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Ask Eleanor
Ask Eleanor, Family Counselor
Category: Parenting
Satisfied Customers: 1517
Experience:  Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist & Professional Counselor with 15 years of clinical experience
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My seven year old daughter is about to start grade two next

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My seven year old daughter is about to start grade two next month. During the grade one year we were very fortunate to have had a nurturing, patient and kind teacher. She is a little more emotional than other kids and had some difficulty adjusting to the school structure and routine that accompanied some teary outbursts. With the patience and kindness of her teacher she was able to over time adjust and by the end of the year was thriving in this environment. At the end of her 1st grade year I sat down with her teacher to discuss grade 2. My concern is the teacher that she may be placed with in grade two is known for being much more strict, direct and less nurturing, but at the same time a very solid learning program that is challenging with high expectations. I'm concerned how my daughter may adjust to this and whether or not she's emotional able to handle this. I have been given the choice by her current teacher to keep her in the current classroom in a grade 1/2 split or move her into the classroom of the 2/3 split with the teacher I have concerns about. I will have a meeting at the beginning of the school year with her current teach who will make the final decision. My question is am I being over protective? I don't want to set her up to fail or put her in an environment that she's not ready to handle emotional which in the end will effect her academically, or could I possibly be holding her back from a very beneficial learning experience?

Ask Eleanor :

Hello, I am very happy to respond to a question from such a concerned parent. Before becoming a therapist, I was actually an elementary school teacher and was always grateful for involved parents. I think the fact that your daughter not only adjusted but thrived at the end of her first grade year showed major growth in her emotional adjustment to school. The fact that you ask if you are being over protective tells me that may be the case here; after all it is a mother's job to protect her children. Luckily, your daughter's current teacher will make the final decision after meeting with you and hearing your concerns. Since you think a great deal of her, I believe you will be able to trust her professional judgment about what is best for your daughter. So I hope that you can let go of your worry. It might help to sit down and write out all of your concerns to take with you to the appointment with her teacher. And remember, children are very resilient, so even if your daughter has to change classes, either way actually, I think she will be just fine. I hope this helps. Chat back if you have any questions. Take care, Eleanor


Hi Eleanor, Thanks for the advice, I like the idea of writing down my concerns before the school year starts. Even though my daughters teacher has the final decision, she has told me this will be based on my thoughts and feelings towards this at the beginning of the school year. I guess my question is about whether or not it's in my daughters best interest to be put into a classroom situation with a teacher that may not be able to meet her needs emotionally at such a young age? Is she too young to expect her to successfully adapt to this? If she were a few year older I would probably feel much differently and would likely welcome this.

Ask Eleanor :

Hi, good to hear back from you and thank you for the clarification about the decision. I have reread your initial question and this response very carefully in light of the final decision being yours. I think that your daughter's emotional needs are far more important than academic progress at this point. Give her another year to mature and grow with the teacher she loves. I think that is what your motherly intuition is telling you and it is seldom wrong. I hope it is a wonderful school year for her and for you, Eleanor


Thanks for you advice Eleanor, I appreciate your perspective. As much as I would like my daughter to be challenged academically there will be plenty of opportunities to make this the priority in the coming school years. I will likely ask her to stay with her current teacher so that she has another year to grow a little stronger and be better prepared in grade three.

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