Difficult Parents

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Ms.Holyoke, Nov 12, 2019.

  1. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Connoisseur

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    What do you do when you have parents who email teachers about consequences that their child receives?

    We have a student who made an inappropriate comment about a female student's body parts. We talked to a group of boys (and admin called mom) and mom emails us a five paragraph email about why her son should not have bee disciplined or talked to.

    My admin is supportive but it seems like behaviors wont change unless the parents are on board! Thoughts?
     
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  3. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

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    For the most part, I use my best "I'm a professional" tone and reply that while a student is in my class, he/she will follow my class rules or else follow my consequences. I have been known to mention homeschooling when the concept of following another adult's rules becomes an issue.
     
  4. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    "I would be happy to arrange a meeting with you, your son and Mr/Ms. Principal to discuss school policies regarding acceptable school behavior. Perhaps I can draw your attention to the student/parent handbook you both signed, section X on page X."
     
  5. vickilyn

    vickilyn Magnifico

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    Parents lash out at everyone they have on speed dial, trying to present their side of the story. It is not up to the teacher to respond - simply forward what was sent to you by the mother and then forget about it. A response like that is above the teacher's pay grade.
     
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  6. 3Sons

    3Sons Enthusiast

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    You really think snarky is the way to go?

    In my opinion, the whole handbook signing thing is handled badly by almost every school I've seen do it. Do you really wonder why some parents are adversarial when the school leads of with that?
     
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  7. Tired Teacher

    Tired Teacher Cohort

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    It takes at least 2 out of 3 to make behaviors change. Parent/student, parent /teacher, student/teacher. If 2 work strongly , you have a chance. 2 against 1, you have very little chance of changing behavior.
     
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  8. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    I guess she disagrees that it was inappropriate.

    I'd send her an email and CC the admin letting her know that she is welcome to speak with the admin if she has an issue with the way the situation was handled. Of course, after you ok it with your admin.

    Will the behavior change if parents are not on board? Maybe. It depends on the peer group and their acceptance of what he is saying more than just about anything.

    You didn't share the scenario as to how you found out he said something inappropriate, but not everything we deem inappropriate is inappropriate to others. There was a time not long ago commenting positively about female's body parts with a group of guys was not deemed inappropriate. It was all about the company you were in. So, I can see some families, depending on the comment, taking issue with schools deciding what is appropriate to say to others, especially if it was not said to the girl or in her earshot.

    I'm not giving my opinion here.
     
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  9. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    Tell me what's snarky about arranging a meeting with administration?
    It's also not snarky to remind parents of their responsibilities regarding their child when they choose to become confrontational.
     
  10. Tired Teacher

    Tired Teacher Cohort

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    If the only "discipline" or "consequence" the boy got was being talked to, that makes my head spin that a parent would argue about it. That is ridiculous. In this day and age, many boys are going to have to change their ways.
    When we grew up, boys could snap your bra, grab you, or say just about anything about your body. The only recourse girls had were older brothers! I remember teachers saw boys snapping bras and would just tell them to stop. Nowadays, women are suing and guys need to be taught about sexual harassment young.
     
  11. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Connoisseur

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    Yes this is what is crazy. This was the only consequence. We don't have recess of lunch detentions in my school anyways so there's nothing else we can really do.
     
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  12. Tired Teacher

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    Wow! A parent upset because her kid was "talked to" as a consequence! That takes the cake!
     
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  13. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Connoisseur

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    Yes, she said he was shamed and called out.
     
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  14. Tired Teacher

    Tired Teacher Cohort

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    Wow! Some parents are just plain clueless. It is good someone did talk to him. I don't understand people like that, seriously!
     
  15. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Aficionado

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    This is not directed at you but at the “parent”:

    “Was his wittle feewings hurt? Maybe Momma should kiss his boo-boo to make it all bedda.”

    :rolleyes:
     
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2019
  16. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    Some people have trouble with group admonishments. It could be he is taking heat from the friends because they were all talked to because of something he said.

    Again, not giving my opinion here, just a reason why she may have been upset.
     
  17. 3Sons

    3Sons Enthusiast

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    It's snarky to give a response indicating you're going to dismiss any substance of a parents complaint based on a rulebook they were forced to sign. Disciplining the student shouldn't have been done because it was in the rules, and it certainly didn't turn on whether they had signed the handbook - it was done because it was the right thing to do.

    I agree completely that the parent sounds like she's off the rails -- being talked to doesn't even count as discipline as far as I'm concerned. But curt and litigious responses are not going to get her agreement. A response like this will echo in her mind every single time she hears an administrator or teacher say they want parents to be collaborative partners in their child's education -- ever, no matter who it is. It will make her an even more difficult parent.
     
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  18. CherryOak

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    Nov 18, 2019

    The best response to any email rant is simply an invite for a face to face. Keep the ball in your court.

    He was shamed and called out. I bet it was painful to go through. Problem is, it was likely justified and that's the hard lesson - hard for both cub and mama bear. Don't respond with policy signatures reminders. That will only escalate it. She doesn't care about paperwork.
     
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  19. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    Does the handbook say that students are to be "talked to" or "disciplined" in front of their peers? I bet there is a lot in the handbook that talks about student's rights also. Mom may be arguing that it is a person's right to not be reprimanded in front of others (just like teachers don't like to be called out in front of their peers even if they know they were 100% wrong in their action or decision).
     
  20. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

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    May I ask Mom's reasonings against the admonishment?

    If parent/teacher/principal can't agree, I think a face to face may be in all interests.
     
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  21. TeacherNY

    TeacherNY Phenom

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    She doesn't want her kid punished for anything. He must be special.
     
  22. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Connoisseur

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    Maybe. However, it wasn't a punishment. We were talking a group of boys about language that they were ALL using. His punishment was being sent to the office and having admin call home.
     
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  23. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    And many people think being sent to the admin's office for an offense and having a call home a form of punishment. I understand that you do not.
     
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  24. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Connoisseur

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    Personally I think it depends on the parent. I wish my school did lunch detention or something else for a consequence for behavior like this.
     
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  25. 3Sons

    3Sons Enthusiast

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    Wait, you're not the OP, correct? So, how do you know?
     
  26. TeacherNY

    TeacherNY Phenom

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    Ok, add the word "maybe" to my statement. Why are you correcting me and not the OP???
     
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  27. vickilyn

    vickilyn Magnifico

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    IF the mom and the son were both equally embarrassed by the whole episode, it is possible that his behavior will change, he will take to heart what admin had to say. That would be very positive. As for the parent complaining to the teacher about what admin did, well, I would somewhat gently inform or remind the parent that what happened was above your pay grade and out of your hands, whether you support the consequence or not. Make sure that mom understands that this was admin's call and admin's action. If I wasn't part of this sequence of events, I would want mom to know that the correct department to contact would be admin. Honestly, not throwing admin under the bus, just clarifying the chain of command. On the other hand, if you were involved in this sequence of events, for instance, making the case against the boy, then mom may be justified in reaching out to you over the reporting, etc., if she doesn't believe her son would do such a thing, well, you know the drill. Just because you did the initial report, however, doesn't make you responsible for admin's actions. Admin should be able to stand on their own two feet for that.
     
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  28. SpecialPreskoo

    SpecialPreskoo Moderator

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    special, spoiled or privileged? ;)
     
  29. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

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    I've also known a few people who are dead set against other people disciplining their kids.

    Fortunately in most of these cases, these are people that will handle the misbehavior on their end.

    But that's only in most cases.
     
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  30. TeacherNY

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    Probably, but I guess we'll add the word "allegedly" in case someone has a problem with it :rolleyes:
     
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  31. TeacherNY

    TeacherNY Phenom

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    It probably depends on the school and the type of parents you have but in some cases the only discipline a child ever receives is in school because the parent has no idea how to parent. You're lucky if have experienced otherwise.
     
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  32. Tired Teacher

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    I almost have the opposite experience. I know parents who do not want anyone else disciplining their kids too. Often times these parents will not take care of the problem at home.
    However a lot of them would "throw the book" at their kid if they acted or spoke to them like they do to teachers.
     
  33. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

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    I think there are a lot of old-fashioned people in my area who decry the sins of the contemporary folk to the point they barely trust the very school system they're using. What is the school's values? Will they be fair? Will they be namby pamby in solving the problem? (Most still wouldn't do corporal punishment, I'm just trying to express these families want their values represented).

    It's annoying, but you'll see it on the comments of the news site whenever their is an article about newsworthy tomfoolery at school. "I barely trust the village to raise my kids! Don't discipline them, that's my job! Separate them if you must and call me,!"
     
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  34. Tired Teacher

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    Oh, we have a ton of parents who do not believe the school is fair whenever their child does something wrong! They will back their kid to a point that blows my mind. Over the years, I have had parents ( many) say: My child has never lied to me.) Like: the adult is lying to them. They won't do anything to that child and blame whomever told them.
    Many of those same parents would be furious at their kids if they talked back to them, refused to clean their rooms, or embarrassed them in some way.
    At the same time, we have some parents who if their child refused to clean their room, would do it for them or leave it a mess to avoid the argument or hassle.
    We have some parents who "think" too which is always nice. I had a couple of parents like that last year. :) Their kids were well mannered and hard working. Imagine that!
     
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  35. limon

    limon Rookie

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    The kids I have the hardest time with are the ones whose parents call and shout or swear at me and tell me what a terrible person and teacher I am. Of course, they haven't met me. It's just what their kids tell them. Like someone said above, funny how some parents will believe their misbehaving kids over an adult. That is amazing.

    The sad thing is that these are the worst behaved kids who are not really learning. Other students don't like them and so then, who is the winner there? The good, quiet kids who are kind are also the ones learning and maturing into appropriate and balanced young adults.
     
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  36. Tired Teacher

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    Yeah, like any of us enjoy calling and meeting w/ a parent to inform them their child did something wrong! If they realized what a pain it was for us ...documenting, staying late, and dealing w/ "that" parent, we'd have to be insane to "LIE" just for the heck of it!
     
  37. 3Sons

    3Sons Enthusiast

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    The OP didn't make a statement regarding the parent's state of mind, and if the OP had then it would be clear how she knew (she'd actually communicated with the parent). It might be a biased perspective still, but at least there would obviously be something she'd based it on. I'd only "correct" the OP if there were an internally inconsistent statement, which I don't see.

    Let's also be clear: similarly to the way the child was not "punished" by being talked to, I did not "correct" you by asking you how you know the parent's state of mind.
     
  38. TeacherNY

    TeacherNY Phenom

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    If they admit their kid screwed up then they would have to admit THEY screwed up in parenting the kid. They don't want to do THAT!
     
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