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Veteran educator and parent Sheri Wohlfert offers 7 tips for helping children learn to respectfully navigate disagreement with a teacher.

I am a big fan of the Gospel according to Sheri! It’s always agreeable and exactly the way I like it but I realize we don’t all see things the same way. Disagreements are unavoidable, and finding a way to navigate them well is important. For school-aged children, teachers are a primary authority figure, so helping them learn how to successfully maneuver a conflict or disagreement with a teacher is important. Here are seven tips:


  • Start with prayer and the desire for the other person's holiness. The Holy Spirit should be the first one invited to the discussion. Seeing others as God’s child brings peace.


  • Respect and perspective. The Gospel says love your neighbor and a disagreement is the perfect place to choose language that demonstrates respect instead of escalating the situation. A child and a teacher are going to come to a situation from a different perspective and it’s helpful to see things from the others point of view.


  • Approach, not accuse. Help children learn a vocabulary that leads to solutions. Help them practice phrases like “I was thinking…," “I feel like…,” or “I understood it this way…” instead of “You always…” or “You never….”


  • Time and place. A discussion yields a more positive result if it happens in private rather than in front of a crowd. Conversation is more positive than confrontation. Putting a little time between the conflict and the conversation gives time for prayer and perspective.


  • Get to the root. Emotions are powerful and taking time to explore them and get to the root of the situation is important. The disagreement may not be about a score or situation as much as it is about feeling embarrassed or misunderstood.


  • Listen and check. Ask your child to tell you the whole story including what else was going on at the time of the conflict. Let them know you will be sharing their thoughts with the teacher if they need you to speak with them.


  • Model. What we model and teach is what our children will demonstrate. If you react with prayer, respect and Gospel practice they will imitate what they see you do.

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7 strategies to help children learn to successfully maneuver a conflict or disagreement with a teacher. #catholicmom




Copyright 2022 Sheri Wohlfert
Images: Canva