Like all mothers, I remember clearly the day that each of my children told me they did not like their teacher. The sheer panic and helplessness I experienced as a parent, worrying that it was going to be a rough year ahead, was unnecessary when I followed a few effective parenting tips.

I realized that my children would take their cues from me, and if I made them feel that I was their advocate, and that I was invested in them, then they would work with me to make the situation better.

In some cases, your child may actually have a difficult teacher, so it’s important to follow a child-centered and active-listening technique to find out what’s really going on. That means to actively listen to your child, making eye contact while repeating back to her what she tells you. This assures you that your communication is clear.

In a sense, you are acting as a reporter, gathering information while teaching your child how to problem-solve. By following my empathic process, you will invest your child in solving her own problem, by finding out not only how she feels, but also what she thinks can be done about it.

Always advocate your child. Your child learns trust by experience. If she trusts you, she will trust herself. If she trusts herself, she will trust the world at large. By advocating your child, and finding out what she needs from you, you are teaching her that she can count on you… no matter what.

If, in fact, your child really does have a difficult teacher, someone who may be picking on her, then you can go to school and sit down with her teacher to assess the situation. Letting the teacher know that you are willing to work together to make things better for both she and your child brings the teacher into the sphere of your home team. If your child knows that she’s been seen and heard, she will feel validated, and therefore, valued. Then, she will become a part of the solution, as well as the consequences.

If need be, talk to the counselor and/or the principal to work towards a solution for the teacher and your child. Parents, children, and teachers are all part of a collaborative and can work together to make school an enjoyable, productive, and exciting experience. In some cases, the teacher is unaware of your child’s feelings, and therefore, is happy to put forth an extra effort to remedy the situation.

Another technique is to ask your child what she thinks she can do to help the situation. We often can’t repair past injuries, but we can agree to do better in the future. And children are very open to doing things that repair relationships, such as writing a happy note, drawing a happy picture, and so on.

Older children may be willing to sit down with one or both parents, teacher, and counselor to have a real heart-to-heart conversation. This teaches your child not only that she has power, but also how to use that power diplomatically.

If your child is in a difficult situation, going to school and talking with the child’s teacher, counselor, and/or principal is your absolute best chance for remediation. By bringing into the light your child’s experience, you have an opportunity to get help and to stop negative behavior.

As a parent, the most important thing you can do is to show your child that you are there for her. Then, by using all the tools at your disposal to intervene in a positive way, you will not only build a wonderful, secure relationship with your child, but also teach her that you will always be there for her.

Finally, if all else fails, it may be necessary to change your child’s teacher and/or classroom. Sometimes, changing the environment is all it takes to help your child have a successful school experience.


  • Dr. Gail Gross

    Author and Parenting, Relationships, and Human Behavior Expert

    Dr. Gail Gross, Ph.D., Ed.D., M.Ed., a member of the American Psychological Association (APA) and member of APA Division 39, is a nationally recognized family, child development, and human behavior expert, author, and educator. Her positive and integrative approach to difficult issues helps families navigate today’s complex problems. Dr. Gross is frequently called upon by national and regional media to offer her insight on topics involving family relationships, education, behavior, and development issues. A dependable authority, Dr. Gross has contributed to broadcast, print and online media including CNN, the Today Show, CNBC's The Doctors, Hollywood Reporter, FOX radio, FOX’s The O’Reilly Factor, MSNBC, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, Times of India, People magazine, Parents magazine, Scholastic Parent and Child Magazine, USA Today, Univision, ABC, CBS, and KHOU's Great Day Houston Show. She is a veteran radio talk show host as well as the host of the nationally syndicated PBS program, “Let’s Talk.” Also, Dr. Gross has written a semi-weekly blog for The Huffington Post and has blogged at since 2013. Recently, Houston Women's Magazine named her One of Houston's Most Influential Women of 2016. Dr. Gross is a longtime leader in finding solutions to the nation’s toughest education challenges. She co-founded the first-of-its kind Cuney Home School with her husband Jenard, in partnership with Texas Southern University. The school serves as a national model for improving the academic performance of students from housing projects by engaging the parents. Dr. Gross also has a public school elementary and secondary campus in Texas that has been named for her. Additionally, she recently completed leading a landmark, year-long study in the Houston Independent School District to examine how stress-reduction affects academics, attendance, and bullying in elementary school students, and a second study on stress and its effects on learning. Such work has earned her accolades from distinguished leaders such as the Dalai Lama, who presented her with the first Spirit of Freedom award in 1998. More recently, she was honored in 2013 with the Jung Institute award. She also received the Good Heart Humanitarian Award from Jewish Women International, Perth Amboy High School Hall of Fame Award, the Great Texan of the Year Award, the Houston Best Dressed Hall of Fame Award, Trailblazer Award, Get Real New York City Convention's 2014 Blogging Award, and Woman of Influence Award. Dr. Gross’ book, The Only Way Out Is Through, is available on Amazon now and offers strategies for life’s transitions including coping with loss, drawing from dealing with the death of her own daughter. Her next book, How to Build Your Baby’s Brain, is also available on Amazon now and teaches parents how to enhance their child’s learning potential by understanding and recognizing their various development stages. And her first research book was published by Random House in 1987 on health and skin care titled Beautiful Skin. Dr. Gross has created 8 audio tapes on relaxation and stress reduction that can be purchased on Most recently, Dr. Gross’s book, The Only Way Out is Through, was named a Next Generation Indie Book Awards Silver Medal finalist in 2020 and Winner of the 2021 Independent Press Awards in the categories of Death & Dying as well as Grief. Her latest book, How to Build Your Baby’s Brain, was the National Parenting Product Awards winner in 2019, the Nautilus Book Awards winner in 2019, ranked the No. 1 Best New Parenting Book in 2019 and listed among the Top 10 Parenting Books to Read in 2020 by BookAuthority, as well as the Next Generation Indie Book Awards Gold Medal winner in 2020 and Winner of the 2021 Independent Press Awards in the category of How-To. Dr. Gross received a BS in Education and an Ed.D. (Doctorate of Education) with a specialty in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Houston. She earned her Master’s degree in Secondary Education with a focus on Psychology from the University of St. Thomas in Houston. Dr. Gross received her second PhD in Psychology, with a concentration in Jungian studies. Dr. Gross was the recipient of Kappa Delta Pi An International Honor Society in Education. Dr. Gross was elected member of the International English Honor Society Sigma Tau Delta.