5 Tips for Teachers Dealing with Difficult Parents

A big problem that many teachers face in the classroom is the interaction between themselves and a difficult child. Teaching can be complicated by having to deal with a difficult parent too. Dealing with parents who shift blame to the teacher or other students, are quick to defend their child even if the child misbehaved and yell or curse at the teacher are hard to deal with, but there are strategies for dealing with these parents.

1. Build a Relationship

If you can build a relationship with the child’s parent before there are problems, you will be able to diffuse the negativity when there could be a situation later. Instead of waiting until there is a negative reason to call, praise the student when there has been a positive development. Small notes about a good thing their child has done will make the parent feel less defensive if problems arise. The parent won’t feel as if you’re only pointing out the things the child does wrong.

2. Keep Calm

This shouldn’t be a confrontation between you and the parent where you outshout each other to be heard. Unfortunately, many parents can be defensive about their children and go into attack mode. When you’re calm, there’s control of the situation. If you’re calm and the parents are yelling, they will see how loud they are being and tone it down too. Keep your voice calm, measured and controlled. It can be tough when you’re being yelled at, but yelling back isn’t the way to handle the situation.

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3. Get Parents Involved

Whether it’s the parent who wants to visit once a week or the ones who don’t get involved at all, getting the parents involved is important for the children. Even those parents who are incredibly busy can be given encouragement and tasks to help their child. It’s up to the teacher to help create an environment where parents feel like they aren’t being shut out of the classroom. If you have a parent who claims it’s your job to teach, you can gently remind them that everyone has a responsibility for the child’s educational goals.

4. Keep Records

When you’re able to show the parents that there has been a pattern of unacceptable behavior, they are less likely to deny their child has done something wrong. Keep track of behavioral problems as well as communications with the student’s parents too. You can start a folder for each student and jot notes to yourself as well as communications between you and the parents for future reference. Don’t forget to include good behavior in the notes. Notes will help when it comes to parent and teacher conferences.

5. Be Sensitive

Ultimately, it’s important that you remember that every parent is sensitive when it comes to their child’s behavior. Parents feel like it’s a reflection on themselves when their child misbehaves, so you should be sensitive at the start of every conversation. Teaching involves interacting with the parents and being sensitive to the relationship between parent and child.

While dealing with difficult parents can be a minefield, if you lay some groundwork with each parent, you can often negate the defensiveness and have a good relationship where the parents and teacher work towards the good of the child. Parents and teachers working as a team will see a significant change in a problem child, even if you’re dealing with difficult parents.