A whole new school year means a whole new set of problems. But there's no need for first-day jitters. Ask Dad is here to soothe your worries. What would you like to ask our resident scholar?

I think my kid's hot for his teacher? He talks about how pretty she is ... even used the word "gorgeous." What do I do?

Just be grateful it's not your husband who's got it for your kid's teacher. As Don Draper learned last year, that rarely goes well.

No matter how many Mary Kay Letourneaus and Debra Lafaves muck it up, the teacher crush is an essential rite of passage for a schoolboy or girl. It's often their first romantic attachment to an adult. It can help them cut the umbilical cord and the lingering oedipal ties to mama (and we all want that, don't we?).

I didn't have even one teacher who was remotely hot (sorry Mrs. Melling, you and your bottle of Tab were lovely in your own way). But I still managed to attach some hormonal feelings to my 7th-grade English instructor, who was somewhat young and didn't wear the polyester teacher pants that were the rage in the '70s and '80s. It was fleeting and meaningless, and led straight to plain old attraction to teenage girls, and a whole new set of way bigger problems.

Of course not all crushes are created equal. Age makes a big difference. Your 5th-grade boy's urges for his matronly homeroom teacher are very different from your 11th-grade girl's attempts to email her 23-year-old art teacher. (I hate to bring gender into it, but in spite of the sick efforts at sex equality from Letourneau and Lafave, improper relationships are by far most common between male teachers and older female students.) In this case, you should let both your daughter and her teacher know -- politely -- that you're watching how their valuable student-teacher relationship develops.

Still, regardless of anyone's age or sex, too much crushin' and too little learnin' can be a problem. Some warning signs:

  • Your child has an obsession with apples, and can never find one quite shiny enough.
  • Your daughter shows pain when playing piano or clicking on a mouse. Could be carpal tunnel from excessive heart-doodling. 
  • The cologne samples are missing from your copy of Vanity Fair. No man under 20 should be trusted with scent. 
  • Your child's teacher still has a MySpace page, and is not a musician or a comedian on the side. Can you say teen trap?
  • Your 7th-grade boy comes home from school and goes straight into the bathroom for hours. Actually never mind on this one. You don't want to know what's going on in there. Trust me. 

What would you do if your kid was hot for teacher?

 

Image via Flickr/MzelleBiscotte