Sharing Worrisome Information with Parents of Young Children
It is difficult to disclose facts about a kid with their parents or guardians that can be viewed as unfavorable or concerning. There is also the risk of escalation, as parents or guardians may interpret the sharing of this information as an attack on their kids or themselves.
This information might include alerting them that their child has been aggressively bullying others, failing a class, or requires testing to assess any learning delays or impairments. In any event, communicating this information should be done with care and respect.
Time and Location
In most circumstances, any information that can create an adversarial or confrontational atmosphere should be discussed face to face with parents or guardians. Most schools will have a conference room available. This also provides extra space if other school officials, such as administration or counseling, need to be present or may be called in.
Second, selecting a time that is not stressful for either side is essential. Because schools often end earlier than the standard adult workday, it may be beneficial to plan a meeting before school. This is useful since it establishes an automatic finish time for the discussion once the school day begins.
Discussing the Problem (s)
When it comes time to address whatever information prompted the meeting, there are numerous rules to make efficient use of time while also taking into account the atmosphere. Some of the most important things to remember are:
- Concentrate on the main issue(s) at hand. Do not mention every incorrect activity or be concerned about a specific student. This overwhelms parents or guardians with too much [negative] input, which might backfire.
- Have resources, paperwork, and other proof to back up the issue(s) under discussion.
- Try to keep your attention on the facts rather than your judgments.
- Be willing to hear their point of view.
The last point is essential to remember since students frequently act out or struggle due to other events in their lives that they are unable to disclose. Adding more context, such as a family member’s death, can assist in clarifying many of the issues at hand.
The Significance of Outside Assistance
In some situations, informing the administration and, in some situations, such as behavioral concerns, the school’s counseling department of the planned meeting, the student, and the issues being addressed is an effective method. Having them attend the meeting can be highly beneficial, not only in terms of defusing a potentially explosive situation between the teacher and the parents or guardians; but also in terms of demonstrating to the parents or guardians that the school as a whole is committed to addressing and resolving whatever issue is at hand.
Because the chances of a student becoming a problem in only one teacher’s class are minimal, reaching out to the student’s other educators and either seeking their perspective to offer inside a meeting or including them in the discussion can assist present a more united front.
This sort of information cannot be shared easily. Each setting, student, and parent or guardian needs a somewhat different strategy, which must be considered. But it is important to remember that the focus is on the child and providing the assistance and support they need to be more successful or generous.