Q. Today another disciplinary notice came home, saying my 15-year-old has been rude to the same substitute teacher. My son is the kind of kid adults usually like, so his father and I are at our wits' end. What should we do?
A. Start by saying, "You aren't usually in trouble, so something is going on in this classroom that I need to know about." Listen to his response, but then explain that no matter what's happening, you require him to uphold your standards of respect.
This is one of those moments when you embarrass your child in a good way. You, your son, and his dad are going to meet with the teacher, and your son is going to apologize. If he does it insincerely or badly, you are going to apologize for your son's behavior as well. Then give the teacher your cell phone number and say, "If you have any further trouble with him, please call me immediately. And to show that we are serious, my son will help you clean up your classroom at the end of the day."
Originally published in the May 2010 issue of Family Circle magazine.