Mom, having learned some new techniques, decided to hand the problem back to her son. She knew that in the past she might try to take sides and even talk to the teacher to see what the problem was. Instead, she tried this:
- Empathy: "Wow… it must feel like a drag to have to go to that class each day when you feel your teacher doesn't like you."
- Hand the problem back: "What are you going to do about it?" Her son told her he didn't care. Nothing could be done.
- Ask permission: "Well, would you like some ideas about what SOME kids might do about it?" Her son said yes, ok, fine, if you want mom…
- Give a few ideas: "How about you bring him donuts some morning? How would that work?" No, mom, he's not worth it. "How about you go in during tutorial and check your last test and see if you can talk to him? How would that work?" Mom, I don't care about my grade in that class! "How about you challenge yourself to have a conversation with him to see if you can win him over? Just a mental challenge, nothing more? Would that work?" Her son thought about that one… he liked challenges.
- Give them support: "Good luck with the teacher. Let me know if you need any more suggestions. I'm sure you'll be able to work something out."
A week later her son came back. He said he did go talk to the teacher during the tutorial period and just chatted about sports. It turned out it was one of the teacher's favorite topics. He was amazed at how after that one conversation the teacher no longer picked on him, didn't notice if he put his head down on his desk during videos or much of anything. He had a smile on his face. He beat the challenge and proved that just by making a connection with someone it could make a huge difference in his life.
Huge life lesson learned!