Bad relationship with parent?

Discussion in 'Special Education' started by sunbeachgirl, Sep 9, 2011.

  1. sunbeachgirl

    sunbeachgirl Rookie

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    Sep 9, 2011

    I have a parent who is renowned for stirring up problems. I have come to the conclusion that no matter what I do, this parent will never be happy.

    This frustrates me. What have you done in the past when you have a bad relationship with a parent? I limit the words in my emails and make sure I don't share too much. This parent picks apart everything I say, twists the words, and then responds to me with a condescending email. Grrr...I just want to enjoy my job.
     
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  3. Proud2BATeacher

    Proud2BATeacher Phenom

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    Sep 9, 2011

    Sometimes parents knowing that the teacher is not the only person that will be reading the e-mails help. Ask your principal if you could cc. him in your e-mail correspondence.
     
  4. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Sep 9, 2011

    How long has school been in session?

    The reason I ask is because your phrasing leads me to believe that it's her reputation that concerns you, not any real interaction up to this point.

    Stop emailing her-- emails are notoriously hard to read for tone. Speak to her on the phone.

    If I've read it correctly, give this mom a fresh slate and see how it goes with you. Just as with kids, parents tend to jive with some teachers and not with others.

    Keep in mind: what she wants most of all is what's best for her child. It's what you want too.

    So keep her in the loop (especially when there's good news.) Be proactive about problems. And don't assume that there will be issues.

    Perhaps she'll remember you as the one teacher who really valued her child.
     
  5. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    Sep 9, 2011

    Communicate in person, not through email, whenever possible.
    Copy administration on all email communication with the parent.
    Make a concerted effort to have communication about successes outweigh that about concerns.
    Invite the parent in for a "good news" meeting about their child.
     
  6. cmw

    cmw Groupie

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    Sep 9, 2011

    I had a parent that verbally attacked me in a meeting at the beginning of last year. The meeting involved both principals & all the students' teachers. Since I was the only one left b-c other teachers had conferences she felt the need to unload on me. Luckily my principal was there & made her stop. After that I received a nasty phone call from her. I forwarded the call to my principal. I would only communicate with her via phone conference with my principal. She wanted to get me alone (either in person or via phone) and I would never put myself in that position. It was a long year. =) I will not have the student this year, but he's still in the building. (I was not the only teacher she did this too. She even went off on my principal & hung up on him more than once.The guidance counselor is already prepared to be the mom's verbal punching bag this year. That makes me sad b-c no one should be able to treat another person like that. :( )
     
  7. sunbeachgirl

    sunbeachgirl Rookie

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    Sep 9, 2011

    Unfortunately, I think it's beyond that.
    The parent began the year emailing me constantly about the student. I based my opinions on her on the emails I received. I hadn't heard about the parent until I went to administration and let them know about the emails.
    The parent tells me something about her student, and when I talk to the student they claim that it's not true. I don't know who to believe!

    Oh well...it looks like I just have to be careful.
     
  8. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

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    Sep 9, 2011

    I like the idea of CCing admin. I have several parents who email constantly with what seems like a negative tone.
     
  9. BioAngel

    BioAngel Science Teacher - Grades 3-6

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    Sep 9, 2011

    First thing: Realize that said parent has a reputation with administration and teachers in your school. So she is not your problem, she is her own problem.

    Secondly: Based on my own experience, I had to stick to using e-mails to discuss topics with a Mom who has nothing good to say about me and CC'ing my principal on them. I now even get my e-mails reviewed before replying to Mom by the guidance counselor so that my butt is fully covered and I have administration's approval with what I'm saying. I know Mom would lambast me if I talked to her on the phone and while I will have to have a conference with her once a year, that shouldn't last more than 10 minutes. I will have one of her sons for another year and her younger son for 4 more years. I'm totally (not) thrilled :)

    If the parent is simply on the defense and isn't willing to actually listen to what you have to say, stick to e-mail and have your principal review your e-mail or reply before sending it to the parent. That gives the principal a head's up and they can be your support instead of the parent coming in to discuss with the principal before they know what is what.

    I just realize that there's no way I can please all of the parents of my students. My job is to care for and help my student learn. It is not to appease and be buddy-buddy with parents.
     
  10. chebrutta

    chebrutta Enthusiast

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    Sep 10, 2011

    I already have a parent who, um, has gone a bit overboard with her demands of me. My admin decided I should have zero contact with her unless an administrator is present... phone calls, conferences, emails to be CC'd, etc.

    I would absolutely CC your P on any emails. As far as phone conversations - if you can't set up a conference call with admin present on your end, I would document, document, document. And make sure that you are absolutely professional at all times.
     
  11. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    I would recommend a meeting with administration, the parent and the student to clear up some of the confusion about some of the things she has told you her child says are not true.
     
  12. sunbeachgirl

    sunbeachgirl Rookie

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    Sep 11, 2011

    I think that may be necessary. The annual is coming up soon, so we'll be meeting then anyway.
    As far as I can tell...nothing will make this parent happy. It's week 4 and I already feel like the parent is consuming my thoughts...even on weekends! :( I really think I somehow ended up with a really big bully. And it's no fun to deal with.
     
  13. bros

    bros Phenom

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    Sep 12, 2011

    Tell the parent that you understand that they are advocating for their child, but the manner in which they are doing it is disruptive and rude.
     
  14. Rosy0114

    Rosy0114 Rookie

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    Sep 12, 2011

    Phone conversation w/ difficult parent = use calm, caring voice tones. Actively listen - and find a way to be really interested in what the parent has to say. Use phrases like, "Let me see if I understand what you are telling me. You feel____ because ____." Don't give your opinion or suggestions until you are absolutely sure you fully understand the parent's concerns and feelings.

    Often when they feel they are being listened to, they yell and swear less. When they think you understand, they calm down enough for you to get a word in edgewise.

    Don't use blaming statements when you respond. State what you are doing in the classroom or in your school to improve things. Make simple suggestions to the parent. Tell the parent you will work as a team to figure it out and get on the right track.
     

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