Helicopter Parents Sample

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Assistance for educators in Dealing with Difficult Parents

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Helicopter Parents Sample

  1. 1. Working Cooperatively With Difficult Parents : What the Best Teachers Do Dr. Douglas J. Fiore [email_address] 06/09/09
  2. 2. What’s Wrong with Parents Today? <ul><li>We know the problems; now let’s discover the solutions. </li></ul>06/09/09
  3. 3. The Power of Paradigms <ul><li>A “paradigm shift” occurs when we begin to understand something in a whole new light. It’s like seeing with new eyes. </li></ul><ul><li>Behavior changes are short-lived. Paradigm changes last forever. </li></ul>06/09/09
  4. 4. Family Configurations <ul><li>In 1940, fewer than 9% of all women with children worked outside the home. </li></ul><ul><li>Recently, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that 82% of women with children between the ages of 6 and 16 were in the labor force. </li></ul>06/09/09
  5. 5. Family Configurations <ul><li>Of the 71,677,000 children under the age of 18 living in U.S. households in 2003, 17,634,000 or 24.6 % were living with only their mother (U.S. Bureau of the Census, 2004). </li></ul>06/09/09
  6. 6. Family Configurations <ul><li>Children from fatherless homes have been found to be less productive in school. </li></ul><ul><li>In addition: </li></ul>06/09/09
  7. 7. Family Configurations <ul><li>Girls who have positive paternal involvement are three times less likely to become teenage mothers. </li></ul><ul><li>Boys with involved dads are less likely to grow up unemployed, incarcerated, or uninvolved with their own children. </li></ul><ul><li>Kids with involved dads are less likely to drop out of high school. </li></ul>06/09/09
  8. 8. Family Configurations <ul><li>The U.S. Bureau of the Census (2004) reports that 5.6% of U.S. children under the age of 18 are living with their grandparents. 36% of these children have no parents present in this household. These 1,417,000 children have only their grandparents to rely on for care. </li></ul>06/09/09
  9. 9. Family Wealth <ul><li>In 2000, 14.8 million American children under the age of 18 lived in poverty (U.S. Bureau of the Census, 2004). </li></ul><ul><li>41 percent of children in families with a female head of the household and no husband present live in poverty. </li></ul>06/09/09
  10. 10. Family Wealth <ul><li>Children are, by most accounts, among the fastest growing segments of the homeless population. Families with children constitute approximately 40% of people who become homeless (Shinn and Weitzman, 1996). </li></ul><ul><li>In 2002, approximately 645,336 school-aged children were homeless. </li></ul>06/09/09
  11. 11. Books Purchased by Parents <ul><li>How Parents Can Save America’s Failing Schools by G.E. Pierce, 2002 </li></ul><ul><li>In The Name of Excellence: The Struggle to Reform the Nation’s Schools, Why It’s Failing, What Should be Done by T. Toch, 1991 </li></ul><ul><li>Failing Schools: The Cause and the Cure by D.M. Deeb, 1998. </li></ul>06/09/09
  12. 12. Books Purchased by Parents <ul><li>The Learning Gap: Why Our Schools Are Failing and What We Can Learn From Japanese and Chinese Education by H.W. Stevenson, 1994. </li></ul><ul><li>Angry Parents, Failing Schools: What’s Wrong With the Public Schools and What You Can Do About It by E.K. McEwan, 2000 </li></ul>06/09/09
  13. 13. And My Personal Favorite… <ul><li>Bad Teachers: The Essential Guide for Concerned Parents by G. Strickland, 1998 </li></ul>06/09/09
  14. 14. Why Must We Deal With Difficult Parents <ul><li>As school professionals, we are all “teachers.” It is up to us to help struggling parents become even better. </li></ul><ul><li>“ If I accept you as you are, I will make you worse; however if I treat you as though you are what you are capable of becoming, I help you become that.” - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe </li></ul>06/09/09
  15. 15. Why Must We Deal With Difficult Parents <ul><li>“ If a child sees his parents day in and day out behaving with self-discipline, restraint, dignity and a capacity to order their own lives, then the child will come to feel in the deepest fibers of his being that this is the way to live. If a child sees his parents day in and day out living without self-restraint or self-discipline, then he will come in the deepest fibers of being to believe that that is the way to live.” –M. Scott Peck </li></ul>06/09/09
  16. 16. Whose Expectations Matter? <ul><li>The Best Teachers Expect A lot From Themselves </li></ul><ul><li>It’s Easy To Have High Expectations For Students </li></ul>06/09/09
  17. 17. Mindsets for Working with Parents <ul><li>90+% of parents do a good job raising their children and supporting school. </li></ul><ul><li>100% of parents do the best job they know how to do. </li></ul><ul><li>These are the best parents our students have. </li></ul><ul><li>The students that come to our schools are the best children the parents have. </li></ul>06/09/09
  18. 18. Dealing with Difficult Parents <ul><li>Never argue, yell, use sarcasm, or behave unprofessionally with parents. </li></ul><ul><li>The key word in that sentence is </li></ul><ul><li>NEVER </li></ul>06/09/09
  19. 19. Why? <ul><li>There needs to be one adult, and the only person you can count on is you. </li></ul><ul><li>Difficult people have more practice arguing. </li></ul><ul><li>Core Belief- Never argue with an idiot! </li></ul><ul><li>We Control How Many Arguments We Get In </li></ul>06/09/09
  20. 20. Do Parents Feel Welcome? <ul><li>If we want guests to be happy and agreeable, then we need to make them feel welcome. </li></ul>06/09/09
  21. 21. How Do We Do This? <ul><li>Friendly greeting at the doorway! </li></ul><ul><li>Which is better: </li></ul><ul><li>“ All visitors must sign-in at the office.” </li></ul><ul><li>OR </li></ul>06/09/09
  22. 22. How Do We Do This? <ul><li>Welcome to our school! We’re so glad you’re here. We do require all visitors to check in at the office before proceeding to other areas of the school. </li></ul>06/09/09
  23. 23. Building Credibility <ul><li>Everybody Wants to Associate With a Winner. </li></ul>06/09/09
  24. 24. Building Credibility <ul><li>Perception is Reality </li></ul><ul><li>We might care deeply about our students and we may value the involvement of their parents. </li></ul><ul><li>However, what’s important is whether or not we make others feel as if we do. </li></ul>06/09/09
  25. 25. Communication is the Key <ul><li>Regardless of what we think of the parent, we must communicate regularly and purposefully. </li></ul><ul><li>We must always remain pleasant, positive, and professional. </li></ul>06/09/09
  26. 26. The Telephone Is Your Best Friend Unless It’s Ringing <ul><li>Positive Telephone Calls Build Credibility </li></ul><ul><li>Call The Parent At Work </li></ul><ul><li>If Both Work, Call the Busiest Office </li></ul>06/09/09
  27. 27. What If They Tell Us Not To Call Them At Work? <ul><li>With cooperative parents, we should always try to comply. </li></ul><ul><li>With our most difficult parents and students, calling them at work may be the only way to get their attention. </li></ul>06/09/09
  28. 28. Burn Me Once….. <ul><li>If you call a parent and the next day the other parent calls to argue……. </li></ul><ul><li>Call that parent FIRST next time. </li></ul><ul><li>It’s better to deal with a difficult parent on your own initiative. </li></ul>06/09/09
  29. 29. The Power of the Car Salesman <ul><li>Everybody wants a good deal. </li></ul><ul><li>More importantly, people like to feel that they’ve gotten a good deal. </li></ul><ul><li>Car Salespeople make us feel like they’re on our side. </li></ul>06/09/09
  30. 30. The Power of the Car Salesman 06/09/09
  31. 31. The Best Way to Get in the Last Word <ul><li>The best way to get in the last word is to </li></ul><ul><li>APOLOGIZE. </li></ul>06/09/09
  32. 32. How? <ul><li>Say, “I’m sorry that happened.” </li></ul><ul><li>You’re admitting no guilt. </li></ul><ul><li>You’re still supporting the school staff. </li></ul><ul><li>Under your breath you can say, </li></ul><ul><li>“ Otherwise, I wouldn’t have to be speaking with you about this!” </li></ul>06/09/09
  33. 33. An Ear, Not an Answer <ul><li>Oftentimes, difficult parents just need an opportunity to vent. A caring face and a listening ear can lessen the severity of another person’s anger. </li></ul>06/09/09
  34. 34. What If They’re Rude? <ul><li>We never tell an angry person what to do. </li></ul>06/09/09
  35. 35. What If They’re Rude? <ul><li>Say, “Please don’t talk to me like that.” </li></ul><ul><li>“ I would never talk to you like that.” </li></ul><ul><li>“ And, I would never talk to your child like that.” </li></ul><ul><li>“ Nobody in this school would ever talk to you or your child like that.” </li></ul>06/09/09
  36. 36. Focus on the Future <ul><li>Oftentimes, difficult parents want to argue about a situation that we know very little about. </li></ul><ul><li>In these cases, we must always focus on the future. </li></ul>06/09/09
  37. 37. Focus on the Future <ul><li>Example: “Mr. Johnson, unfortunately neither one of us saw what happened on the bus. Let’s work together to be sure that a situation like this one doesn’t happen in the future.” </li></ul>06/09/09
  38. 38. Dealing With Difficult Parents <ul><li>All school staff members must have these skills. </li></ul><ul><li>If there are some staff members who don’t, then YOU really need to. </li></ul>06/09/09
  39. 39. Working Cooperatively With Difficult Parents : What the Best Teachers Do <ul><li>Dr. Douglas J. Fiore </li></ul><ul><li>doug@dougfiore.com; 804-200-3772 </li></ul>06/09/09

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