Not sure how to handle this one

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by flutterby, Oct 19, 2009.

  1. flutterby

    flutterby Fly away!

    This would seem like a no brainer - if it wasn't high school and if I wasn't worried about my daughter being singled out (more).

    difficult child's style is kind of a mixture between goth/emo/scene. Skinny jeans, a lot of black or dark colors, black hair and a lot of black eye makeup. She knows people are going to think what they think and that doesn't bother her. However, there is a difference between that and being singled out. By a teacher. I should mention - I don't know if it matters - that this teacher is also the Head Football Coach. He has also made positive comments to my daughter, so I don't think he has malicious intent; maybe just not well thought out.

    On the first day of school, difficult child was not on his schedule so she had to show him her schedule and a boy laughed and made a comment about her clothes. She mentioned that to me, then nothing else.

    Then, a few weeks later she told me that when she gave an oral presentation in that class (this is social studies, by the way), that after her presentation the teacher asked her to close her eyes again (eye makeup all black). I can't remember what he said, but he made some comment about it. And this was while she was standing in front of the entire class. With her anxiety and stutter it's hard enough for her to be up in front of the class as it is.

    Most recently (she just told me today) on Thursday, he was talking to the student teacher about how difficult child seemed to be the only one really interested in the video they played. Then the teacher made a comment about her eye makeup, again, and the entire class got involved...laughing and asking her why she doesn't wear other colors.

    I don't know what he's thinking. Maybe since she singles herself out with her appearance that she wouldn't mind? There is a huge difference in not caring what people think, and being singled out in front of the entire class and having to hear comments and snickers.

    I'm thinking of scheduling a meeting with him. I need to get insight on how she does in class, as well, as she doesn't seem to be doing in-class assignments in any class and we have an IEP meeting coming up. I don't want to be adversarial. Just discuss it with him.

    What would you do?
  2. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I think it's a good idea to meet with him and find out what is up. I like that you're approaching it from a non adversarial approach. She should definitely not be singled out like that.
  3. LittleDudesMom

    LittleDudesMom Well-Known Member Staff Member


    a couple things I'm thinking...

    First, you should be having p/t conferences here pretty soon. The first quarter is half over and I know schools usually have conferences at interim time. So a meeting with the teacher to see how difficult child is doing in class is not of the question. My thinking here is I'm not sure how difficult child reacts to your involvement?

    Second obseration - unless you live in an ultra-conservative or really rural area, your daughter should by no means be the odd girl out. I know I live in an urban area, but the goth/emo thing was pretty big around here for a few years. You actually don't see it as much as you used to - the emo/scene thing is not as huge as it was a number of years ago (primarily because the musical influence behind the roots of the emo/scene scene has matured). Goth is something totally different and I don't think it will be going anywhere since it's been around for years and years!

    I would imagine this coach has absolutely no idea that he is embarrassing your daughter by singling her out. I think your observation that he thinks she must be ok with it because she is drawing attention to herself by her style of dress and makeup is accurate. I don't understand why she would be considered such an oddity in these days and times.

    I would totally speak with him. Perhaps you could pave the way for other kids that take his class by letting him know what your daughter's style is all about. While finding out what's up academically, casually mention that your daughter was embarrassed when he asked her to close her eyes after she gave an oral report. Perhaps he could answer to that - if he seems a little put out or speechless (some teahers may thing the students don't talk to their parents!) you could go on to let him know that your daughter is very sensative. Part of her style of dress has to do with her emotional vulnerability (since that what emo is supposed to be all about!). Let him know that it's a form of expression for her just like long hair was to hippies or low pants (heaven forbid) to young urban males. While it may be a little startling to some, it is not a cry for attention - it is her attempt to find her place. I'm sure he will be receptive.

    Good luck.

  4. TPaul

    TPaul Idecor8

    I agree, I would set up a meeting to just discuss it and find out what actually is happening. I always take what difficult child says with a grain of salt and know that thier perceptions can sometimes be off concerning themselves.

    Your non adverserial approach is right on track and a wise choice.

    Let us know how things go.

  5. bby31288

    bby31288 Active Member

    Here's my story on something similiar. difficult child last year hated her english teacher with a passion. Funny because he was the head "hockey coach". difficult child has beautiful red hair, which of course she hates. She had it cut in Sept before school started and was self-consicous about its length. She felt it was to short. So the first week of school comes and difficult child complains about the teacher, the second week of school difficult child comes home and proceeds to tell me and her father that the teacher called her Bowl-Cut (insert my last name here) when asking questions, addressing her, etc. She was upset and I promptly made a stink with guidance counselor, principal, etc. We had this big meeting with all of the officials and this teacher. Where it turns out......drum roll. That back on the first day of school, difficult child being so self conscious of her shorter hair, procceded to call herself Bowl-Cut (insert last name), she made a big joke out of it thinking she would beat everybody to the imaginary joke (her hair, not that short). So in turn she set the precedent for the bowl cut comment. In hindsight the teacher said he should not have called her that, but he thought it was fine because she had basically started it, she also wrote on her name thing on her desk, bowl cut. The teacher was very upset that he made her feel bad and apologized to her, and then in front of the class.

    I guess what I'm saying is sometimes they get the vibe that it is okay, that the student is secure, or whatever. But I'm going to take the opinion that he doesn't realize what he is saying is upsetting difficult child.

    If you get what I'm trying to say!!!

    Good Luck!
  6. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not

    Hi Heather--

    I have to agree with the others...

    My impression from your story is that the teacher probably feels that your daughter is wearing extreme eye makeup for the attention. He might also think that he is making her feel good by drawing extra attention to it--even in a joking manner.

    Definitely address it in a non-confrontational way. The teacher may be surprised to learn that you daughter really doesn't want the attention at all...

  7. graceupongrace

    graceupongrace New Member


    I agree with the others that it can be mentioned in a non-confrontational way. But this also can open up a conversation with difficult child about people's perceptions. You can ask things like:

    • What kind of message does your style send about you?
    • What are the ramifications of that style? (e.g., people may think you're trying to draw attention to yourself, you may end up with a label you don't want)
    Good luck and hugs!
  8. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    I would talk to the teacher, and see what his story is. It could be her perception that this is being talked about more than it is. Then again, maybe not. A high school teacher should be used to all the black eyeliner etc. It's not like that's something brand new.

    We went through a similar thing with Miss KT. I pointed out more than once that your style of dressing defines who you are in general society, and if this is your chosen style, you need to have the courage of your convictions, and ignore the comments. If this isn't who you are, then find a style that better expresses you. And slowly, she began searching out a look she was comfortable with.