By Teachers, For Teachers
Overbearing parents have long been a challenge for teachers. Many parents think they are doing the right thing, and that being “Tough” on their child will serve them well in the future. But pushing children beyond what they can do, or being a “Helicopter” parent where they are always hovering over their child, can be harmful and stressful. Overbearing parents can create some serious challenges for not only the teacher, but for the child as well. As teachers, we have a responsibility to use classroom management to harness the expectations of our parents. If we want to help our students succeed, then we must know how to use classroom management to help our students when their parents are being too overbearing. Do you want to know a classroom management secret to making a child succeed? Don’t be too pushy. Here are a few tips to follow.
Your first instinct might be to take it out on the child, but you do not want to do that. You must remind yourself that it’s not the student’s fault their parents are being overbearing or too pushy. Oftentimes, it’s not the parents’ fault either. As much as you may be tempted to blame the parents for pushing their child to far, or getting in the students’ way, you must remind yourself that they just want what they think is best for their child. Many parents are like this because they think it will serve their child in the future. Try not to play the blame game, especially with the child.
The best way that you can help your student is not change your own beliefs or expectations of the student. You know the child and what they are capable or incapable of doing, so try not to change your expectations just because of what an overbearing parent may tell you. Listen to the parents’ concerns, but keep your own beliefs or expectations for the student. It is OK to take in everything the parent has to say about their child (it can actually be very beneficial for you), but don’t change your opinion based on their information alone.
Your job as the teacher is to strive to help the student be the best that they can be. You are the child’s advocate, so it’s essential that you keep the student central and don’t engage in any power struggles the parent may be trying to put you in. Remember, your goal is to support the student, so if you see something that the parent is doing wrong, it’s OK that you put the child first.
One of the best things that you can do for your students is allow them to share their feelings. Challenge parents that are pushy and overbearing and that tend to be very opinionated and rarely listen to their child’s thoughts. They tend to do this because they think they know what is best for them. What you can do as the teacher to help is to give them the opportunity to share what they are thinking and how they are feeling. By opening the lines of communication, you are establishing trust with the student. Not only does the child get their voice heard, but you are also forming a bond which can be very beneficial to the academic success of the student.
It’s easy to lose your cool when someone is yelling at you. However, you must act professional at all times, especially in front of a student. Always remember that you are an authority figure and a role model, and that your students look up to you for guidance. If you want to help your student when their parents are being challenging, then you can by responding with dignity and respect at all times. Do not allow yourself to be stepped on in front of the student, as this will undermine your authority. Establish yourself as an expert in your profession and act professionally.
Ultimately, you can help children with overbearing parents by speaking to the parent and asking them to examine whether or not they think their parenting style is being effective for their child. Sometimes, just a quick informal conversation can make a parent recognize that their behavior may not be the best thing for their child. If all else fails, you can always recommend a talk with the school family counselor or psychologist. Oftentimes they are the best ones to handle this type of situation.
How do you help your students when their parents are pushy and overbearing? Do you have classroom management techniques that work particularly well for you? Please share your thoughts on this topic in the comment section below, we’d love to hear what you have to say about this topic.
Janelle Cox is an education writer who uses her experience and knowledge to provide creative and original writing in the field of education. Janelle holds Masters of Science in Education from the State University of New York College at Buffalo. She is a contributing writer to TeachHUB.com, TeachHUB Magazine, and Hey Teach. She was also the Elementary Education Expert for About.com for five years. You can follow her on Twitter @empoweringed, on Facebook at Empowering K12 Educators, or contact her at Janellecox78@yahoo.com.