Parents advocate for their children. Sometimes their ways make it difficult to communicate effectively and in the best interests of their child.
Disagreeable parental actions are most likely to crop up when the guardians have been summoned to address misbehavior on the part of their child. This article, taken verbatim from the Marshall Memo #604, September 2015. Provides some guidance.
Addressing Various Parent Concerns
In this article in Principal Leadership, New Jersey social worker/family therapist Brett Novick lists some troublesome parent behaviors and suggests ways to deal with each one:
• My child is never at fault – “Stick to the facts,” advises Novick. “Document your conversations… Documentation can help clarify facts, reduce emotional exaggeration, and avoid legal disputes.” To prevent teachers, administrators, and other adults being played off against each other, he suggests including the student in meetings.
• The teacher or administrator must be wrong about what my child did – Let the parent have his or her say first, says Novick. “Encouraging parents to share their worries first enables you to remind them in a firm-yet-understanding tone that the rules of the school apply even if they don’t necessarily agree with all of them.” It’s helpful to have another educator present at the meeting.
• He’s your problem now – “Some parents are drowning in a world of financial despair and/or emotional, physical, or family issues,” says Novick. “First, see if these survival concerns are being met.” If the parent isn’t in a position to help with a child’s issues, work with the school counselor to find rewards, motivations, and consequences within the school.
• Second-guessing teachers and administrators – Don’t always assume the worst and avoid getting defensive, says Novick. The parent may be using questions about the curriculum and other matters to understand what’s going on and feel part of a child’s education. “The more information that these parents have on the front-end, the less apt they are to question how things were handled on the back-end,” he says.
• Harassing, intimidating, or bullying behaviors – When parents are in this mode, Novick advises against using e-mail (it can come across as confrontational) or picking up the phone while angry. Timeliness is also important – getting to the parent with the school’s side of the story before the child has a chance to stoke anger at home.
• My child will attend school when he or she chooses to – Look for patterns in children’s absence, advises Novick, as well as signs of abuse or neglect, and provide missed work for chronically absent children.
• Passive-aggressive behavior – Becoming too friendly with parents – accepting a daily cup of coffee or a bagel, chatting on social media or the soccer field, accepting a compliment that includes an invidious comparison with another educator – can come back to haunt you, says Novick. Maintain appropriate boundaries at all times.
• My child is being victimized by teachers (or other students) – Steer the conversation away from blaming or victimizing, says Novick. “Remind them that it is the behavior that you are addressing. You are not condemning their child’s character or, consequently, their parenting skills.” In addition, it’s important for the school to work toward consistent discipline policies from classroom to classroom.
• Helicoptering – Be proactive in contacting these parents and affirming their deep and passionate concern for their children’s well-being. “These parents are concerned that their child will not be able to handle the proverbial ‘real world’ without their intervention,” says Novick. “When you report successes to the parents, it helps them to realize that they do not have to do everything for their child.”
• Distrustful of public schools, administrators, and teachers – “Don’t focus on being right or wrong,” says Novick. “Focus on what is right for the student.” And look for face-saving “win-win” solutions.
“The 10 Most Challenging Types of Parents – and How to Work With Them” by Brett Novick in Principal Leadership, September 2015 (Vol. 15, #1, p. 44-48), no e-link available
IF THE PARENTS ARE LOOKING FOR SOME BEHAVIOR MANAGEMENT TIPS FOR THE HOME, SEND THEM TO MY PAGE AT:http://behavioradvisor.com/ParentStrategies.html