How to Handle Hard to Handle Parents
Publication Year: 2009
Establish cooperative relationships with all parents—even the most difficult ones—by using the author’s proven communication strategies, supported by sample forms, letters, scenarios, and vignettes.
- Front Matter
- Back Matter
- Subject Index
- Chapter 1: How to Reach Parents and Prevent Problems before they Happen
- The Changing Face of Families
- What Parents Want from Teachers
- Reasons Parents Do Not Come to School
- Prevent Problems Before they Happen
- Making Diverse Groups Feel Welcome
- Opening the Doors to the School for all Families
- Chapter 2: About Hard-to-Handle People
- What Is a Difficult Person?
- Characteristics of Difficult People
- The Six “Nevers” with Hard-to-Handle Parents
- Five ways Parents Can Make you Lose your Cool and how to Choose Healthier Responses
- Chapter 3: How to Handle the Hard-to-Handle Parent: Strategies for Success
- The Right Way to Say “No”
- The Opposite Response for Parents who are Negative and Argumentative
- Repetition Response
- Don't Get Sidetracked
- Agree With the Person
- Use the Mirror Response
- How to Handle Angry Parents
- The Nine-Step Intervention
- Chapter 4: How to Handle Parents with Bad Attitudes
- How to Handle the “Know-it-All”
- The “Blamer”
- The Defensive Parent
- The “Helicopter” Parent
- The “Negative Cynical” Parent
- The “Backstabber”
- The Parent whose Child “Does No Wrong”
- The Parent who thinks you are not Fair
- The Parent who is Extremely Angry
- Chapter 5: Listening Skills for Hard-to-Handle Parents
- The Communication Process
- Power Listening
- Once the Door Has Been Opened
- The Greatest Gift
- Chapter 6: How to Talk so Parents Listen
- Five Styles to Manage Frustration and Anger
- Keys to Being Assertive
- Power Request
- Power Persuasion
- Practice Makes Perfect
- Chapter 7: Parent Conferences: An Ounce of Prevention That Prevents a Pound of Problems
- Set the Scene: The Focus Factor
- The Conference
- Key Points to Enhance Conferences
- The Five-Step Approach to Telling Parents Negative News
- Chapter 8: Parents as Partners: Enhancing Collaboration and Teamwork
- Forming the Partnership: A Collaborative Relationship
- How to Get Parents to Follow through at Home
- A Parent's Plea to Teachers
Copyright © 2009 by Corwin
All rights reserved. When forms and sample documents are included, their use is authorized only by educators, local school sites, and/or noncommercial or nonprofit entities that have purchased the book. Except for that usage, no part of this book may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
How to handle hard-to-handle parents / Maryln Appelbaum.
“A Joint Publication with the Appelbaum Training Institute.”
Includes bibliographical references and index.
ISBN 978-1-4129-6440-1 (cloth)
ISBN 978-1-4129-6441-8 (pbk.)
1. Parent-teacher relationships—United States. 2. Interpersonal conflict. 3. Conflict management. I. Appelbaum Training Institute. II. Title.
This book is printed on acid-free paper.
09 10 11 12 13 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
Acquisitions Editor: Jessica Allan
Editorial Assistant: Joanna Coelho
Production Editor: Veronica Stapleton
Copy Editor: Tomara Kafka
Typesetter: C&M Digitals (P) Ltd.
Proofreader: Jennifer Gritt
Indexer: Molly Hall
Cover Designer: Anthony Paular
Graphic Designer: Karine Hovsepian
List of Figures[Page v]
Over the years, I have seen Maryln Appelbaum many times speak to audiences on how to handle hard-to-handle people. Her audience members sit transformed as she teaches them the reasons difficult people are difficult and the crucial skills necessary to handle them. The highlight of each session is always a live demonstration on how to handle a difficult parent. I have never seen another speaker do this type of demonstration. Maryln invites the audience to think of the most difficult parent they have ever had to work with and to share examples of what that parent did. Then she chooses the parent example that is the most difficult and invites the audience member who shared the example to come to the stage and pretend to be that parent. Maryln pretends to be the educator and demonstrates the skills to use. The person who is playing the role of the difficult parent always tries to stump Maryln by exaggerating the difficult parent's behavior. She has had parents who rage, complain, whine, and make unreasonable demands. There have been situations that have ranged from silly to dangerous. She always gets the person calm. She always talks to them in a way that they listen. She never allows the difficult person to dominate the situation. Maryln treats each situation with respect and dignity. All her audience members come away having seen in action how to handle hard-to-handle parents.
Maryln Appelbaum is my mother. We have worked together for the past twenty years. She walks her talk. She does this not only with audience members but in real life. This book is packed with the strategies that she teaches at workshops. They work for her. They work for me, and they will work for you. She makes handling hard-to-handle parents easy.
Marty Appelbaum, President of Appelbaum Training Institute[Page viii]
Thank you to my son and business partner, Marty Appelbaum. Thank you, Marty, for doing some work I normally do so I could take the time to write this book.
Thank you to our team at Appelbaum Training Institute. You all are a positive force working together to help make a difference in the lives of children and all those who work with them.
Special thanks to my editor, Jessica Allan. Jessica, your patience, your enthusiasm, and your valuable feedback made writing this book easier and better.
Special thanks to the others at Corwin who have been so supportive, most especially Allyson Sharp who is always a positive beacon of light for Corwin.
Additionally, Corwin gratefully acknowledges the following peer reviewers for their editorial insight and guidance:
Raynice Jean-Sigur, PhD
Associate Professor of Early Childhood Education
Kennesaw State University
Chief Learning Officer
New York City, NY
McDowell Elementary School
Petaluma, CA[Page x]
About the Author
I dedicate this book to all of the teachers and administrators in the world who work tirelessly to make a difference not only with children but with their families. I also salute the parents who make a difference. Even though this book is written about difficult parents, there are many parents who make educating their children such a pleasure. I also dedicate this book to all of you who work on behalf of children whether it is on television or radio programs or as authors of legislation impacting education. Here's to you all of you who are parents or are parent figures to children—to the special people in this world who
- Love tirelessly
- Plan for the future of children
- Share in the joys and in the sorrows of children
- Enjoy watching children grow and learn
- Make a difference for children in positive ways
This book is dedicated to you. Together, we all can build bridges to the future for children.
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