Magazine article Times Educational Supplement

How Do I Build Bridges with Parents Who Won't Engage?

Magazine article Times Educational Supplement

How Do I Build Bridges with Parents Who Won't Engage?

Article excerpt

With enthusiastic parents, developing relationships can be easy. But what about the invisible parent, who shoots off as soon as they've picked up their child?

Start with the basic knowledge that the pupil in front of you is their child. They are the expert. For example, if the child is not behaving, it might be that the parent is struggling to cope, or they might not be experiencing such behaviours at home.

In such instances, don't make the assumption that it can't be true that the child only acts up in school. Instead, work with the parent, as the expert on their child, towards a solution for behaviour during school time.

Let's assume that the parent needs support, but is presenting a defensive attitude. Starting that relationship early is vital and informal discussion is good: greetings, active interest in their day, as well as sharing knowledge of their child.

Dare I say it, the parent may be worrying about whether or not they like their child. You'll be a lifeline if you make the distinction between their child and their child's behaviour. …

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