Here’s a dilemma every parent faces at some point: When your kid comes home upset about a teacher at school, do you butt IN or butt OUT?

According to parenting expert Rosalind Wiseman, it’s probably best to butt OUT. She says when kids are upset, it’s normal for parents to want to jump into action and fix the problem.  But in most cases, that’s the wrong thing to do, because it could actually make the problem worse.

Why? For starters, Wiseman says children tend to blow things out of proportion, and make problems sound worse then they really are. In fact, when kids complain about a teacher being “too hard” or “unfair,” it often just means they don’t understand a homework assignment.  So instead of calling the school - or firing off an angry email - try encouraging your kid to speak up and ask for help.  That way, she says kids learn how to become better advocates for themselves.

So, when should you get involved with your kid’s problems at school? Wisemans says you should always step in when an adult humiliates or makes fun of children.  Like if your daughter’s soccer coach makes comments about your kid needing to lose weight! If that happens, Wiseman says it’s totally appropriate to go into protective “mama bear” mode.