Handling Pushy Parents Pleasantly

Parents want their children to be successful. Most parents work with their children and the teacher to achieve that goal. Not every parent understands how the process works and they tend to come across as pushy parents. It is something every teacher needs to be equipped to deal with because, at some point in, every teacher has to deal with pushy parents.

What is a pushy parent? Parents that want to monopolize a teacher’s time without regard to his obligations at the moment. They may drop in just before class starts, during the day or as you are dismissing. They have strong ideas on how your classroom should be run or what their child needs you to do and they want to share their knowledge with you. The facts are that most pushy parents just want what is best for their child and they want to make sure the teacher know just what that the child needs to succeed. They may even have some great ideas, but, as the professional, the teacher cannot allow others, however well-meaning, to take over the classroom. The best way to deal with a pushy parent is for the teacher to be prepared the parents enter the scene.

Set expectations for all of your parents. While others just seem to know, pushy parents may need to be taught what to expect when they deal with the teacher. Teachers must re-enforce their words with their actions. It is important for her to be consistent, but kind. Rules must be established, not only for the classroom, but also for parents.  Firm guidelines and procedures that the teacher is willing to implement without fail should be established. Parents need to be aware of the set hours that are available for conferencing with parents with an understanding that the teacher is not available to talk to parents outside of those boundaries, especially if it will interfere with the educational process. Preparing for a class is as important as teaching the class. Education is the business of educating children.

Awareness is half of the battle; the other half will be fought as when teachers have to remind and re-remind parents about conference procedures.Before the new school year begins, parents should receive a friendly letter that establishes a teacher’s procedures and schedule.  They need to know that the teacher is not available just before school begins unless he has no students the first period. Again, it is important that the teacher be consistent by not allowing imposing conferences to take place. Instead, an alternative conference time or phone call time should be arranged. It is important for parents to know that their child’s teacher does have time for them.

Pushy parents should learn, through the teacher’s action, that the teacher is a professional. Creating an aura of importance for the position of the teacher and what she does within the walls of the classroom helps them understand that time is valuable. Gently, the teacher should tell them that she are currently or about to be engaged in the act of education but she will be glad to either call them or meet with them at a mutually agreeable time.

At the appointed time, the teacher should listen to the parent’s issue without interrupting them; he should let them explain their situation until they are done talking. Sometimes, pushy parents just need to be heard. Considering their side of any problem, the teacher should analyze what the parents have to say and respond thoughtfully. When possible, he should accommodate the parent’s wishes. If it is not possible, he should tell them so and explain why. When pushy parents become unreasonable parents, it is important to end the conversation and schedule another appointment with a witness, either another teacher or the school principal. 

The California Educator suggests that teachers become approachable. Many parents are intimidated by teachers. Find a volunteer position that is non-threatening to the parent and ask them to help. Regular interaction with teachers help parents see that parents are not only approachable, but they will see the interest the teacher the students in the room. Volunteer positions can be in the classroom or in helping with fundraising.  

Patience and professionalism are the two more important items to put in your “pushy parent” arsenal. While it won’t keep all pushy parents in check, it will work with the majority of them. Even though teacher stress has been on the rise with the increase in pushy parents, a prepared teacher will already know what to do.