How does everyone deal with rude, disrespectful parents of the children in your classes?

Stephanie - posted on 08/11/2010 ( 22 moms have responded )

81

12

11

i just had a horrible day at work. i have a student whose parents complain about EVERYTHING, but they don;t just complain, no everything is the end of the world. they call the office, and talk to each administrator, they gripe and moan at me with a completely superior air I have never, in four years of teaching had a problem with a parent like this. i cried on my directors shoulder, in the bathroom, in front of my co workers and on the way home with my four year old in the car. i don't know if i;ll make it through the school year with this guy in my face all the time. he;s like a ticking time bomb!

MOST HELPFUL POSTS

Julie - posted on 08/14/2010

376

12

52

Invite the parent to come sit in your class. Seriously. Please sir come spend the week with me. That usually shuts them right up.
I remember having a parent screaming about a grade once would not let up so I passed he my gradebook( back before computers) and a pencil and said "here fill in what you think she should have"
she said "that aint what I am sayin"
I said "you most certainly are. You have not listened that she hasn't handed in work or come to class. You seem upset only that her grade is low. So go ahead give her the grade you want"
She shut up pretty quickly and quit yelling at me.

Nicole - posted on 10/09/2010

2

6

0

In my experience, the parents who complain the most are the ones with children who generally have behavior issues! Focus on you doing a good job and taking care of your students. Parents will be parents and as long you as you have director support, things will be fine.

Robin - posted on 08/23/2010

4

40

0

Try your best not to engage. Let phrases like, "I'm sorry you feel that way," lead the way. Good luck and hang in there.

Pamela - posted on 08/18/2010

4

15

0

All I can suggest is that you document document document and then document some more. Ask your administration to proof your email or notes home documenting incidents and include in the document the purpose of the note email etc. is to inform of the facts surrounding the incident... include without other student's names.... always always stay with the premise "I cannot discuss ANY OTHER student's behavior or the discipline administered to them, however I will discuss YOUR student's behavior... then always hold to and follow to the student who is whining, caring on..when they act out... Especially if they are getting upset and there is no basis for it...they need to be thinking for themselves how to solve this with correct passion and emotions..." What did you do? What should you have been doing? What could you do instead of...What can you do to prevent this from occurring again?" Then you might want to consider having the student sign your note or include the student's agreement to what you state as having happened as being what did happen...That worked for me....

Jill - posted on 11/05/2010

3

76

0

I have had a few instances just like this... it's really annoying. I've learned to just turn the tables on them. I speak in TEACHER speak, and throw a bunch of acronyms at them and see how they react to it. Hopefully, your administrators are on your side!! Then you just have to make sure you protect yourself with all kinds of ammo... DOCUMENT EVERYTHING, ask them if you can record conversations, CC admin on every email, and NEVER, EVER answer emails or phone messages immediately if they've angered you... give yourself time to reflect and think. These parents come and go... ASK them to come in and observe how you do things...but let them know a time limit and to not interrupt you while you're teaching. It takes a lot of work, but email them with updates every single day. Update your website with weekly objectives and spelling words, etc... REALLY give him a REASON to complain. Soon enough, they'll get bored with bullying you. I had a parent at the beginning of THIS year who refused to believe that her child was acting up in class. I had both administrators and the counselor come in and observe this child and write down EVERYTHING he was doing. I even invited them to SNEAK up on us and look at him through the door to watch him. Then I called a parent meeting and started it with, "I don't call meetings unless I'm truly concerned and care for a child, and really care about your child and his success." His mom immediately loosened up and calmed down and got rid of the chip on her shoulder she had... especially when they all shared their observations and they were a true testament of what I had been telling her all along. The mom ESPECIALLY cooled off when I mentioned that I struggle with my own child's strong-willed behaviors. That's when his dad chimed in and said, "Well he does have his mother's temper." We now communicate every single day whether he's having a good day or a bad day! They sneak up on him frequently just to make sure he's doing what he's supposed to do. DO NOT LET A PERSON BULLY YOU INTO THINKING YOU ARE A BAD TEACHER! They have NOT done our job and MOST LIKELY wouldn't do it very well! But cover all of your bases, and they will have NOTHING to complain about...some parents just do not have enough to do!

If you see this, leave this form field blank.
Powered by RESPECT not THUMPS

22 Comments

View replies by

Darby - posted on 11/03/2010

11

24

2

Chin up, Steaphanie! This is going to be a big battle of will for you! Be the bigger, more educated, and respectful person and kill 'em with kindness! I understand this is so much easier to say than to implement, but you can do it!

Angela - posted on 10/27/2010

23

46

1

Its hard to deal with rude and disprectful parents. I just let it go in one ear and out the other. I know that I am a good teacher. Most parents complain and gripe because they are feeling quilty for not being good parents. They are trying to find someone to blame for the short comings. If their child misbehaves, they want to blame everyone, even the classroom environment for the misbehavior. Heaven forbid, they are lacking parenting skills. Don't let any parent bring you down. I am sure that you are a great teacher and you do your job well. Good Luck with the rest of the school year.

Christine - posted on 10/27/2010

35

17

3

Always have an administrator sit in on meetings. When I had problems I met face-to-face with parents - they get tired of coming in. Document specific incidents, outline expectations, repeat those expectations as often as possible, and stick to your principles. Reply unemotionally and never feel inferior. You are an educated, dedicated teacher. Make a list of the positive comments from others and read that over to yourself whenever you feel down. No one has the right to make you feel bad about yourself.

Marilynn - posted on 09/13/2010

30

53

0

Ugh! This is why we get the "big bucks"- ha ha. I'm sorry- it's not fair but do what we all do- smile and be respectful.

Myishea - posted on 09/13/2010

8

20

0

Set clear cut boundaries and call it a day. Have a specified time or office hours that he can come in all other times are off limits. Ask for support from your administrators, if they are not willing to help you, a little time off would be good for everyone. (Paid leave stress induced time).

Becky - posted on 09/06/2010

28

0

0

First of all, don't let him get to you. I've been teaching for 5 years and had to hang up on a parent for the first time last year because she was screaming at me over the phone. There are parents out there who think you can never do anything right because they don't understand that you have 20-something other students to take care of and teach, too. My advice (besides counting down until June) would be to have a meeting with your principal and this parent to discuss what it is that is bothering them. This way the principal knows exactly what is going on and you have a third party involved and someone who can "protect" you. You are there to teach the child what he/she needs to know, not to play referee with the parents.

Traci - posted on 09/06/2010

81

23

2

With 17 years under my belt I have had that issue more than once. I even was called a bi*** by a father in front of the office staff and his child. I'm going to say some stuff that has already been said and as a former union rep. I don't know if you can or do belong to a union or have the support of your administration so I'll presume you don't belong and do have the support (since she let you cry on her shoulder).



1. Document, document, document. If you send something home, copy it.



2. Never, ever meet with these people on your own and I would go so far as to say your admin be present and if you feel threatened have the police present. Understand I teach in a very large district where we have our own police force (South Florida) so I don't know your situation. With the parent I had issues with the police had to be involved.



3. If possible ask that the child be changed to another classroom. HOWEVER, this may cause issues with your co-workers if this parent is like this with all teachers.



4. Tape the meetings but let the parents know you are. Just explain that you want to make sure you don't leave anything out when you write the notes for the conference. That may cause him to be on his best behavior.



5. Breathe. You probably aren't the only person who bears the brunt of this person't unhappiness.



6. IF you belong to a union and you feel any concern about your job make them aware. If you wait and you see your job become threatened they have less of a chance to help you.



You don't really say why they are complaining. You also don't say if you've talked to prior teachers of this student. Nine times out of ten the challenging parents of students I have come across have been challenging to previous teachers. The biggest thing you need to remember is to protect your job. At four years you're a newbie so get a veteran teacher to help you through this. See if your school has mentor teachers for new teachers or if your district does.

Liz - posted on 08/27/2010

4

35

0

I'm not sure if it helps but I've been there! I have a parent who doesn't just stop at the administrators but automatically goes to our superintendent. It's insane! And it doesn't help as it makes it difficult to deal with her child but I take the time to slow down and make sure if it's a phone call or an e-mail, I take my time to respond. If it's a meeting I have EVERYONE there, NEVER NEVER NEVER do a meeting by yourself! And the hardest thing is to let it go when you leave BEFORE you get your child....on the bright side you'll only have this child and their parent's one year....this is year 3 for me and looking like at least 3 more....

Tricia - posted on 08/22/2010

2

12

0

If this parent isn't satisfied with the job you are doing, politely ask him/her to put in for a request to have the student transfer to another class. I hope your administration would be supportive of this

[deleted account]

In addition to what everyone else has offered, I might also suggest that ALL communication between you & this parent be witnessed by a third party. ALL emails should also include your principal, department chair, counselor, or someone else. All phone calls must be done conference call style, so that a third party can bear witness. Also, this parent must always be escorted on campus in order to avoid a personal confrontation. No teacher should ever be bullied by a parent, and this is what I am hearing from you. Your principal needs to protect you form harrassment in order for you to do your job. Good luck!

Carrie - posted on 08/22/2010

17

20

0

I've had to deal with such a parent. My administrator advised me to document EVERYTHING. I also did not immediately respond to his emails so I too could have some time to calm down. When it got really bad, I simply emailed him and said it was time to have a joint meeting with administration, him and I. As hard as it was, I always prefaced our conversations with "I understand you're upset" or "How can we work together to...". Lots of gritting of the teeth. It would have felt so good to tell him off, but in the end, I maintained my professionalism and happily sent the child and father on to Grade 2!!

Erika - posted on 08/21/2010

1

19

0

Do NOT take things personally! As long as you do what you need to do, and can back it up with documentation, you can keep a clean conscience. You cannot control what others do, you can only control how you react. It's not pleasant, but you need to stay professional, keep contacts short and concise (thank you for your voicing your opinion, I will consider your viewpoint) and DO NOT TAKE IT HOME! Treat such contacts like a mammogram--unpleasant & inevitable, but endurable. I have dealt with several such parents over the years, and keep my "professional & stoic face" on during contacts. They want to argue with you, so give only inarguable facts. Most of all, please do not take it personally. It will turn you into a giant ball of stress.

Colleen - posted on 08/20/2010

100

35

2

Make sure your principle, superintendent, etc. are aware of how upset this particular parent makes you. And one lesson I learned is that if a parent that is known to upset me contacts me, I would contact my mentor or principal to be in the meeting with me. If it's a phone call, I tell them that I would prefer not to discuss over the phone, as there are students in the class, we are between classes with not much time to give to them, etc. Every excuse in the book to make sure you are NOT alone with the parent so as to not give them the opportunity to make your job that much more difficult than it already it.
I'm sorry you have to deal with this...I had a few of those last year, and I'm hoping this school year is slightly different...good luck.

Tracy - posted on 08/20/2010

1

0

0

I agree with those saying that you have to document everything. With especially aggressive "advocating" parents, they have no clue or are in major denial over their child's "gifts". The best is to keep an anecdotal record of every exchange and consult with your administrator (if they are supportive) if things really get out of hand. Also, use email whenever possible. It is the best way to document the progression of the craziness.

Marlene - posted on 08/14/2010

75

52

6

I sometimes wish I had a video camera taping in my class... then I could show the parent exactly what's going on... and it's usually the worst behaved whose parents moan the most....
But seriously now, although time consuming... document every incident with the learner and the parents.. dates and exactly what happened or what was said, just to keep yourself covered. Good Luck :)

Tracey - posted on 08/12/2010

1

17

0

As long as you have an supportive administration and colleagues, you will get through the year fine. I think most of us have been in your situation and it is stressful not only to you but your family also, A good supportive group will help a long way...

Adrianne - posted on 08/11/2010

2

4

1

Try not to respond to their accusations defensively. Don't immediately respond if the complaints are in an email. Let the parent cool down for a few days, then address the gripes with facts about what you are doing to "fix" their problems. If they in any way attack you as a person, do not respond to those kind of attacks. Only address the issues that are about the classroom or teaching.

If you see this, leave this form field blank.
Powered by RESPECT not THUMPS

Join Circle of Moms

Sign up for Circle of Moms and be a part of this community! Membership is just one click away.

Join Circle of Moms