By Teachers, For Teachers
We can all agree that when parents are in involved in their child’s education they will have a far better chance in succeeding in school. But, what happens when that parent takes it too far? We have all had them, the parent that thinks their child is too perfect and can do no wrong, or the parent that has a little too much input. Whatever the case may be, we still have to establish a parent-teacher relationship and that means that we must deal with whatever waves these parents may make. Whether it’s justified or not, as teachers, it’s our job to treat every parent with respect, no matter how we feel about them or the situation at hand. Here are a few easy classroom management techniques that can help you deal with problem parents.
As great as it is to have an open-door policy with parents, you are just setting the stage for those hovering helicopter parents to swoop in and take advantage. Create a schedule for parent volunteers to come in and help out. Make sure that you keep parents posted about everything that their child is doing. A lot of the time helicopter parents are hovering around because they are worried about their child. If you keep them informed, and allow them to come into class on your terms then there will be no need for any worrying.
You are a trained professional and had to work very hard for your teaching position. It’s OK to make it known how knowledgeable you really are about your field. This will show those know-it-all parents that question every move you make that you are an authority in your field. Make sure that you back up every statement that you make with a research-based answer. Oftentimes difficult parents have a knack for arguing. By showing off your knowledge and credentials, you are not only putting the parent in his her place, but showing them a better way to communicate.
The demanding parent: We have all had them at one point in our career. This is the parent that wants to know every little thing and needs to have the schedule and homework for the entire month. To keep these parents at bay, all you have to do is keep them informed. Send home a weekly and monthly newsletter detailing everything that you will be doing. Make sure that you have a set date that parents will receive this information or expect a phone call from these demanding parents. When you lay out your agenda ahead of time, the demanding parents will have nothing to demand. It’s also best to let parents know ahead of time the hours and times that you are available to answer any questions. This will help eliminate any confusion and save you from having to speak with a parent at 10 p.m.
It’s much easier to deal with a problem parent if you build a solid relationship with them from the start. Be friendly, and show them that you only have their child’s best interest at heart. Building a relationship with anyone takes time. Sometimes parents can be resistant for whatever reason, just be persistent and remember that a good parent-teacher relationship can be very beneficial for your student.
Part of your job as a teacher is to be able to communicate well with parents. As hard as this part may be, it is an essential part of the job. Most of the time, the parents that you view as a problem complain because they feel their child is being slighted or snubbed in some way. Be open minded and listen to their concerns. Don’t rush to judge just because you think you know the reason for the situation or the answer to a problem. A lot of the time parents get heated and frustrated is because they feel like no one is listening to them. Put your personal feelings aside and listen to what they have to say. You will not always make everyone happy, but you can at least have an open mind.
Dealing with a difficult parent can be extremely stressful, and oftentimes it may lead to a teacher wanting to leave the field of education. As much as it’s the least favorite part of your job, just remember that you’re not always going to make everyone happy. Parents will challenge you when it comes to discipline or the grades of their child. It is your job to listen, be diplomatic, and make the right decision for your classroom.
How do you deal with problem parents in your classroom? Do you have any tips that work well for you? Please share with us in the comment section below, we would love to hear your ideas.
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 a master's of science in education from the State University of New York College at Buffalo. She is also the elementary education expert for About.com, as well as a contributing writer to TeachHUB.com and TeachHUB Magazine. You can follow her at Twitter @Empoweringk6ed, on Facebook at Empowering K6 Educators, or visit her website at Empoweringk6educators.