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How to deal with a difficult parent

Difficult Parents In The Classroom

Difficult parents always mean well–and don’t always start out ‘difficult.’ But you never know what they’re going through personally and more commonly, you never know what can make a parent’s momma or papa bear claws come out.

Usually, you’d hear about this parent from other teachers. That this parent was a handful. Rude. Combative. Aggressive. Even litigious. In response, you worry, if just a little. You have enough to deal with, and butting heads with an angry parent–especially one angry just because–doesn’t sound like fun.

The big challenge of dealing with difficult parents

Dealing with difficult parents is virtually impossible for any educator to escape. As a school administrator or teacher, you aren't always going to make everybody happy. You are in a position where it is sometimes necessary to make difficult decisions, and parents will sometimes challenge those decisions, especially when it comes to student discipline and grade retention. It is your job to be diplomatic in the decision-making process and to think through every decision without being rash. The following steps can be very helpful when dealing with a difficult parent.

Types of parents a teacher might come across

The “My Child Will Attend School When They Want To” Parent: These parents think that school attendance is not necessarily compulsory. 

The “Angel Child” Parent: These parents sincerely believe that their child is never, ever, at fault.

The “He’s Your Problem Now” Parent: These parents will either tell you “it’s your job to handle the student” or not call back at all. 

The Questioning “Know it All” Parent: These parents question why teachers do something a certain way, and why you as an administrator run your school in a particular way.

The “Bullying” Parent: These parents emulate or demonstrate harassing, intimidating, or bullying behaviour towards their children.

Tips to deal with a difficult parent

1.      Stay calm. When a horrid parent starts criticising you it can be frightening and infuriating.

2.      Learn to accept your situation. ...

3.      Don't retaliate. ...

4.      Look to your future with hope. ...

5.      Talk to someone you trust. ...

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