One of the toughest challenges faced by many teachers involves working with Helicopter Parents. Usually, teachers encounter Helicopter Parents during parent-teacher conferences. Learning how to handle these conferences can help teachers ensure a positive outcome for everyone involved.
Although they do it out of great love, these parents cripple their children by hovering over them and rescuing them from the consequences of their actions. Unwittingly, they also sabotage their children’s learning by criticizing teachers for expecting too much out of their kids.
We’ve seen countless Helicopter Parents transformed by skillful, patient teachers. Here are some helpful tips for building relationships with such parents so that everybody wins:
- Remember that parents who look angry and resistant are usually hurting inside.
- When we remember this, it becomes much easier to avoid being defensive or angry ourselves.
- The most powerful skill involves listening and allowing parents to vent about their frustrations—before sharing our ideas.
- “Tell me more.” “What would you like to see here?” “How long have you felt this way?” These are great responses to show parents how much you care, and they are open-ended questions that will encourage them to talk.
- Share your ideas only after making sure that the parent is ready. You can ask, “Would you like to hear my thoughts on this?” This is a good way of showing respect and testing to see if they are ready to listen.
NOTE: These ideas also work great with angry spouses!
Thanks for reading!