How to approach a parent about their child's misbehavior

By Erika Rivera 3 December 2019

Disciplining students and finding creative ways to help them stay academically engaged are not the only difficult duties that come with being a childcare teacher. In fact, setting up conferences with parents to discuss student behavior is one of the tasks most teachers think twice about mainly because of the fear of an altercation or the lack of support. Unfortunately, for a lot of parents, it's challenging to learn that their child is misbehaving as they tend to be in disbelief about their child’s behavior. This usually creates an atmosphere of tension for both the teacher and the parent, and when the situation escalates to high grounds, the teacher ends up attacked.

Fortunately, there are several approaches you can take to prevent an altercation and to ensure the parent keeps his or her cool when you call them up for a parent-teacher conference. Keep reading to learn what are the best approaches to take while discussing student behavior with a parent:

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Be kind and humble

Any mature conversation should always start with a greeting and a smile as it invites good energy and releases any tension that may be making its way to the scene. Just like there’s plenty of teachers who try and implement this, there are many who don’t. Being too serious or allowing your teaching position to get to your head could lead to an altercation that could heat the conference and even serve as proof that your attitude is unpleasant. This will definitely not help! And you could just be pushing the parent to the administrator’s office to make demands and request another teacher for their child. Don’t let this happen to you! Take a step back and let them feel that you care about their child’s best interests.

Inform the parents of the misbehavior and nothing else

One mistake teachers make during a conference is to voice their opinion about the student’s behavior or offer advice to help the parent address the situation. Don’t ever do that! You have set up a conference to discuss the misbehavior and nothing else. Many teachers tend to deviate from the purpose, and that creates a problem because parents will think you are lecturing them on how to discipline their kids. Keep your comments and opinions to yourself and focus on the purpose. You could also remember to implement this when you’re virtually communicating with them through Child Journal before a conference. Inform and make parents aware of the issue, nothing else.

Keep a friendly tone

Have you ever heard of the phrase ‘it’s not what you say, it’s how you say it?’ This expression makes a lot of sense, and it’s crucial to implement it when you’re going to say something about a child that is difficult for a parent to hear. So, adjust your tone so that the message doesn’t come across as hard or offensive to them. Remember that some parents have a hard time accepting that their kids are at fault, so don’t let your tone add to this fire and make sure you speak clearly, naturally and with confidence.

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Discuss how you’re addressing the behavior

During a conference, it’s always essential for the teacher to explain the methods he or she is implementing to address the behavior as it lets the parents know that the teacher is working to handle the problem. This not only informs the parents but also keeps them from assuming that you’re lazy and not doing anything to resolve the misconduct. Communicating your behavior methods lets parents see that you’re actively engaged and attempting to turn the problem around so that the misbehavior is not interfering with their child’s academic progress.

Setting up a conference with a parent to discuss student behavior can be intimidating if you’re not facing the meeting with confidence and strategy. Equip yourself with the proper tools by implementing these tips so that you can have a smooth and practical parent-teacher experience. And always remember to keep parents in the know of your methods by communicating with them through Child Journal. The useful features of Child Journal can come in handy when you want to involve the parents in their child’s activities. With the ability to record and upload photographs, parents can obtain footage of everything that is happening in their child’s day. Remember that as a teacher, you want to have evidence that can help you prove any claims you’re making in your conference. So, make sure Child Journal is the source you’re using to facilitate your parent-teacher meetings.