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Handling difficult parents. How should you deal with it?

Being a teacher is not only about teaching, since school actively engages parents. Managing parents is one of the big parts of being a great teacher.

It is very common these days to hear from principals, teachers and from those who work in the field of education to hear that it is very difficult to handle parents. Dealing with difficult parents is impossible for any educator to escape. It is sometimes necessary for teachers to make difficult decisions and parents may pose challenge to those decision, especially when it comes to discipline and exams. But it becomes the duty of the teacher to communicate with the parents to keep them abrest with the child’s progress in school.

Types of difficult parents:

Disengaged parents:

Parents who are difficult to engage, who don’t support their children with homework, activities, or attend parents-teachers meeting. Some disengaged parents send their children irregularly and are not punctual.

Upset or angry parents:

Parents have the right to show their emotions when their reasonable expectation have not been met. Sometimes, parents dwell on unnecessary expectation to be fulfilled by administrations, staffs and teachers.

Unreasonable parents:

Some parents question why their child should do their homework, while some expect for good grades even though the child hasn’t met the standard. Unreasonable parents have perspective that doesn’t match with the school’s decorum.

Aggressive parents:

Some parents believe that a child can progress academically if they showcase their violent side to their children, thus forcing them even without realising the children’s capacity. Such aggressive behaviour creates difficulties for children at home.

Over involved parents:

Some parents involve way too much than what is required for the well- being of their children. Over-involved parents are continuously after child’s homework, behaviour, grades, etc. and leave no space. Even at school, they are after the teachers and enquire why, when and how of everything.

Effective ways to deal with difficult parents

Teachers can be more effective at dealing with difficult parents if they follow the following ways:

Understand there are types of parents:

Teachers must understand that, like children, parents also come from different socio-economic background. They have different personalities and traits. Some parents are over-involved while some are least interested. Thus, teachers must find ways to communicate and use diplomacy to resolve any issues. Flexibility is the key for teachers to deal with parents.

Setting expectation

Parents often have the tendency to question teacher’s grading if the student tends to fail or meet their expectations. Teachers must inform parents about rules and regulations for grading, discipline, attendance, etc. at the beginning of session to avoid confusions. This will help outline boundaries between parents and teacher’s expectations.

Avoiding surprises

The most important thing that teachers must avoid is keeping information from parents. Make sure that parents are informed about child’s performance in school. If the child is not doing homework or has learning problems, it must be conveyed at the earliest so that both parents and teachers can work together for the child’s progress.

Saying no to manipulation

Sometimes parents may ask teachers to change the grades or marks even though their child doesn’t fulfil the required criteria or standards. Parents try to manipulate teachers, but teachers must adhere to professional ethics.

Controlling temper and keeping cool

In the race of competition, parents often feel frustrated and need space to vent out. Teachers can act as a consoler and influence their negative thoughts by pointing out the positive side of their child. In these situations, teachers must not combat or escalate their temper they may lead to more complications.

When teachers deal with difficult parents, they must maintain decorum. Teachers must find a way to communicate or reach out to parents in order to help the student. Teachers must avoid being personal and understand the parent’s perspective.

Building relationship

The job of teachers become easier if they build relationship with parents. Especially in difficult situation, if the parents are on same page the job becomes more effective.

If the task of handling parents goes well, the rest of the things become easier to manage. This will also help in a smooth parent-teacher-school relationship, in-turn helping the children and their performance.


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