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How to Handle Hard-to-Handle Parents

How to Handle Hard-to-Handle Parents

Edited by:

September 2009 | 136 pages | Corwin
'What a great book! Have to say, what a refreshing change to read a book written by someone who truly understands the subject they are writing about. Someone who can offer practical advice and strategies that can be used by staff working on the front-line. This book would be an asset to both new staff and those who have many years experience. I speak as the latter and any book which makes you question your own practice is welcome' - Rosemary Michael, Parental Support Adviser, Luton, UK

'As a school administrator and teacher, I have learned that parents are our most valuable asset. This book provides tremendous lessons to help school personnel maximize this priceless resource and positively impact the lives of students and families. Thank you, Marlyn, for a wealth of ideas and strategies for parents and teachers across the nation!' - Lindsey Pollock, Principal

Houston Independent School District, TX

Discover strategies for positive partnering with all parents - even the difficult ones!

This must-have resource helps educators work effectively with all parents, even the most difficult ones, and prevent problems before they happen. Maryln Appelbaum offers targeted strategies, solutions, and skills to establish positive and harmonious relationships with all parents, overcome adversity, enhance the home-school connection, and boost student performance.

How to Handle Hard-to-Handle Parents helps develop specific skills for communicating with all parents, including parents who are difficult, angry, overprotective, or overbearing. Packed with sample forms, letters, scenarios, and vignettes, plus techniques for involving families whose first language is not English, this guide helps educators:

- Establish relationships with parents of all backgrounds

- Recognize, and work with, characteristics of difficult people

- Be proactive in getting parents to cooperate and follow through at home

- Conduct expert parent conferences

- Handle all types of parents, including "Know-It-All's", "Blamers", "Helicopter Parents", and more

Indispensable for teachers, school leaders, counsellors, and all educators, this will become a much-referenced resource for building cooperative parent-teacher relationships that positively impact students' academic success.

List of Figures
About the Author
1. How to Reach Parents and Prevent Problems Before They Happen
The Changing Face of Families

What Parents Want From Teachers

Reasons Parents Do Not Come to School

Prevent Problems Before They Happen

Making Diverse Groups Feel Welcome

Opening the Doors to the School for All Families

2. About Hard-to-Handle People
What Is a Difficult Person?

Characteristics of Difficult People

The Six "Nevers" With Hard-to-Handle Parents

Five Ways Parents Can Make You Lose Your Cool and How to Choose Healthier Responses

3. How to Handle the Hard-to-Handle Parent: Strategies for Success
The Right Way to Say No

The Opposite Response for Parents Who Are Negative and Argumentative

Repetition Response

Don't Get Sidetracked

Agree With the Person


Use the Mirror Response


How to Handle Angry Parents

The Nine-Step Intervention

4. How to Handle Parents With Bad Attitudes
How to Handle the "Know-It-All"

The "Blamer"

The Defensive Parent

The "Helicopter" Parent

The "Negative Cynical" Parents

The "Backstabber"

The Parent Whose Child "Does No Wrong"

Parents Who Think You Are Not Fair

Parents Who Are Extremely Angry

5. Listening Skills for Hard-to-Handle Parents
The Communication Process

Power Listening

Once the Door Has Been Opened

The Greatest Gift

6. How to Talk so Parents Listen
Five Styles to Manage Frustration and Anger

Keys to Being Assertive

Power Request

Power Persuasion

Practice Makes Perfect

7. Parent Conferences: An Ounce of Prevention That Prevents a Pound of Problems
Set the Scene: The Focus Factor

The Conference

Key Points to Enhance Conferences

The Five-Step Approach to Telling Parents Negative News Checklist

8. Parents as Partners: Enhancing Collaboration and Teamwork
Forming the Partnership: A Collaborative Relationship

How to Get Parents to Follow Through at Home


A Parent's Plea to Teachers


“One of the major strengths of this book is the warm and personal tone used to make important information accessible. The anecdotes and examples bring the ideas to life and make them easy to understand. The overall organization is clear and logical, with a sharp focus on the idea that parents and teachers are partners.”

Maryann Marrapodi, Chief Learning Officer
Teachscape, New York City, NY

"Not all parents are 'hard to handle,' but the author does an effective job of providing some crucial skills for working with parents in a classroom setting. She does a very effective job in providing examples and stories that help teachers relate."

Raynice Jean-Sigur, Professor of Early Childhood Education
Kennesaw State University

“This book definitely addresses answers for educators who want to commit to reaching their students’ families in different ways.”

Renee Ponce-Nealon, Kindergarten Teacher
McDowell Elementary School, Petaluma, CA

“In my experience as a school administrator and teacher, I have learned that parents are our most valuable asset. This book provides tremendous lessons to help school personnel maximize this priceless asset and thus positively impact the lives of students and families. Thank you, Maryln, for a wealth of ideas and strategies for all parents and teachers across the nation!”

Lindsey Pollock, Principal
Houston Independent School District, TX

"A valuable resource for teachers, with user-friendly checklists, forms, and suggestions for improving active home-school participation. It provides useful advice for fostering healthy communication across all settings."

Lauren Levin, social worker
NSSED, Highland Park, IL

Sample Materials & Chapters


Chapter 1

For instructors

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ISBN: 9781412964418

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