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Sibling Rivalry in the Classroom

Education Expert Advice from Barbara Callaghan

Q: My child is in K-5. She has the same teacher that my oldest child had last year (my children are 16 months apart). This teacher keeps comparing my children, who are very different. She says things like "Your first child was so quiet, and your second child makes me tired just watching her!" My child makes very good grades, so her 'hyperness' does not affect her schoolwork. What should I do?

A: Make an appointment with the teacher and let her know that you think it's very important for each child to have her own identity, and also to be recognized for her unique qualities. Tell the teacher that you love them for who they are, and that you try to stay away from comparing them.

Then you can tell the teacher that you would like the same for them at school. Hopefully, the teacher's comments were meant as an icebreaker and not much more. Teachers meet with so many parents, and in the course of making friendly small-talk, they sometimes can give the wrong impression.

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After teaching in California for nearly ten years, Barbara Callaghan moved to New Hampshire in 1985 and became a principal. After 10 years as a principal, she returned to teaching, her first love and true vocation.


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