When you have to talk to a parent about a child’s behavior, it can be a sticky situation.
You’ve obviously not reached this point easily. It has probably taken repeated instances of acting out by the student to push you to involve his parents. You don’t want to escalate things to draw parent’s attention to their child’s behavior but you have to when the behavior of a child keeps others in the class from learning.
Here are several points to remember when you have to have this conversation:
Point #1: It is about the child – not the parent.
Parents will likely be embarrassed, shocked, angry and anxious. So be ready to accommodate those feelings. Use language that will help them understand that this isn’t about them and their parenting skills. It is about their child and what is best for him.
Make sure they understand that you’re bringing this up so that you can figure out how to handle the child’s issues and help him to interact better with instructors and be a better participant in the class. This will also help him to learn more from the class.
Point #2: Be a partner with the parents in helping them to help the student. Never approach this in an adversarial way but in a way that creates a partnership that will do nothing but help the student.
Point #3: Keep the lines of communicate open with parents. Communicating the progress the student makes is absolutely critical to the partnership you’ve created to help the student. It will also show the student that everyone cares about him and how successful he is in learning.
Point #4: Show the student that he is responsible for his actions in class. He is being held accountable by his parents and by his instructors.
Point #5: Support the parents and they will reciprocate. If you are communicating with parents about their children’s behavior, you will be aware of how they are handling it at home. They will also be aware of how you’re handling this behavior in class. That makes it easy to support each other and give the child consistent guidance regardless of where he is.
Point #6: Recognize the home situation of your student. Gain an understanding of their family situation from the parents. Don’t depend on the version the student retells. This will help you in supporting their methods of handing the behavior outside of your organization.
As you work through behavioral issues with parents, you cannot reiterate the basis for your conversation enough. You are concerned about the best interest of the child and working with him and the parents to make his learning experience better. Always keep your cool and be a partner and a problem solver and everything will work out for the best.