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Being a teacher is not always easy. The role is not just limited to knowing the curriculum and teaching students.
There will be situations when they will have to handle the problems of others. Most of the parents are very protective when it comes to their kids and they easily feel offended when someone raises finger at them. Not all parents are the same and there are cases when teachers will have to deal with difficult parents.
It is not at all easy when you have to be professional in the way you address the problem when the other side may be unkind or unfair.
It is all about being patient, polite and professional when handling a frustrated parent. Here are some important tips, tricks and strategies that might help teachers to deal with difficult parents.
1. Set the Right Expectations from Day One
One of the basic reasons for the problems is the lack of setting the right expectations initially. Know about the school processes regarding discipline, grading, and parent-teacher communication in the first place itself.
This is important to set the right expectations and make the parents to be mentally prepared for addressing any issues of the child. You will also know about setting the right boundaries and handling problems at the right time.
2. Learn to Keep yourself Cool
When a parent approaches you with an unpleasing complaint or feedback, it is important to keep yourself cool and not to rush with conclusions.
No problems are solved by yelling at each other and be matured enough to understand that only peaceful communication can address the situation.
It is not advisable to take the comments of the parents personally and react for it but try to understand the reasons behind frustrated person in front of you.
3. Build Trust in Relationship
Like every other relationship, there should be a basic trust in the relationship of teachers and parents and that is when people listen to you. It is good to give a call or message to parents regarding the positive happenings in the classroom.
Send them a note when the child is doing well and don’t always call them when something goes wrong. When parents get a feel that teachers are considering the good and bad sides of the students, it gives a sense of trust.
4. Meaningfully Involve Them
When a problem is raised or feedback is proposed, it is always a wise choice to meaningfully involve them when addressing the same.
Similarly, see if you can include parents in the child’s learning process in the first place itself by asking out opinions or giving them a chance to show their skills.
Doing so will make it easy for teachers to reach out to them without an inhibition at times of problems and parents would ideally approach the situation positively!
5. Showcase How You Care
Another very important element to notice is regarding the way you showcase how you care. When parents get a feel that you care for them or acknowledge their problem, half of the problem is solved.
Have some parent-teacher meetings regularly and give them a message that their kids can learn in a fear-free environment.
Build a good rapport with parents and assure that they can approach you anytime when they need any help regarding the kid’s learning.
6. Speak With a Low Voice
Even if parents provoke you with some judgments or misunderstandings, speaking with a low voice is recommended, not to accelerate the problem. An upset parent may be eager to speak up for their child to seek justice without giving a space for the teacher to give a proper explanation.
However, if the teacher can lower the voice and respond politely after giving them a chance to vent out, the problem can be addressed without being elevated.
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7. Give them No Surprises
It is always good to keep them updated regarding necessary things related to the students and the activities which they are supposed to know. Never wait for the year-end meeting to reveal about an ongoing problem or if the child is a trouble maker from the beginning.
Give them light heads up using calls, chats or emails so that they will have a clue about what is happening and they can do their part to rectify the problem before it becomes worse.
8. Always Give Room for Mistakes
It is quite human to make some mistakes and be kind enough to give some room for mistakes rather than judging or demeaning their comments or feedback. At the same time, understand that you can also make mistakes and see if it is actually a problem with your act.
Then it is highly recommended to accept it and apologize for the mistake and give an assurance not to repeat the same in future.
9. Be a Good Listener and Show Empathy
When you are approaching a problem, the most important quality to have is to be a good listener. You should learn to listen first before you respond and show some empathy. Sometimes, what the parent needs are a shoulder of support or assurance of solving the problem.
Show some humanitarian consideration and give a shoulder to cry on or give words of acknowledgment, concern, and hope.
10. Listen and Ask Questions
First of all listen to what they are saying, understand their problems and start asking the right questions to address it properly. Welcome or greet them properly when you meet and give them the freedom to express their concerns.
Let them speak out first and don’t try to interrupt in between until they are finished, especially when they look frustrated. Of course, you can later ask the necessary questions for better clarification and to address the issue without fail.
11. Use and Give Concrete Examples
When you are trying to explain something to the parents, it is important to give concrete examples and avoid vagueness in your communication. Parents will often try to protect their child even if they did a mistake.
If the teacher had earlier seen a similar mistake from the child and given a warning and the parent was notified just because the mistake was repeated, convey the message in a polite but concrete way to convince them..
12. Help Parents see the Big Picture
Some of the problems raised by the parents may be due to the perspective in which they see the problem. So keep yourself cool and help them to see the bigger picture and make them understand what actually happened and what can be done to improve the situation.
Make them understand the successful position their kid is going to reach if he/she follows the right path and point out the mistakes that hinder them from reaching their goals.
13. Set up a Parent Resources Area
It is always good to have proper parents’ resource area in your school where they will feel welcomed and feel like home. You can display the success stories of the students and the past projects that have won applauses. Make them comfortable with good chairs and resources or nourishments.
Give them a feeling that they have a space on their own in the school and they are just part of the whole process. This will help them to address or approach a problem with a positive mindset.
14. Establish your Authority
Experts have always pointed out the significance of talking to the person in front by looking into the eyes. This gives a message that you are listening to what they are saying with undivided attention. This also means that you are equally concerned and interested in what is being discussed.
This also hints at a lot of self-confidence and self-assurance in your posture and gives them a feeling that you are making a conversation for some mutual objective.
15. Know When to Think and Listen
Making the right decisions and speaking the right word is important while addressing a problem. This comes naturally when you know when to think and listen. Don’t let the emotions take control of you and speak something unprofessional that might end you in trouble.
When you are on duty, it is always good to think before you speak and if possible ask considerable time to look into the matter and get expert advice if things seem to go out of your hands.
16. It is always Good not to Retaliate
There may be many hidden or unknown reasons behind a frustrated parent. So it is always good not to retaliate and approach them peacefully with all patience you have.
Arguing back can only worsen the situation and you will lose a chance to solve the problem easily. It is common for a person to react if the comments from the parents are awful or if they are being unkind or unfair. But if the ultimate goal is to solve the problem, then you should show some patience.
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17. Lower your Expectations
Just like setting the right expectations for parents, it is even a better approach to lower your expectations and understand that people are different and they think and react differently.
If you have already set your mind to face such situations during the parent’s meet, then many problems will seem very easy to handle. Understand that such unkind conversations are not very rare and show all the patience in the world to solve the problem.
18. Believe in Yourself
It is important not to lose confidence in yourself and have all the focus to believe in yourself. Even if a parent yells out to you for the mistake you have not done, never lose self-esteem. Don’t be self-critical or let the emotions take control over you.
Rather think about the good things you have done in your career so far and look out the ways to make things better. Even if you have done a mistake, understand that it is quite human to do so and try to bring out a better version of yourself.
19. Talk to Someone you Trust
When the problems are not addressed and frustrated parents give you headaches, it is common to feel low. However, rather than keeping the worries with yourself and feel depressed, it is good to talk to someone you trust. They might help you in addressing the problem from a different perspective or else at least give you the strength and courage to face the situation.
Reach out to your better half or a good friend or relative or even an experienced teacher who might have undergone similar situations in their lives.
20. Look after Yourself
After all, you should care about yourself and not lose peace of mind in the process. It is fine to let things go and understand that good and bad experiences are part of life. Eat healthily, go for a light walk, drink lots of water, read a good book, go out with friends, and get a good night’s sleep and start off the next day refreshed.
Hope these important strategies will help all teachers who are looking for ways to deal with difficult parents.
The best thing you can do is to establish constructive and positive relationships with the students as well as the parents.
Build a comfortable zone with the parents where you can freely discuss student problems without any hesitation.
Still, people are different and how they react to situations will be different.
So lower your expectations and be mentally prepared to face such situations during your career and handle it with patience, politeness, and professionalism.
Build a strong mindset to face unfair situations in life and never lose hope and confidence in yourself.
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