-11th grade??) and they're good teenagers, but most 7th-5th graders don't think they should all be friends. They make a table where ONLY seventh-grade kids are allowed to sit at lunch, no sixth graders, no fifth graders, and no fourth graders. I haven't met the younger girl yet, but my daughter's told me a little about her. (Such as behavior, interests, work habits, etc)

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Chet - posted on 11/01/2014

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Social issues are a valid reason to talk to the school. It should be perfectly acceptable for you to speak to your daughter's teacher, and let the teacher know that you are concerned about what is going on with your daughter and some of the other kids. It's okay to let a teacher know that your child is under some social stress right now.

Teachers don't just teach. Good ones also work to facilitate a positive social environment at school. And good teachers know that kids do better at school when social issues like this are dealt with.

It's difficult to comment on the exact situation with the interaction between kids in different grades. Some schools do maintain a fair amount of separation between grades, and I'm not clear on how much of this was invented by the kids, and how much the culture of the school may have contributed.

Some schools do work to keep grades very separate. And some teachers do encourage older children to think of themselves as more mature and "above" the younger kids. It isn't necessarily malicious. I'm thinking of those lectures that start with "you're in grade 7 now, you're not in grade 5 or 6 any more ... ". In contrast, the school that are kids attend is very small. There is a lot mixing of grades, and older-younger kid friendships.

Mostly though, I would focus on empowering your daughter. Encourage her to think of what she can do herself to cope with this. Maybe it would help to get together with the younger friend outside of school. Maybe it would help to decide that she doesn't even want to be friends with this girl who is threatening to ditch her if she doesn't drop the grade 5 friend. Maybe you encourage your daughter to think through what would happen if some kid did go to the principal - so she realises herself that it was a pointless, empty threat.

Also, sometimes the only thing kids really need is the chance to talk about the stuff that goes on at school. Sometimes just talking, complaining, brainstorming and getting it out is the thing that helps the most. You don't need to have all the answers. When our kids are upset about something at school I ask a lot of "how did you feel?" and "how do you think she felt?" and "why do you think he said that?" type questions... or I just sympathize and say "I wouldn't like that either".




Recently, my daughter has made friends with a younger girl, 5th grade, from her school. She's in 7th grade, and other kids have been bothering her so much at school about it! Partly because she's at a middle school age, and her new friend is at an elementary school age. I don't find ANYTHING wrong with my girls with older/younger kids, as long as they're a good influence. There's a girl who threatens her to stop hanging out or she'll talk to the principal, and not just the girls at her own age. Girls in 5th grade also do it, telling her friend that she's not allowed to be hanging out with my daughter because she's what they call "too big" to be her friend. One of the 5th graders are one of my daughter's classmates younger sister, and both of them are quite rude to my daughter.

I don't know how to talk to the teacher about her situations because I need to have good reasons. She also hangs out with older kids (10th-11th grade??) and they're good teenagers, but most 7th-5th graders don't think they should all be friends. They make a table where ONLY seventh-grade kids are allowed to sit at lunch, no sixth graders, no fifth graders, and no fourth graders. I haven't met the younger girl yet, but my daughter's told me a little about her. (Such as behavior, interests, work habits, etc)

Dove - posted on 10/31/2014

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Tell your daughter to not feed into the drama. She can be friends with this girl whether the other kids like it or not. As long as neither girl is harmful to the other... it's no one's business if they are friends or not.

Who CARES if some brat tells the principal that your daughter has a friend in a different grade? If neither girl is doing anything wrong... no decent principal will listen to a nosy tattletale.

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