Teachers dealing with parents in denial

As I huddled around a desk with two parents, my principaland vice principal, I experienced one of the oddest moments I have ever had as a teacher. One second, we were talking about missing assignments and the next, mom was leaning across the table, sharply pointing a finger at me. My reflection on this meeting helped me arrive at five extremely important conclusions.

Ones that will stick with me for the rest of my life. For other teachers dealing with difficult parents, maybe these lessons will ring true for you, too. I was tempted to lament and complain about what a bad person this mom was immediately after the meeting ended.

The answer to those questions is probably not.

teachers dealing with parents in denial

In a battle between teacher and child of course she would choose to side with her child. As a parent, I know that same love. No one wants to be disliked. My experience with the loud disapproval from a parent has shown me that, no matter how hard I work, not every parent will like me.

They will at some point disagree with me, and I have learned to be okay with that. At the end of the day, I am here to change the world through the power of education. And I am going to do that with everything in me. No matter what.

Parents Who Side With Their Kids Over Teachers Are Headed for Trouble

Until I realized that she was just one parent. Just because one parent expresses disapproval or disdain for your class or even you as a person that does not mean that every parent has turned on you. I am still working on my relationship with that parent, but I am also still fostering the extremely positive relationships I have with other families.

This one is so important. Chances are you did not get into teaching for the parents. I got into teaching to change the lives of students. It may mean that you should devote some extra energy and love toward that child. While his mom may not like me, he and I still have daily conversations about hating the Dallas Cowboys or which restaurant has the best chicken and waffles.

We just created our own personalized handshake!

teachers dealing with parents in denial

This is the greatest profession I know. The students will come and go, along with their parents. Not every student will like you. Not every parent will like you. We all know that not every colleague will like you. But at the end of the day, if you have said yes to the call to teach, you keep coming back.

What advice would you give to teachers dealing with difficult parents? Mike Yates is a teacher and curriculum developer in Austin, Texas. He is also a writer and a poet. Sometimes to prove it, he only speaks in poems the whole school day. You must be logged in to post a comment.Being told that your child has a disability can be as traumatizing as learning of a family member's sudden death. Many parents are stunned by such news. Receiving such a message can produce overwhelming emotions of shock, disbelief, anxiety, fear, and despair.

Within that moment, research has shown that some parents cannot distinguish between the unconscious wish for an idealized normal child from an unthinkable, sudden reality of one who is not. For some parents, just trying to comprehend the disparity between their desires for their child and the disability that exists compounds their emotional and intellectual efforts to adjust to the situation.

They may feel grief, depression, or shame.

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Some may also ask questions of "why me" and conclude that they are being punished for sins or bad acts of the past. Depending on the severity of the disability and the magnitude of the demand for coping, a few parents may even contemplate death for the child or themselves These thoughts represent an all- encompassing need to achieve inner peace. Teachers and personnel in related disciplines need to know about the stages through which parents often pass when coping with the fact that their child has a disability.

These same professionals also need to be available to help guide parents through the usual stages of adjustment toward reasonable acceptance of their child's condition and their fate. Until parents who are having difficulty accepting their child's disability can cope with their own pain and frustrations, their full energies generally cannot be directed toward understanding the child's disability, level of development, readiness for instruction, or participation in the intervention process.

The first point of providing support for parents should be during a period of uncertain diagnosis, which can engender confusion or bewilderment. Following the rendering of a specific diagnosis, such as autism or a less definitive determination like pervasive developmental disorder, the parents' typical stages of adjustment are as follows:.

The parent may be shocked, and he or she may cry or become dejected. Sometimes parents may express their feelings through physical outbursts or, occasionally, inappropriate laughter.

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This is an extension of stage one, and some parents may deny their child's disability or try to avoid that reality in some other way. Some parents will search for or try to propose various actions in an attempt to change the reality. Some may "shop for a cure" or try to bargain for a different reality. At this stage, parents may feel anger.

They may demonstrate their anger outwardly, in the form of rage, or become withdrawn and passive from intense feelings of guilt. Verbally attacking anyone who might be blamed for their unfortunate circumstance, including displacement of responsibility onto the original diagnostician or any supportive professionals, is common. If the parents are feeling angry, guilty, or both, professionals must understand this stage is a very positive point to reach in the process of adjustment and not become defensive if attacked.

Parents become resigned to the fact that their child has a disability. In some situations, one or more of the family may slip into depression. Feelings of shame, guilt, hopelessness, and anxiety stemming from a new overwhelming burden of responsibility can become intense.The Teachers. Net Gazette is a collaborative project published by the Teachers. Rob Reilly; Barb S.

Unfortunately, almost every teacher is faced with an irate parent at some time. Every now and then there are parents who refuse to accept that their child struggles in school. Before you know it, you have a huge problem on your hands. Here are some tried and true tips to help you resolve difficult situations with parents. Let upset parents know that your goal is to help every child succeed. Look for ways to find common ground.

When parents are able to look at the big picture and realize that you are on the same side, you can begin to work together to help their child succeed. Be sensitive! Good records that document dates, times, notes and decisions about students can be invaluable if problems arise.

Make a set of parent communication folders by labeling file folders with the names of your students. Staple a few blank sheets of paper inside each folder. Use these folders to jot notes with details of important conversations and keep notes from parents organized.

Inside each folder, write the date, name of the parent with whom you spoke, and any actions that need to be taken. Make sure to date notes that you receive from parents before you file them in the folders. After making phone calls to parents to discuss problems, take a few minutes to record any important information that was discussed. Keep these important folders inside the front of your desk drawer so they are at your fingertips instantly.

Be proactive! Contact parents as soon as you see academic problems or negative behavior patterns develop. Here are some things to discuss with parents:. Be prepared to give specific examples to illustrate the points you make. Show parents examples of average and above average work for your grade level. White out the names on papers and use actual samples of students' work to clearly illustrate typical work for the grade level.

Have you ever been caught off guard by a parent and answered a question in a way that you regret later? If a parent asks you a question that floors you, don't be put on the spot. It's fine to let parents know that you need some time to reflect on their question before you respond. Let them know that you'll get back to them in a day or two.

Sometimes, the best thing to do is to provide an opportunity for all parties to cool down and reflect on the issues at hand by bringing the meeting to a close.

Set a time and date to meet again.Students, for a variety of reasons, may develop behavior problems in school. These problems may include lack of participation in class activities, disruptive outbursts and hostility towards teachers and administrators. It is important that parents assist teachers by helping their children when these problems arise. However, some parents refuse to believe that their child is behaving badly. If you are an educator, a counselor or just a concerned friend, there is a way to deal with parents in denial.

Invite the parents to meet with you without the child in question being present. Sometimes, when the parents and child are in the same room and participating in the discussion, the parents may feel more of a need to defend the child. Also, the child may be defensive and interject in a disruptive and unproductive way. It is best to talk to the parents alone in a calm environment.

teachers dealing with parents in denial

Thoroughly explain the events that have occurred with child. Avoid subjective assessments of the child's behavior at first. Simply tell the parents exactly what the student has done and how the student has behaved as your have observed. Have tangible evidence ready.

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The parents may be in denial simply because they have not observed the bad behavior themselves and have not seen any evidence of it. The child may not misbehave at home or the parents may simply ignore the child's bad behavior and they may feel that it is your word against the child's. Write down every instance of the child's bad behavior and have a list ready to show to the parents.

Have copies of disciplinary write-ups and poor test scores available as well. You may even want to have video evidence, but only if you are legally allowed to videotape students.

Listen to the parents. Allow them several uninterrupted minutes to give you information that you may not be aware of that could explain the student's behavior. Take notes, if necessary, from the information that they give you. Ask the parents very specific questions about the student and home life. Ask them if a close relative has recently died, if a parent has lost a job, if the child has been diagnosed with a learning disability and other slightly probing questions.Using her son as an example, Sloan showed the laissez-faire attitude that so many parents possess when it comes to their children doing wrong in school.

While I have nothing against Louise Sloan and believe that she has the best of intentions, it is parents like her that are destroying the public school system and making great teachers leave the profession.

Seventeen official incident reports are in no way normal. Commenters agreed. In this country, we pay for preschool, so the parent had to research and select a school, and then could have withdrawn, no? Most three year olds have tantrums — I suspect something else was going on.

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The double-standard is clear, but yet not obvious enough for parents and politicians to see it. Your child will be what you allow him to be — not just with you but with other people. If your first instinct is to question what the teachers are doing wrong in such cases and not what your child is doing wrong, then you are polluting the very system that you wish to improve. Kazdin supports. Research-based evidence of this method has been in teacher-education textbooks for at least 22 years I studied it in Maybe this is a problem in most Brooklyn schools, but not in most schools.

So to recap, why do teachers have such a hard time teaching? Why do highly decorated teachers who have proven results on their resume end up washing out and heading to the private sector after a few years? It can be a subtle yet profound mistake that leads to major consequences over time.

And until parents are ready to start holding their children accountable first ahead of the teacher, it will only continue to get worse. Be the first to leave a comment. My 8-year-old is That Kid. The one who drives the teachers crazy. Last year there were 17 official incident reports.

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And what about all the other kids like him? Related Posts: Hate School? Written by Aric Mitchell. Aric Mitchell 's work appears regularly here at 4tests.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. It is your job to be diplomatic in the decision-making process and to think through every decision without being rash. It is easier to deal with a parent if you can build a relationship with them before a difficult situation arises.

As a school administrator or teacher, it is essential for a number of reasons to build relationships with the parents of your students. If the parents are on your side, then you typically will be able to do your job more effectively.

You can be especially proactive by going out of your way to talk to those parents who have a reputation for being difficult. Your goal should always be to be friendly and personable. Show these parents that you make your decisions with your students' best interests at heart. This is not the be-all and end-all solution to dealing with difficult parents, but it's a good start. Building relationships takes time, and it's not always easy, but it can certainly help you in the long run.

Most parents who complain genuinely feel like their child has been slighted in some way.

teachers dealing with parents in denial

Although it is easy to be defensive, it is important to have an open mind and to listen to what the parents have to say. Try to see things from their perspective. Often when a parent comes to you with a concern, they are frustrated, and they need someone to listen to them. Be the best listener you can and respond in a diplomatic manner. Be honest and explain the thoughts behind your decision-making. Understand that you are not always going to make them happy, but you can try by showing them that you will take everything they have to say into consideration.

It is critical that you be prepared for the worst possible situation when an angry parent comes into your office. You may have parents who storm into your office cursing and screaming, and you will have to handle them without losing control of your own emotions.

If a parent is extremely agitated, you can politely ask them to leave and return once they have calmed down. Though a situation like this is rare, you should nevertheless be prepared for a student-teacher meeting that turns combative. You do not want to be locked in your office or classroom without a plan to get help should this kind of situation arise. There are a handful of parents who will bypass a school administrator and go straight to the teacher with whom they have a problem.

These situations can turn quite ugly if the parent is in a combative state. If students are present, the teacher should immediately take measures to secure the classroom as quickly as possible. Share Flipboard Email. Derrick Meador. Education Expert.

Ask an Autism Expert- Parent Denial

Derrick Meador, M. He previously served as a school principal and middle school science teacher. When Should Teachers Make Referrals?

5 Things I’ve Learned From The Parent Who Hates Me

What Every Teacher Needs to Know.There are many great ways to wrap up the school year, but dealing with difficult parents isn't one of them. Most of your students will finish up the year and move on to the next grade. If you hear from their parents at all, it might be a thank-you card. And, if you're lucky, it might even include a gift card to a local restaurant.

But some parents may not feel so kindly toward their child's teacher as the year winds down. Perhaps their child failed a final exam and needs to go to summer school, or maybe their child struggled throughout the year and you recommended testing to determine if they have a learning disability.

Or, maybe their child missed a lot of instruction, and you think they need to repeat the year. Whatever the issue, you're probably not looking forward to dealing with difficult parents at this point. But there are plenty of ways to defuse the situation, keep your cool, and even help parents come to an understanding about their child's progress.

This is probably the most important thing to keep in mind throughout the year: Make sure you keep parents apprised of any issues. If you think a student has learning problems and should be tested, don't wait until the entire year has passed before suggesting it.

You can often avoid problems at the end of the year if parents have already been made aware of your concerns. But even for teachers who've done a great job of keeping parents on board, some parents will "forget" that they've been informed of any problems at the end of the year. In these cases, it's important to keep a record of emails, phone calls, or other conversations you've had regarding the student's issues throughout the year.

Invite them in to meet with you rather than trying to resolve a problem over the phone or email. That way, you can show them samples of their child's work or records of attendance. You can also share evidence of the times you discussed the issue with them.

In the end, it's usually easier for angry parents to say unpleasant things electronically than in person. Further reading: Mastering the Parent-Teacher Meeting. If the parents have already called to complain, the principal may want to sit in on the meeting. If not, she may want to be available if the issue can't be resolved between you and the parents. Shake hands with the parents who come to meet with you and ask them to explain what they're unhappy about.

Wait until they finish, and don't interrupt unless you're asking for clarification. Make sure parents understand that, as the child's teacher, you'd like to see him do better, too.

Be clear that your role is not to punish the child at the end of the year for not studying, not handing in work, or being absent. Your role is to figure out how to make their child more successful in the future.


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