QUESTION: My 9-year-old son’s teacher is constantly harping on me that our son talks too much in class. He isn’t talkative at home or in social situations when he is with our family. How can I know if the teacher is right and if she is, how can I correct a behavior when I’m not there when it happens?
BBB: As much as we would all like to believe that teachers are pillars of professionalism and objectivity, the reality is that they are people just like us. They get tired and crabby; they are bothered by certain personalities; they have idiosyncrasies. It is hard to know if, in fact, your son has a tendency to be a talker in class (at the non- talking times) or if his teacher was selectively perceptive to your child for some reason. I sure don’t know the answer.
The good news is that the new school year is here, and likely your son has a new teacher. After six weeks of being in the new class with a new teacher (because it takes six weeks for a child to be adjusted to anything new), you will be able to know better if your son is a school talker or if it was “a thing” he had with that teacher.
While I am hoping it was the latter, if it is the former, then it will require some exploration. Talking too much is usually an attention-getting device. You and his teacher will need to examine how your boy is feeling about himself in school – if he has a social issue, maybe something about fitting in with his peers, for example. Perhaps he is feeling insecure about his school performance, and talking is his coping mechanism. These ideas are just food for thought.
Let us know how the new school year (and new teacher) are going.
Betsy Brown Braun, M.A. is a Child Development and Behavior Specialist (infants to teens), a Parent Educator, and Multiple Birth Parenting Specialist. Betsy consults with parents privately, runs parenting groups, seminars and workshops for parents, teachers, and other professionals. She is the award-winning author of the bestselling, “Just Tell Me What to Say” and “You’re Not the Boss of Me.” Betsy has been featured on the Today Show, The Early Show and Good Morning America and has been cited in Parents Magazine, Twins Magazine, Family Circle and many more. Betsy and Ray Braun, Palisades residents for 38 years, are the parents of adult triplets and have three grandchildren, so far.