How to Handle Hard to Handle Parents


Maryln Appelbaum

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  • Front Matter
  • Back Matter
  • Subject Index
  • Copyright

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    List of Figures

    • Figure 3.1 The Nine-Step Intervention for Handling Angry Parents 46


    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


    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

    Kennesaw, GA

    Maryann Marrapodi

    Chief Learning Officer


    New York City, NY

    Renee Ponce-Nealon

    2005 NBCT/Kindergarten

    McDowell Elementary School

    Petaluma, CA

    About the Author

    Maryln Appelbaum is well known internationally as an outstanding authority on children, education, and families. She has master's degrees in both psychology and education and completed her doctoral studies in both education and psychology. She has worked as a teacher, an administrator, and a therapist and has been a consultant throughout the United States. She has written more than thirty “how to” books geared exclusively for educators and parents. She has been interviewed on television and radio talk shows and has been quoted in newspapers, including USA Today.

    She owns a seminar training company, Appelbaum Training Institute, with her son, Marty Appelbaum, and they and their speakers train educators all over the world.

    Maryln's influence impacts the entire globe with her thoughts for the day that go out daily to thousands of educators via e-mail. Her strategies have been successfully implemented in schools across the world. There is not a day that goes by that someone does not contact her at Appelbaum Training Institute to tell her “thank you.” Those thank-yous come from teachers, administrators, parents, and students whose lives have been impacted by Maryln.

    Maryln's books and talks are always packed with strategies for success. She is a positive, motivational, dynamic, caring, one-of-a-kind difference maker for the world.


    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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