10 Tips for dealing with difficult parents…

Time and again, all teachers must have dealt with difficult parents. Teachers need to respond differently in different situations. Here are a few tips for teachers for dealing with difficult parents:

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  • All parents are not the same

Just like children, parents too are different, in terms of their socioeconomic backgrounds, personalities, their relationship with their children, etc. Some parents are too involved with their children while there are a few who are indifferent. Some parents like to talk too much in the parent-teacher interactions, which can be irritating for you and others. So, your approach has to be different with different kind of parents.

  • First teacher-parent interaction is important

At the beginning of each academic year, outline the process for grading, discipline, expectations, etc in the first teacher-parent communication. This will help you to deal with any problems later on.

  • Take time to listen

Parents are emotional about their children and sometimes they feel that teachers are the best people to deal with their children’s problems. So, take time to listen to their viewpoint and think about the solution. If you cannot give the solution right away, ask them to wait until you talk to principal and find a solution.

  • Start with a compliment

Sometimes, parents are stressed due to their children’s behaviour or performance. Even if you are dealing with a difficult situation, start your talk with a compliment. Every child is unique and a teacher can always find something good in each child.

  • Be positive and keep your cool

Address the parents with a positive mind set and remember to keep your cool even if parents talk loudly. Sometimes, parents are frustrated and they lash out. But, yelling at each other won’t help.

  • Talk in a low voice

When a parent is lashing out, it is advised to talk in a low voice. Firstly, parent will pay attention to what you are saying and might tone down themselves. Secondly, even if you are nervous, your voice won’t sound shaky when you are talking in a low tone.

  • Build trust with the parents

Whenever a child does something good, make sure to tell his/her parents about his achievement, either through email, Whatsapp or a call. This builds a trust with parents as they know that teachers are involved with their children.

  • Establish your authority

Parents should always remember that you are the authority. Look in the eyes while talking to them. Show them respect by giving them undivided attention. The message should be clear that you are the authority in your classroom.

  • Take advise from other teachers

It is best to discuss difficult situations with your peers, who can suggest or advise how they dealt with a similar situation in their career. You never know you come up with a solution with this discussion.

  • Know when the conversation is over

Sometimes, parents can be really difficult and are not ready to listen. It’s ok for them to be angry but they can’t be abusive. If you think the conversation is not going anywhere, bring the conversation to a close. Give them time to rethink and meet them later when the situations are more conducive.