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Student does not like me



I have a boy in my second grade class who is a huge behavior problem. His parents are divorced and both parents work long hours and grandma takes over some of his care. His grandma is very overprotective and spoils him so he acts very baby-like when she is around. Last week for instance, he did not want to get ready for school so she hung up his coat and backpack for him and proceeded to remove his boots and put on his inside shoes for him. I don't have another second grader who would allow his or her friends to see them being babied like that but he thrives on the attention.

Anyway, he apparently does not get told "No" with any conviction at home because he never believes me when I state the consequences of his bad behavior. We have tried many behavior plans so far, but right now, what is most effective is removing him from the classroom and placing him with the principal for awhile. Thankfully my principal is supportive and agrees he should not be allowed in the classroom while temper tantruming.

His tantrums can be over many things but the general theme is he is doing something he is not allowed to do (ex playing with a toy instead of doing his work) I say he must put the toy away and get back to work or he will have to leave. He ignores me. I repeat the direction and say he has one minute to comply or I will have to call the principal. He again ignores me. So after the alloted time, I call for the principal at which point he starts begging me to give him a second chance and crying and carrying on. (I gave him a second chance the first time he pulled this and it did not work, he went back to his misbehavior almost immediately after I called off the principal) I feel this is a system that is working and I am hoping that because he wants to remain in class with his friends, he will eventually realize, I will always be following through on what I say, and he will stop being defiant. (I know I know...hopeful girl, aren't I?)

I should also mention that the times he is not being defiant and is complying with the classroom rules, I make sure I praise him or use him as an example for his classmate ("I like how Bob has his book out and is reading right away") I try to find little jobs so he can help me, like taking a note to another teacher or putting books back. So I feel we have many positive interactions daily.

His parents say they are fine with this system of removing him from the room bc they recognize that his classmates seeing him tantrum will not be good for him socially. They also recognize he is a huge behavior problem and he does not behave for either of them. The mother has said to me that she knows that his behavior problems are rooted in the home and they have a counsellor and are pursuing some medical/behavior issues with their doctor as well.

We have a meeting next week to discuss his progress and when on the phone with his mom last week, she mentioned that her son does not like me. He thinks I am mean and don't like him. I told her about the positive interactions that we do have and she was supportive on the phone. But I get the feeling (from a few comments both have made) that she and grandma are starting to believe that the way I deal with him causes more problems than it fixes. I know that if I respond with what I believe is the truth--he does not "like" me because I do not cave in to his whining and crying and I stand firm with the consequences I lay out"--the mom and the other family members will be offended.

SO I guess what I am asking is should I try to change how I interact with this child and if so, how? I have been trying to think of how our days could be different, but being openly rude and defiant is a "hot button" issue for me and it is something I find very hard to look past. I feel like if I let his tantrums slide, he will get worse, not better. Is it considered "old school" to be the one in charge in the classroom? Should I be negotiating more? I just can't objective...I go back and forth between feeling he needs structure and clear cut rules and consequences and that maybe he has got some sort of "problem" outside of his control and I should cut him some slack...

SO any thoughts for my meeting next week? I would appreciate any advice offered. Thanks!


stick with what you are doing

It sounds great to me. Of course he doesn't like you because you are the one not putting up with his behavior. You're not in teaching to be liked by every student. You're there to teach them. In this case, it's social skills and it sounds like you are doing a great job.

Change is uncomfortable. You are not doing him any favors by allowing inappropriate behavior. His behavior will only have negative results for him now and in the future if he doesn't change it. It sounds like he could learn a lot from you. I hope he will eventually appreciate what you are doing for him.

Let mom and grandma know that its okay if he doesn't like you. You still like him and you want the best for him. (He was probably getting to mom when she said that. )
Let her know that he knows what to expect from you and being consistent is extremely important in changing behavior. Tell them you plan to continue what you are doing. From what you have said, it seems that mom would be supportive.

You also have the other kids to think about. They like to see consistency, too. If he starts getting little rewards for expected behavior, or breaks on inappropriate behavior, they might view that as unfair and unlike you to give in to bad behavior. It might confuse them.

So, my advice it to stay with what you are doing. I hope all goes well next week!



I really needed to hear that! I hate doubting myself but I find it is sometimes hard to pull myself out of a situation and view it objectively.

I have told his mom that I am not surprised he does not like me and that it is ok. I also took him aside and told him I was aware that he did not like me and that was ok. He did not have to like me but he does need to follow the rules of the classroom like everyone else, regardless of his feelings.

I agree with the your concerns with the other children in the class. He is one of 25 and while he appears to need a ton of attention, there is only so much I can offer since I have to divide my time with other children as well. I am not a big fan of giving rewards for expected behavior either. I think it sends an inappropriate message.

Thanks again for the validation. I feel much better!


Junior Member
problem child...

I know its hard dealing with a chid like Bob, you want him to follow the rules, yet you dont want to be too hard on him because he may have other probs. Sounds like you are doing just the right things. Youre lucky you have a supportive principal. You might try also pairing this child with a responsible 5th-6th grader for reading, etc. I tried that with one of my students and the transformation was unbelieveable.


Senior Member
A different tact...

The ppor kid sounds like he is trying to control something, ANYTHING, is his life.

I would change what you say just a bit to put the control in his corner. Instead of "put the toy away or you will have to go to the office" tell him he has a "choice of putting the toy away and working or going to the office, your choice but you have one minute." No second warnings/chances. You get what you want, he gets control over the choice.

Keep doing everything you are doing. A behavior management chart that rewards him daily and then weekly, and then perhaps monthly would be great.

He may indeed need something else, at the very least counseling, but you have to be very firm with consistent rules. Not only is he missing out, but the other kids have to put up with his interfering with their learning.

Do not negotiate. This kids needs rules that are black and white. They only have the one kid, you have seen a lot of kids and know what's typical and not. Plus, he is not the only one to have divorced parents. Also, I would tell Grandma that the classroom is off limits since socially it is not good for him to be babied in front of his classmates.