Teachers and school administrators work hard just to keep up with the challenges of teaching children and young adults, but part of the job is also to communicate with, and work with parents as partners.
Unfortunately, often because parents care so much about their children, they interact with school staff in angry, emotional and even aggressive ways. That costs teachers and principals even MORE time spent away from student oriented tasks, not to mention the stress of dealing with unreasonable demands, personal insults, and even harassment by parents and community members.
Teachers aren't taught in teacher education how to deal with these situations. This book maps out in detail, how to turn around difficult emotional conversations with parents.
Below is a chapter by chapter synopsis so you can determine for yourself whether this book is for you.
Chapter 1 begins with some quotes from teachers and school administrators who share some of their frustrations at the demands made upon them by parents. Since there's two sides to every story, you'll also see some of the common gripes parents have about interacting with school staff.
Later in the chapter the importance of parents and school staff working together is highlighted, around the central reality: It takes a village to teach a child, and you'll learn why it's not only good for the children when everyone works together, but that there's a number of practical positive outcomes for school staff to be more effective with communicating with even the most difficult parents.
You can't improve your communication with difficult parents without understanding where angry and emotional behavior "comes from", since the techniques in this book capitalize on the Psychology of angry and difficult behavior. In this chapter, you'll find some definitions that make the distinction between angry behavior and manipulative, and abusive behavior since they need to be dealt with differently.
We look at why verbal abuse is so common in adults, consider the issue of adults acting like children, and explain the origins of destructive communication patterns. We also look at the idea of "automatic scripts", since many of our techniques to stop destructive communication rely on disrupting the "tapes" that run off in people's heads.
You'll also learn about the psychological needs emotional parents and community members have, when they are angry, since these are crucial in improving home-school communication.
You'll learn the importance of timing and that not only does a constructive conversation depend on WHAT you say, but WHEN you say it, when emotions run high. You'll learn about the CARP system for communicating in emotional situations, plus the twelve essential principles you must use when dealing with emotionally upset or difficult parents.
How can you keep your cool, and "not take" insults, or negative parental comments personally? They ARE personal, so in this chapter you will learn some techniques to use to improve your own self-control in tough and emotional situations. We go beyond the "don't take it personally" advice, and tell you HOW to not take it personally.
If you start off a conversation badly, particularly with someone who's emotions are running high, it's very hard to fix the conversation. In this chapter you'll find eight tactics to use to get conversations off on the right foot, including the importance of building rapport with parents.
The power of language is really amazing. Very small changes in what you say, the words you choose, and how you say things can make a huge difference between creating difficult, emotional conversations with parents, and much easier, shorter, and more constructive ones. In this chapter you'll learn how to make these small changes, and to avoid "throwing gasoline on the fire" in emotional situations.
Verbal self-defense techniques are designed to encourage parents to listen to you even if they are emotional or angry. Based on martial arts principles of Aikido and Jiujitsu, these verbal tactics that you can learn easily are proven to shorten difficult and crucial conversations and get others to listen. Thirteen tactics are included.
Acknowledgement tactics may be familiar to you because they include listening and empathy type statement. We cover these in this chapter, but in a way that's different than you may have come across before. Learn to use these powerful techniques PROPERLY!
What do you do when a parent of taxpayer gets "in your space? Find out how to handle this awkward situation with finesse, and without calling attention to the interpersonal space violation. Also, we talk about how to handle people who use their physical presence to put you off balance.
Learn to take advantage of the "status" of others in your organization to defuse difficult situations, and how to pass on a parent to someone else without "passing the buck". An often under used tactic. Covers referral to the Principal, or to a colleague.
You know all about time outs with children, but here we talk about modifying them to work with adults and parents. It's called disengaging, and allowing parents time to reflect, and even apologize when their behavior has gone "over the line".
You want to create a climate where you and a parent can work together to problem solve, and that requires some negotiation skills, exchanging information, and defining each other's position and what's important. That's what's in this chapter.
What do you do when interacting with a parent who is so angry, or abusive that there's no hope of progress unless his or her behavior changes? In this section we talk about what to do when a parent strays over your "civil line", or when the conversation is clearly going nowhere. You'll notice that the approach here is a bit different than standard assertive advice. It's an important chapter.
Principals, superintendents and managers and supervisors play crucial roles in supporting line staff -- teachers, support staff in dealing effectively with parents. This chapter provides tactics to use to teach, tutor and lead school staff to interact more effectively with parents.
These days a lot of communication between home and school happens via email and phones, so we've included a chapter that explains when and how each medium should be used.
Educational staff often participate in various group events, doing speeches and presentations, but they also meet with more than one other person at a time (e.g. two parents). When you have additional people present the dynamics change. In this chapter you'll learn how to deal with incidental audiences and bystanders to conversations, and how speak to difficult groups who may resist the message or information you have to deliver. Powerful techniques, and essential, particularly for administrators who do group presentations.
Now that you've finished the book, what comes next? Here you'll find tips and suggestions about transferring what you've learned to your work, so the tactics and skills become second nature -- new and constructive habits.
This book is available in three formats: In Print, in Kindle format readable on any device that supports the free Amazon Kindle reader software, and in instantly downloadable and printable PDF format.
Print and Kindle versions are available now.
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