Difficult Parents

Discussion in 'Preschool' started by smpeterson77, Feb 1, 2011.

  1. smpeterson77

    smpeterson77 Rookie

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    Feb 1, 2011

    The families of two children in my class (my two most difficult children) are close family friends, and the moms are best friends. These moms are the most demanding mothers. They are constantly asking us to do things that we would never do for other families, but the director and owner require us to accommodate them since they are very vocal and complain about everything. Yesterday one child had a birthday party in class, and when his dad brought him in, he handed me a bag with clothes and told me it was his change of clothes. Today, I was informed the family was upset that I did not change him after his party (I didn't know I was supposed to), and let him go through the rest of the day in $100 jeans. I was told to call the mom and apologize for this. This was pretty much the last straw for me. I can't believe my school's leadership would tip toe around these parents, and ask us to accommodate ridiculous requests that take our attention away from other children. How have you dealt with difficult parents in the past? I don't want to cause problems, but I am not going to kiss anyone's butt just because they have money!
    Samantha
     
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  3. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    Feb 1, 2011

    We curtail to the wants of difficult parents in my district. Our administration won't support us if we try to stand up to them. So, we just give in. We do ask that they are specific though!

    I feel bad for the kid that is just getting pushed by...but if they had more difficult parents, they would get more support!
     
  4. smpeterson77

    smpeterson77 Rookie

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    I feel bad for the other kids too! To some extent, I won't waste too much energy on the two kids with the difficult parents. They are spoiled at home, have no boundaries or rules to follow, and they run a muck in my class. They truly thrive on the attention they get as a result of poor behavior, so I am doing my best not to give it too them!
     
  5. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    That's really the best that you can do! I try not to make a big deal about things and never involve the administration unless absolutely necessary since I know what they will say.

    However, when one of my easy parents asks me something that I think should be a concern, I let them know to speak with the administration. Funny how the admin can say no to these parents...
     
  6. Blue

    Blue Aficionado

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    Feb 1, 2011

    My first thought was, "$100 jeans!!!" Not only are the parents hard to deal with, they are stupid.
     
  7. SamIAm

    SamIAm Companion

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    Ha-Ha! I'm with you!!!! :lol:
     
  8. Auter12

    Auter12 Comrade

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    Feb 2, 2011

    What grade?? I'm pretty sure that even a kindergartener can change his/her own pants, for the most part! If the parents wanted the $100 :spitwater: jeans changed, then they should have made it clear to the child to do so. Otherwise, unless there is an accident, the jeans stay on!!
    Time to make it clear (of course, in the most kiss up way possible ;)) that you are a teacher NOT a babysitter!! Somehow it can be done!! Good luck!
     
  9. Pre-K Teacher 1

    Pre-K Teacher 1 Comrade

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    Feb 2, 2011

    It all stems from leadership. If leadership is weak then there is really nothing you can do except grin and bear it. I've been in your shoes and I can tell you it was a very long year for me.
     
  10. TeacherNY

    TeacherNY Phenom

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    Feb 2, 2011

    That was pretty vague of the parent. Why couldn't he say, "here are Billy's clothes. Can you please change him after the party so he doesn't ruin his new jeans"?
     
  11. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Feb 2, 2011

    Here's the kind of non-apology I would offer(if I offered one at all...;))
    "I'm sorry if you were upset about little johnny's jeans. It wasn't clear that his clothes were to be changed after the party. Most families send in a change of clothes in case of spills or accidents only.It was a great party. All the kids had a great time. Have a great day!"

    It would be really awesome if you could make that call at a time when you are fairly certain they won't be home and leave it on voice mail!
     
  12. kimrandy1

    kimrandy1 Enthusiast

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    Feb 2, 2011

    I teach PreK, and I make it very clear that children should only wear clothing to school that they can move around in comfortably, and that can get DIRTY. But if a child had to change for any reason - bathroom accident, mud puddle, etc - they are certainly able to change their own pants at this age.
     
  13. mrgrinch09

    mrgrinch09 Comrade

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    I have to agree with this. If your director/principal isn't willing to stand up to these parents, then you're the one that's going to suffer.

    It doesn't help that these 2 families will eventually leave your program because there's always more difficult families to take their place next year.

    Talk to the other teachers to see if they are having the same problems, and if so bring it up at the next staff meeting. Maybe if everyone complains at once, you'll get the director to make some changes.

    If that doesn't work, I can give you lots of suggestions of things to do or say that will probably get you in lots of trouble. :woot:
     
  14. bondo

    bondo Cohort

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    Feb 2, 2011

    What a crazy story. I wouldnt apologize at all. You didnt do anything wrong. You may earn more respect from peers and admin if you simply say no. A bit of a gamble, but you know the political climate of your school and will know if its worth it or not.
     
  15. SpecialPreskoo

    SpecialPreskoo Moderator

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    I wouldn't apologize either. Maybe suggest getting some cheaper jeans for playing in. LOL
     
  16. 3Sons

    3Sons Enthusiast

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    If THAT's the best they can come up with to complain about, you should take heart in that you're obviously doing a terrific job!
     
  17. teacherR

    teacherR Companion

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    I am a director of a preschool and I would not expect you to apologize at all. A good manager would take this into their own hands and defend their staff. You can please some of the people some of the time but you cannot please all the people all the time. If I were you I would want to confront this mom on the phone or face to face. I would repeat what the dad said so she knew how vague he was. Parents like this really do need someone to look them in the eye and tell it like it is.

    If I were you I might actually do what someone else suggested and not apologize. Let you manager do it if they want. As a teacher you have the right to stand your ground. You should be able to speak your mind and your manager should at least hear you out.
     
  18. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    And this is why so many parents think that they can dictate what we do in the public school!!!
     
  19. smpeterson77

    smpeterson77 Rookie

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    Thanks for the replies! I actually didn't apologize. I called the mom and told her that I had been left with the impression that the extra clothes were his change of clothes in case of an accident. That the only reason he wasn't changed was because of this. I absolutely refused to say "sorry". My class is 2 and a half to 3 and half years old, btw. Which makes it even more ridiculous that he was wearing $100 jeans. The other kid today said the "S" word, and told my assistant teacher that he was going to kill her. He is not even three yet! I reported this to my director, and her solution was for me to just tell his mom. These two families have caused so many problems. The two moms once hid out in the woods behind the school to spy. Employees at a nearby bank thought they were crazies peeping into the school and called the police. All the classes had to go to their "safe spots" until everyone realized what had happened. I'm not sure why the owner is so intent on keeping them in the school. They cause way too many problems!

    Samantha
     
  20. Miss J. Pre-K

    Miss J. Pre-K Comrade

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    Feb 2, 2011

    I sent home a note periodically that said something along the lines of "we play at school, and play-dough, paint, food, dirt, etc. might get on our clothes. PLEASE do not send your child to school in dress-up clothes."

    I also had to send home notes reminding parents to bring coats/mittens/hats in the dead of winter. Yes, we are required, and we will, most likely, go outside every. single. day.

    Ugh. I had some little girls dress in frilly dresses, and rip their tights. Well, parents were warned. I didn't apologize. I had one mother tell her son he couldn't use the black paint because she couldn't get it out of his clothes. Really? (And we used smocks, but they were the vest type that didn't cover sleeves.)

    I feel for you. Helicopter parents are the worst.
     
  21. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    It's that kind of economy, they don't want to see enrollment drop.

    I can't believe that they aren't doing anything about a kid threatening the life of another person! That is truly above and beyond!
     
  22. TeacherSandra

    TeacherSandra Enthusiast

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    I think your director & owner are the problem.
     
  23. SamIAm

    SamIAm Companion

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    I have to say that they sound pretty crazy! If you can't get the director to set things right, I would put together a plan for doing it yourself. Here's something I do.

    I start out each year by handing out "What to Expect" letters to the parents (and any new parents that come along during the year). In this letter, I outline the things I do with my class: I talk the basic structure of circle, how the super helper is chosen each day and their jobs. I also talk about some of the things I focus on with my classes outside of the ABC's and 123's like self-help skills and drawing skills. I make notes of the things I need from them like spare clothes, and remind them of arrival times, clothing for messy play etc. It's always easier to start out like this instead of having to single anyone out later. Also, if you come at it as a general informational sheet - including what you do with the kids - it doesn't feel so pushy to the parents. Actually, a lot of my parents appreciate me outlining what their child would be doing and learning during their day. Many of them get so antsy about school because they don't really know what's going on, and feel a little out of the loop with what's happening in their child's day.

    I don't know if you could really implement this now, but I would definitely do it when your new class starts.
     
  24. smpeterson77

    smpeterson77 Rookie

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    Feb 3, 2011

    Thanks so much! I will definitely do the "what to expect sheet" in Sept. I started here in December, so I kind of jumped in half way and tried to keep things going as they had before. I'm hoping it will be better when I can set the tone!
     
  25. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    You could send something out in the spring when the weather starts to get warmer. You could remind the parents of the routines with the new weather as well as how things are changing now that you are getting them ready for the next classroom they will be entering...
     
  26. smpeterson77

    smpeterson77 Rookie

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    Feb 4, 2011

    Great idea, mopar, thanks! I'm going to do it:)
     

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