Teacher Well-Being Series : Pushing Back on Pushy & Demanding Parents
Going beyond communicating what parents want to hear
Failing to jump from teacher of students to leader of parents, teachers can often find themselves in unfamiliar and unwanted roles acting as unqualified counsellors, coaches, mentors and confidantes to emotionally needy parents.
Making the same mistake with pushy and demanding parents, teachers can fall into the trap of overpromising and taking ownership of issues over which they have no authority or ability to influence.
Over the last 2 decades our research reveals the strategic objective of most teachers when establishing relationships with parents and when interacting with them is to be liked; the primary objective in difficult parental situations is to get out of the conversation being liked, and the two most common tactics deployed are agreement and deflection. Rather than pulling parents into the important world of teaching, learning and progress, this cocktail emboldens parents to pull teachers into their domestic affairs, trials and tribulations.
Using meta-cognitive strategies and easily deployed tactics and approaches, every teacher can confidently and easily switch from teacher to leader and find the sweetspot where challenging and unreasonable parents become influenceable. Achieving this is the basis for progressing outcomes for many learners, and for many teachers, it’s the basis for higher levels of joy and engagement, self-efficacy and well-being.
If you’re seeking professional learning for your staff or leaders focusing on well-being, teacher leadership and advancing outcomes for learners, this focus area might be part of the solution you’re seeking.