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Dear ADDitude: My Son Feels Hated by His Teacher

“My son feels his teacher hates him, which only makes him respect her less. My first instinct is to defend him, but I also know my son can misinterpret words and actions. How can I help him without making an enemy?”

ADDitude Answers

Children with ADHD aren’t good at emotional regulation. Your child might be telling you what he feels, rather than what actually happened. This might be good news (the teacher doesn’t hate him), but you have to deal with it.

The first step is to have a talk with your child’s teacher. Explain, without making accusations, how your son feels, and how he interprets her actions. She might be surprised to learn how he feels. Then, brainstorm about how to create positive interactions for your child, with his teacher and with his classmates. Is there a classmate you can invite to your home to play? Are there parents you can talk with to create a playgroup?

Posted by Eileen Bailey
Freelance writer, author specializing in ADHD, anxiety, and autism


ADDitude Answers

I had to learn the hard way (i.e. marching into school and making serious accusations to teachers) that what my son tells me about situations is how he feels about them, not necessarily the facts of the situation.

Kids with ADHD are often extra sensitive and have a hard time regulating their emotions. My suggestion in this instance is to have a very calm conversation conveying how your son is feeling. This will help her understand how he interprets their actions and should also signal her to help him in situations where he is very reactionary.

Along the same lines, he also probably has a short fuse. There are many ways to work on this at home, and you could share some of the strategies with the teacher too. Try checking out Top 10 Anger Management Tips for Your Child and When She’s Too Angry to Speak. I hope that helps!

Posted by Penny
community moderator, author on ADHD parenting, mom to teen boy with ADHD, LDs, and autism


A Reader Answers

I think I would explain to the teacher your child’s ADHD diagnosis and how although it may cause him to perceive a situation a little differently than it really happened. Help her see that a very standard interaction may be, to him, hurtful.

I usually also note that our kids develop unevenly; while they may be age appropriate in some areas, they can be several years behind in others. It’s also a good time to help your son see that while he perceived a situation one way, others view it differently. It’s not necessarily good or bad, just a reality. I think it starts to develop some empathy in our kids and an awareness of others.

Posted by Nemo


A Reader Answers

To improve classroom behavior, get the teachers working with your son by providing more positive feedback and softening criticisms with recognition of strengths first. Most times my son is defiant, it’s because he’s feeling insecure. Even hearing, “I noticed how well you sat in your chair today” goes a long way for him. Also, set goals for your son’s behavior in the classroom. For example, set a goal to sit and work for 10 minutes straight, then gradually increase the time by one-minute increments. Agree to award him at home with incentives like stickers and prizes.

Posted by Peacfldove


A Reader Answers

A Reader Responds
You need to work very, very closely with the school. The first step would be to meet with the teacher and rather than blurt out that your child hates school (which will seem insulting and put her on the defensive) just ask how she is doing in the class and what you can do to help.

Posted by John Tucker, PhD, ACG. ADHD Coach