Are You a 'Difficult Parent'?
don't want to repeat the mistake that I see so many other parents making -
being too passive and uninvolved - but on the other hand, I don't want to
become a pest. What do some parents do that drive teachers crazy, and what do
teachers really like to see in involved parents?
The teacher's lounge in any school is a lot like a baseball
dugout or a newsroom: there's a lot of chatter going on. Teachers are only
human, and if they have had negative experiences with a parent, they will talk
about them with their colleagues. The last thing you and your children need is
for you to get labeled as someone who is hard to work with, unreasonable,
unpleasant and unfriendly.
Stacy DeBroff, parenting consultant and author (www.MomCentral.com), defines these
"difficult parents" that may help you recognize tendencies in yourself that you
want to keep under control:
Complainer: Nothing seems to
please this parent. She may call the teacher frequently with complaints, or
drop into the classroom to gripe. Often, she has an exaggerated overreaction to
what is really a minor problem.
Confrontational: This parent is
always cruising for a fight. A problem is never her child's fault, or her
fault: it's always someone else's, and she wants it fixed NOW.
due to insecurity or loneliness, a parent who micromanages her child's school
experience, even to the point of doing the child's homework, projects and
speeches, is actually telling both the child and the teacher that SHE can do it
better than THEY can.
mom or dad is childish and irresponsible - forgets to send the child's lunch,
forgets to send permission slips, comes late to pick up the child and always
has a sob story. A parent who leans too much on the teacher is not being
respectful. It's supposed to be a partnership between equals.
to Be Found. A ghost parent who never attends school functions, fails to return
phone calls or respond to the teacher's notes, and doesn't show up for
parent-teacher conferences, is also exhibiting disrespect and creating a lot
tougher row to hoe for the child.
highly competitive mom or dad who is living vicariously through the son's or
daughter's school career may put unfair pressure on a teacher to promote that
child at the expense of others.
busy these days, but some parents take on 'way more volunteer assignments in
and out of school, and either do a poor job or complain and stress out about
them so much that it makes it unpleasant for teachers, parents and students.
proverbial "kill a gnat with a brick" personality exaggerates problems that could be easily solved and
turns them into giant catastrophes, probably out of a need for significance and
excitement at the expense of the teacher's serenity.
Spy: gossips with
other parents behind the teacher's back, and may report to parent group
officials or the principal, making the teacher feel under attack.
On the other hand, here are some GOOD traits in parents
that teachers value:
Keeps a promise.
Keeps a confidence.
Considerate of time and feelings.
Easy to reach by phone or note; returns calls; attends
school events faithfully.
Humble and willing to do unprestigious "donkey work"
offstage, whatever the teacher needs.
the trait that bugs teachers the most is the dishonest parent, who believes his
or her child can do no wrong. Learn about more problem parents, and how
teachers are attempting to work with them, in the book, How to Handle Difficult Parents: A Teacher's Survival Guide, by
Suzanne Capek Tingley.