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Handling Difficult Parents

By adedapo adebayo on July 24th, 2021

Being a teacher, you can definitely identify a parent who fits into one of the following categories. The one who wants to tell you how to teach. The one who always wants to see you and has something to say. The one who brings their child to school late. The one who wants to contests their child’s grades. The over enthusiastic parent. The one who thinks you give too much homework. Or the one who threatens you… The list can go on for a long while if you decided to contribute to it.

Every teacher will encounter a difficult parent at one point or the other, it comes with the job. There may be instances when you are tempted to react to your pupil’s parent who is being out of place, and although you may be right, you may be penalized. Because they are your customers and you know what they say about customers. This is avoidable though.

Handling difficult parents is a deliberately learned skill that you must have as a teacher. Here are a few guides that will come in handy when you are faced with a difficult parent.

  • Be proactive by building a cordial relationship with your pupil’s parents before avenues for concerns and issues start to arise.
  • Inform them early about anything that may come up during the term or session. Especially those regarding finances or that require their participation and preferably via trackable newsletters or emails.
  • Show that you care. This you can do by being empathetic, friendly and concerned about both your pupil and their parent. This will also help you build their trust in you.
  • Give a balanced report. Try not to only communicate the negative things their child has done but also communicate about the positive things too. This way they know you’re not picking on their child.
  • Establish your authority as a teacher who cares for their pupils and who knows what they are doing. This you can achieve by showing professionalism and confidence in speaking and in acting.
  • Understand that nobody is beyond mistakes and sometimes a parent’s outrage may be valid. Keep an open mind and ensure that a proper investigation is done and feedback is given, including tendering an apology where need be.
  • Keep your cool. Two wrongs do not make a right so try not to engage in a screaming fit by responding calmly and with a good disposition.
  • Take charge of the situation as much as possible and try to calm a raging parent. Politely direct them to the school administrator if they are beyond your control.

Remember, the customer is always right, so it is your duty to make sure that your pupil’s parents are satisfied with the services being provided them by you on behalf of the school.

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