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7 Signs Your Kid Is a Teacher's Nightmare

Craig Playstead

July 7, 2016

Here's what it REALLY means when a teacher says your kid has "quite the imagination."

Have you ever had a teacher say that your kid "has quite the imagination"? Or told you that they're a little question machine?

On the surface, these comments are pretty innocuous. But what few parents realize is that these carefully worded observations are actually signs that their little muffin may be driving teachers up the wall...and turning the school year into one big nightmare for everyone.

We asked real teachers to share the seven most common pieces of feedback they give parents when their kid's a pain-in-the-tukis student -- and what they actually mean. They've also shared their tips for how to curb those behaviors and bring peace to the classroom.

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  1. "He has quite an imagination."

    The problem:
    Your kid has a long track record of sharing really inappropriate jokes or stories in class. You've even caught his friends referring to him as the Fart King once or twice. Although he may delight his classmates with his creative storytelling -- and accompanying sound effects -- he gets the class off-track and derails the teacher's lesson plan.

    The solution: This usually comes from an older sibling or access to media that's a little over his age group. Find the source and replace it with something a bit more age-appropriate...ideally with minimal poop humor.

  2. "She keeps to herself when we're in groups."

    The problem
    : Your kid isn't working well with the other students. Although it's great to see kids be independent and self-sufficient, it's not great to see them avoiding working with -- or being around -- others. Group work helps kids to make friends, and it can be really distracting to the rest of the class when someone goes astray.

    The solution: Getting her involved in group activities like team sports should help teach her how to work with and depend on others to accomplish a group goal.

  3. "He's not a self-starter."

    The problem
    : Your kid prefers to have things done for him, rather than doing things for himself. And having an entitled kid in the class doesn't bode well for the teacher...or for the 25 other students she needs to attend to as well.

    The solution: Start to foster his sense of independence and self-efficacy by giving him daily chores to do. This will this help instill in him a sense of accountability and accomplishment when he contributes toward the greater good.

  4. "She could be more open to other's ideas and help."

    The problem
    : She's being disrespectful. Kids who don't acknowledge other's ideas, or who openly make fun of others, often find themselves on a teacher's Naughty list.

    The solution: Encourage your child to respect others even if she disagrees with them by teaching and reinforcing good manners at home.

  5. "He tends to abandon a task when it gets tough."

    The problem
    : Your kid needs constant reassurance and support to bounce back from obstacles. He also tends to break down at the smallest thing and just give up.

    The solution: Consider rewarding how he accomplished a task, rather than the outcome itself. If you praise the effort and the journey, it'll reinforce the idea that hard work and commitment eventually pay off. It'll also reinforce his sense of self-efficacy.

  6. "She sure likes to visit."

    The problem
    : Your child is a little chatterbox. While it's great to be outgoing, the constant murmur can sidetrack other students and distract the teacher...and if you've ever had to learn cursive, you know how much concentration that requires.

    The solution: If your Chatterbox consistently dominates conversations or talks when she should listen, consider setting expectations around when it's okay to chat. When told at school and then reinforced at home, the message will be received even better.

  7. "He always seems to have a question."

    The problem
    : Asking questions is an excellent way to satisfy curiosity, and it's a crucial part of the learning process. But, as we know with ice cream and bacon, too much of anything can be bad. If a kid asks a billion -- often off-topic -- questions every time the teacher speaks, it derails the class' progress.

    The solution: Explain to your child that questions are great, but in moderation. Encourage him to keep his questions on topic and think about whether they need to be answered RIGHT at that moment. If his questions aren't important, tell him to wait until after class to ask them.

If you've ever heard one of these phrases come out of a teacher's mouth, don't panic! Just make sure to let them know that you're aware of the situation. Then, work together to come up with some solutions to turn the disruptive behavior around both at home and at school.

If your kids' teachers have been giving you these signs, what strategies have you come up with to combat the problem? Are there any other signs you'd like to add? Share this post with your story on Care.com's Facebook page or tag us on Twitter (@caredotcom)!

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