“Parents present problems.” It is a phrase I have heard uttered or reflected from every level of education. It bothers me, especially since most of these educators are also parents, and some admit to doing some pretty “annoying” things at their kids’ schools!
I also have a problem once parents leave my class. Teachers tend to complain about the way in which I treat parents. For some reason teachers believe that I let my classroom parents “do whatever they want.”
The truth is, Parents are typically pretty easy to work with when you do a few reasonable things.
1. Treat Parents like people who really do want the best for kids.We seem to forget (maybe because we spend all day with LOTS of kids) that being a parent is HARD! Most parents are not trained to work with kids! Assume they are doing their best and instead of blaming parents, lets reach out a helping hand!
2.Choose your words and tone wisely. Do people misinterpret you when you send emails? MAKE PHONE CALLS, but no matter how you choose to communicate, think before you do! Make sure your tone and language comes from a place of caring for their child! Not one of accusing them of screwing up their own kid!
3. Don’t just reach out to them, grab hold of them! Remember when I said Parenting is hard? You can’t just expect Parents to meet you half way. If you really want parents on your side, make the extra effort.
4. Contact them about good things more often than bad. Do you only want to hear from your boss when you screw up? No, you like to know when you are doing well too! Praise a parent’s child about something, whatever you can. That praise reminds parents that they are not failing, they are trying and at least something is working!
Parents can be your greatest ally, or your greatest adversary. The choice is yours! Always remember, a Parent entrusts you with the most valuable thing they have, their child. Respect that, and they will respect you.