Dealing with pushy parents as a teacher or school administrator takes patience, creativity and tact. When a teacher learns how to deal with pushy parents, the classroom will be at peace, the teacher will be less stressed and can effectively perform the duties of a teacher.
As a teacher, when you first identify pushy parents as such, you will need to develop strategy to deal with them. There may be only one pushy parent or both a students’ parents may be pushy. You must determine the best way to handle them and hopefully, a gentle reminder will help.
At the beginning of the year, when you send all the usual new school year forms home with students, send a notice home to parents that clearly explains the hours and days that you are available for parent visits or phone calls. Explain that no calls, except in case of dire emergency, will be taken during classroom hours because it disrupts the teaching process of their children. Additionally. explain to parents that all children are expected to hand in work in a timely manner and that you are looking forward to a wonderful year with their child(ren).
You will soon be able to identify the parents who care little or nothing at all about your notice or rules. You may then understand why certain children may seem to feel your classroom rules do not apply to them.
The narcissistic parent
The narcissist believes he or she is above everyone else, that rules are meant for everyone else, but do not apply to them. The narcissist should be first to be listened to and first to have their needs attended to. They want what they want and believe they are entitled to right now.
Therefore, your statement of rules governing when you are available to parents will mean nothing and you will receive phone calls and visits from these parents at the very hours you specified you are not available. This may be a deliberate act on the narcissistic parents’ part to intentionally defy your rules.
You must put on your coat of armor and stand your ground. If you make an exception once for the narcissistic parent, you will be making exceptions all year and find yourself stressed and beaten down. Kindly remind the narcissistic parent again of hours you are available and refuse to back down. You will most likely be threatened with how the parent is going to make you lose your job because of the way you treated the parent. It will not matter that you refused to talk to them during hours you specifically said you are not available.
Make sure you have let your principal and other necessary school administrators know of the parents’ unruly and defiant acts and statements. This will cover you because the administrators will already be prepared when the parent calls them or comes in to complain.
Parents who believe their child has been treated unfairly
Some children are not always truthful with parents regarding issues that occur at school. The teacher is mean; she does not like me; I didn’t do it. If the child is disciplined at school, it is important to make contact with parents as soon as possible, preferably before the day is out. Parents will then be aware of what happened before Johnny gets home and puts his dramatic spin on what actually happened at school.
When you contact parents in a timely manner when Suzy does not turn in her homework, repeatedly violates classroom rules, talks back or bullies other students, you are less likely to have to deal with pushy parents who only hear Suzys’ side of it and then her parents feel you are being unfair to their child.
If you still get complaints that a child has been treated unfairly, arrange a meeting with parents and make sure there is a senior teacher or school administrator present. You now have a witness to what is said in the meeting and the pushy parents cannot twist things around. With a witness they will probably be less likely to file a complaint.
Show the pushy parents the proof you have that Suzy is violating school rules as well as classroom rules. Make sure the pushy parents have a copy. Have them sign something that shows you met with them and the date. Incorporate it in the student’s permanent record.
When all else fails, enlist help from above
Some pushy parents will insist that you are wrong and may start yelling, cursing or threatening to call the school board to have you fired. It is very important that you enlist the help of school administrators who will then call the school board, or even police, if necessary, to report the parents’ inappropriate behavior.
In the case of a child who repeatedly violates rules, it is also important that you have a record of the violations and dates. This does not mean you document when Johnny drops his pencil on the floor. But when Johnny refuses to participate in class every single day, disrespects you or other students, talks back or bullies other students, you need to have documentation for your own protection.
When you try to deal with pushy parents at the beginning of the school year in a gentle manner and make it known to all parents what hours and days you are available to talk to or visit with them, there is less likely to be problems as the school year progresses.
When dealing with narcissistic parents, your rules will not matter and they may be more than you can handle or should handle by yourself. Enlisting another teacher or school administrator will help you be less stressed, will provide another source to back you up on school and classroom rules, and will provide you with a witness to what actually occurred when meeting with narcissistic parents who think your rules do not apply to them or their child.