As both a teacher and a parent, Jessica Lahey has seen both sides of the parent-teacher wars. She has advice on how to give peace a chance. One suggestion:
Parents and teachers need to help children learn that adults won’t always fix their problems for them. Their teachers will respect them more for it, and it will help them learn how to gain control of their education and their world. Yes, even the little kids. It’s never too early to start, says Heidi McPherson, a kindergarten teacher from New Hampshire. “When a child runs up to me on the playground to complain about another student’s actions, my first question is always, ‘Did you talk to him about it yet?’ We teach kids to zip their own coats and tie their own shoes for a reason. Kids have to learn to gain control of themselves and their relationships.” If this communication fails, then it’s time to move on to a parent-teacher conference, and …
Commenter Jimm, a parent and late-in-life teacher, was shocked by the “parent from hell” stories told by his ed school professors.
Most parents from hell are hellish because they are worried about their child. In my experience, a teacher who is willing to stop, listen, and work with these parents rarely ends up a punching bag. Sometimes? Sure. But in most cases you have to recognize that the parent’s job is to advocate for his or her child. Your job is to listen, talk, and explain what you can and cannot do for the child — providing reasons.
When parents don’t advocate for their children, we the teachers blame them for being uninvolved. When they do, we complain about their interference. How can they (or the children) win?
There are lots more comments from parents and teachers.