As part of your teaching career, you may encounter parents that do not fit well with you or who present challenges to relationships between students. Handling such relationships is one of the more challenging parts of being an educator.
There are ways for teachers to handle situations such as Karens, and avoid larger issues later. Please read on for 5 tips that teachers can use when dealing with Karen-like parents, and find out how you can build positive, constructive relationships with those who care for your students.
1. Don’t Be Afraid to Ask Questions
If your parents’ invasive behavior is making you uncomfortable, don’t be intimidated to seek an explanation from them – but remember not to accuse them as this can only serve to escalate tension and the dialogue will likely stop short, according to psychologist Jeglic.
Smith suggests finding empathy for their situation and the reasons behind their behavior instead of engaging in arguments; this will make your relationship with them much stronger and lasting.
When working with Karens, remember they do not view the world logically – instead, they become completely immersed in their own world of self-indulgence and righteous anger.
These people believe the world revolves around them and can be extremely intolerant of anyone who differs with them. You’ll often see these types of individuals entering a store without wearing masks and waiting until something sets them off before acting aggressively towards anyone in particular.
Karens can be extremely volatile creatures that feed off anger and resentment; always approach them calmly with your head up high and approach with clear communication and no distractions in mind. Even though they may shout, gesticulate, or throw their toys from their pram at first, don’t allow that behavior to trigger you!
Once you have discussed their overbearing behaviors with them, set some boundaries but be sure to do it in an understanding way that reminds them you are now an adult and expect to be treated as such.
Never forget that Karen’s behavior stems from an intense sense of insecurity and fear in her life, fearful of family disownment or rejection; acting out may be their only way of feeling better about themselves.
2. Don’t Let It Get to You
Parents who behave like Karens can be frustrating, but it’s important to remember they’re people too and deserve your respect. Their behavior could be the result of unresolved issues from the past or lack of empathy from you as an adult.
No matter the circumstance, taking time to reflect upon yourself and the response is key in understanding whether your actions affected the outcome and if they were the appropriate decision.
Psychotherapist Jennifer Gold suggests taking a momentary pause before each interaction and considering your parent’s actions from their perspective; this will allow you to gain more clarity into their intentions and how best to address their needs and requests.
If you’re having difficulty, Gold suggests asking their assistance in finding solutions to the issue at hand. Doing this will allow them to feel heard, while showing your kindness as an attentive individual.
A great benefit of this exercise is that it can lead to some amazing conversations and newfound appreciation of your parents’ wisdom, perhaps leading to them helping with class projects or life decisions! With proper strategies and techniques in place, keeping calm during this process should not be difficult at all; hopefully these five tips will have you putting your best foot forward immediately!
3. Don’t Let It Get to You
Sometimes parents can be annoying, but it is important to not let it affect you emotionally. Your parents might just be exhausted from work or feeling unfocused – in this instance it would be wise to take a deep breath and think through what to say or ask them instead of reacting immediately.
Another way to help yourself stay calm is taking some time off and doing something else besides your usual activities, such as going to the gym, going for a walk, or reading a book. Doing something else may help clear your mind and calm you.
As much as it may be difficult, it can also be helpful to look at the positive aspects of the situation. Your parent might be trying to help, likely out of love and concern for you.
Find humor in your situation to ease tension and become more relaxed, according to Fingerman. Laughter may help reduce stress while giving a sense of peace and harmony, she notes.
Your parents want what is best for you, yet can sometimes be hard to understand. They may push and nag, trying to ensure that you remain safe and are following what is right.
Keep this in mind at all times – they are your parents and should do what is best for you! Sometimes this may not be easy to see but remembering this fact will keep your life under your own control.
Finding it difficult to discuss things with your parents when they’re angry or stressed can be daunting, but it’s essential that you approach this task in a calm, professional manner if you want the desired result from them. By doing so, they may offer better responses.
4. Don’t Let It Get to You Too Soon
Working with parents can be stressful, so it’s essential that when one becomes combative with you that you remain composed. Seth Hall suggests the best way to do this is to focus on soothing yourself as much as possible – just trying not to make any further comments will only increase their anger levels further.
Focusing on solutions instead of engaging in heated arguments or conversations is an effective strategy, both for you and the parents involved, since it helps both parties to feel more prepared for a conversation and reduce any unnecessary tension in the situation.
Another effective strategy is to ask parents for any solutions or suggestions to your problems, according to Professor Sanders. This allows them to have some control in the discussion while making them feel heard and understood, she noted.
One of the primary sources of anger among parents is when they believe their child has been mistreated, however this should not be taken personally and strive to be fair and responsible teacher.
Teachers under constant parental pressure may become overwhelmed and stressed, which can affect both their classroom management and teaching styles. It also makes it harder to be effective at their jobs.
For optimal success when dealing with these parents, you must possess a wide array of strategies at your disposal. Follow these tips in order to handle difficult situations effectively and achieve positive outcomes for both students and educators – hopefully these tactics will enable you to become even stronger educators!
5. Don’t Let It Get to You
Parents often act like Karens for various reasons. One such reason could be feeling overwhelmed and uncertain of their role as parents. If you encounter difficult or pushy parents, listening and understanding their anxieties first is always best before reacting negatively.
When parents challenge you regarding one of their students, keep your cool and show that their concerns stem from a shared interest for that student. Use dialogue as an opportunity to help guide that person towards reaching their life’s goals.
For instance, if your student is rebelling against curfew, try emphasizing their need for freedom rather than whatever you think is wrong with them – that way they won’t resent or feel forced by you.
Consider that your child may simply be trying to break free from their shell and fight their fears head on. If they act up, that may be a signal they need help dealing with their emotions.
As much as it’s tempting, when dealing with difficult parents it’s essential not to let it get the better of you – particularly when tired, hungry and/or tipsy. Take an extra breath before speaking; use meditation and mindfulness exercises to remain calm; consider seeking professional assistance such as counseling or psychotherapy if your problems continue escalating; they can help determine why your parents are acting this way, how best to address them and even suggest strategies to build stronger relationships in the future.