How To Talk To a Student’s Parent in Crucial Moments

How To Talk To a Student’s Parent in Crucial Moments

As a teacher or principal you might be facing a lot of issues regarding children. A child hurting another child, two or more children getting into a fight, or verbally abusing their classmates etc. It becomes a critical situation and you need to tread carefully. It can also be a concern when you’re handling troublemakers who are in the habit of getting into fights and creating a ruckus.

It is true that educators have one of the toughest jobs. Shaping a child’s future is not an easy task and you educators do it with so much dedication. Some days children listen to you and it is a smooth sailing, while other days there are issues you need to handle and be extra patient.

For example a student has been injured, the parents are fuming and it’s complicated by the student’s own behavior. So what will you do? There are certain actions and guidelines that can prove to be beneficial in such situations.

The first and most important step is for the school and the authorities to own the problem. Accept what has happened and instead of covering it up, you should try to find a suitable solution. Aim to create a culture where students are safe and successful.

Acknowledge the past

A skill that goes by the acronym CPR – Content, Pattern, and Relationship is greatly helpful. It highlights the various aspects of a complicated problem.

  • Content – This is about an individual incident, like one student hurting the other.
  • Pattern – A recurring issue. For example, it can the school’s history to be casual or a second pattern can be checking for students on a regular basis.
  • Relationship – The impact of the incident on the overall relationship. In this case, it can be how much do parents trust you and the school, you respect and understanding for them.

You need to take responsibility for each aspect of the problem to solve.

Repair the Relationship

Indeed it will be hard to plan for the future, unless you start by building trust. A good way to start the process and rekindle the relationship is by apologizing for the incident. Given below are the elements that you need to take care of when framing an apology –

  • Admit to your past failures:- Keeping children safe is your fundamental duty, and sadly you failed in it. Don’t get caught up in the blame game. Even if you think the authorities are 30% responsible, say sorry for your part.
  • Apologize unequivocally :- Focus on your actions instead on noticing the parent’s reactions. You need to make them believe that such a thing will not be done again. Avoid giving any ifs and buts, simply say sorry and take full responsibility.
  • Pledge to fix the situation :- Make a promise that you’ll fix the situation and make sure kids will get a supportive, creative, and encouraging atmosphere
  • Back up your words with action :- These actions should be intended to mend the relationship and strengthen it. Think of making a positive impact and making a sacrifice. For example –
  • Ego Sacrifice :- Admit your failings in public and reassure the parents that you’re working towards the betterment of the children.
  • Time sacrifice:- Demolish all deadlines and meetings until you get to solve this situation.
  • Money sacrifice :- Relocate budget from other priorities towards this problem if need be.
  • Priority sacrifice :- Push aside several other priorities and focus your complete attention on this current situation.
  • Don’t assume your apology will be enough :- Don’t use an apology to silence the other person. You should genuinely feel sorry and always remember that the hurt party has no obligation to accept your apology.

Establish mutual purpose

You need to involve the parents in the solution and use a common ground to build a future plan.

Expand this purpose

When you’re representing the school there are several stakeholders you are answerable to. You cannot allow a single student or parent to overpower the situation. Establish goals that set standards in these areas of mutual purpose.

Identify crucial moments

Identify the triggers that can cause problems – time, people, places, and circumstances when your goal of peace and safety is at risk. Make sure the particular student or their parent are involved directly.

Create and implement solutions

Determine best practices that are in the interest of everyone. Use training, coaching, and mentoring to make sure these solutions are put into practice.

Handling critical situations can be tough, but you need to assess the problem and move accordingly.

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