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I just had my son's kindergarten teacher tell me that 'the way you are raising him is making my job harder'. I was offended by this but don't have much experience with teachers and don't know if I am overreacting.

For context, the issue was that I play with him a lot and the teacher thinks this has made him a prankster. He hid a flashlight and it took her 30 minutes to find it. I discourage him from hiding my own things, which he likes to do, but I don't punish him for it.

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  • Just to make sure: what does "kindergarten" mean to you? The word means different things in the US versus some European countries (in particular, Germany). How old is your child? – Joe Oct 30 '20 at 8:58
  • I am not sure how your kindergarten teacher learns about how you raise him or play with him. Did you discuss this with the teacher? – Karlokick Oct 30 '20 at 12:07
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    Ask more about the situation in a constructive way. It's normal you are upset about that, but there seems to be a serious reason, at least for the teacher. The best you can do for all of you is to keep investigating that and find an explanation or solution. – puck Oct 30 '20 at 18:39
  • I'm sure the teacher is not objecting to you playing with your child, she's objecting to you not teaching your child that stealing things is wrong. – swbarnes2 Oct 30 '20 at 21:38
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    It doesn't make a lot of sense that this is how the conversation went; you're leaving out the build-up to this conclusion. Editing it to provide more of the discussion would be helpful. – anongoodnurse Oct 31 '20 at 5:54
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I have never encountered this, and find it to be inappropriate unless there is a lot of detail you are leaving out. This statement just strains relations, and warrants a frank but respectful conversation with the instructor, at least.

The difficulty of the teachers job, by itself, is entirely irrelevant to what constitutes appropriate behavior in class. Assuming this is not the latest event in a chain of parent-supported class clowning, the teacher should relay the inappropriate behavior, what the in-class response is going to be, and what is expected of you to help ensure success.

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    +1. Also, the difficulty of the teacher's job is entirely irrelevant to what constitutes appropriate parenting. It isn't a factor I'd consider for anything but the areas where I have absolutely no opinion of my own. Certainly not affecting whether I should be playing with my child. – dxh Oct 29 '20 at 22:41
  • @dxh A good point. You could expand that slightly into a good answer. – zugzwang Oct 30 '20 at 3:57
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I would certainly consider it inappropriate to say those words in the way you relayed them to us. Teachers generally should not give unsolicited advice to parents about how to raise their children; rather, they should give feedback to the parents as to how the child is doing in school. This can convey much the same information, but in a more respectful manner:

Please teach Johnny better table manners!

versus

At lunchtime, Johnny is often seen to be eating with his hands and making quite a mess of the table.

The latter is appropriate; the former is not, as it implies you don't teach him manners to your satisfaction.

In the case above, the teacher should have described the behaviors, and then asked (politely) for your help in managing them.

Schools might sometimes give general advice to the population of parents, however; i.e., sending home fliers about how to talk to your child about X topic, or similar. That's much more appropriate, as it doesn't single you out and is instead simply providing reference material to those who want it.

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