I found this great book by Suzanne Capek Tingley called (aptly) How to Handle Difficult Parents: A Teacher's Survival Guide. In the book, she diagnoses different parent types and suggests strategies to deal with them. Some of the types include:
"Helicopter Mom, who hovers constantly, ready to whisk away any problem or inconvenience that might befall her child"
"Caped Crusader, who will stop at nothing to have that book eliminated from the curriculum."
"Pinnocchio's Mom, who believes that her child, unlike every other child in the univers, never ever tells a lie of any kind."
"The Intimidator who wants what he wants and wants it now."
Not to mention the Uncivil libertarians, Ms. "Quit Pickin on My Kid," No show's Dad, The Competitor and more. It's just like when you're teaching in the classroom, you need different methods to reach different people. This book will help you do that, and give you a few laughs in the process. Check out a sneak peak here
Looking for general conference tips? There is a helpful list of dos and don'ts by Barbara and Sue Gruber that might help. A brief rundown:
- Make it clear that "your goal is to help every child succeed."
- As with all criticism and assessment, be sensitive and mention the areas in which their child is successful along with the problems.
- Have documentation and specific examples to back up what you're saying.
- If a parent has a question you don't have an answer for, let them know you'll think about it and get back to them.
- Don't take abuse from anyone. If the meeting becomes uncivil, end it. Full list
Also - Use silence to your advantage and don't back down!
What are your tips and strategies for dealing with difficult parents? Share them in the comments section and/or take the poll on the right!