SmileTutor Blog Tutors Career Advice How to Engage the Uninvolved and Reluctant Parent

How to Engage the Uninvolved and Reluctant Parent

As a tutor, you will face many types of parents.

Some parents are cooperative and will work with you to help their children progress. Other helicopter parents will get all defensive at you for even implying that their children are not doing well!

There is another type of parent: the uninvolved and reluctant parent. They would be absent in their child’s life and you only get to liaise with them through phone calls or even passing messages through their domestic helper.

If you have to deal with uninvolved parents, getting them to listen may be one of the hardest things you have to do. However, since you are helping their children, you will definitely need to learn how to deal with them.

Don’t assume they are uninvolved or reluctant because they don’t care

Every person shows their love differently and for some parents, they seem to be not paying attention to their child. As we will not know what goes on behind closed doors, we shouldn’t judge too harshly.

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Instead, if you think the parents are being careless with their child, you will need to approach them to find out if they are invested in their child’s progress.

Find out why they aren’t that active regarding their child’s progress

There can be a lot of reasons why parents don’t get involved with their child’s studies.

It can be due to their heavy workload or the stress from juggling household chores and taking care of other children in the same household.

As a tutor, it is important that you understand what factors prevent your student’s parents from reaching out and find ways to remedy the problem.

When you do speak to them about their reasons, always stay neutral and let them know you aren’t judging them for their lack of involvement. Show them that you are ready to help in any way you can but do not overstep your boundaries as a tutor.

Be flexible

As a tutor, it is important that you are able to accommodate any parent, especially those with unusual circumstances that prevent them from keeping up with their child’s studies.

Stay motivated and try find out more about the parent’s circumstances and find ways to communicate with them.

Instead of meeting the parents every time you have lessons, you can schedule monthly meet ups with the parent at a time they are not busy. You can prepare the information they need to know such as their child’s academic performance, where they need more assistance and what they need to get their children so that they will be able to focus further.

Work out different ways to communicate

If a parent can’t communicate with you directly in person, you can always work out with them alternative ways to reach out. Your after-lesson report can be in the form of emails, Whatsapp or even leaving notes on the fridge.

You can also ask them to point to a trusted person who you can reach out to in case there are issues that need resolving. It could be your student’s grandparents, relatives or even your student’s older siblings.

Having different options for communication will definitely let the parent know what is going on with their children even without direct communication.

Be Understanding

It is actually very rare to find a parent who doesn’t really care about their children’s performance in school.

Ask them what their concerns are when it comes to their child’s performance rather than just overwhelming them with negative issues that may not even be applicable to the student in question.

You should also stay positive because it can show to both parents and your student that you are confident with your skills and are always ready to provide them with assistance so that they can reach their fullest potential.

You are an influence factor in your student’s results too!

Offer Practical Solutions

Some parents may be unaware that their assistance and involvement with their children can make a big difference when it comes to improving their performance. As they become aware of their child’s activities, they will become more involved with them.

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To help these parents out, you can give them practical solutions which they can do despite their busy schedule.

You can help the busy parents with easy-to-read progress markers like a checklist or an FAQ on top questions that at one glance, the parents are able to identify which milestones have been met.

You can also recommend that they send an inspiring message to their children during their exams. Even the smallest signs can do immensely and let these parents know how their children will take it.


As a tutor, you can’t really escape the reality of having to deal with parents with various levels of involvement when it comes to their children. However, before you even consider a parent a “reluctant” or “uninvolved” one, find out why they aren’t as involved as you thought they are and if the reason is valid, give them ways to still be involved.

With the steps we cited above, we are sure you can find some common ground with them and work together for the student’s future.

To improve communicating with your parents, here are some articles to help you:

How to Communicate to Parents about their Child’s Progress
How to Get Useful Feedback from Your Student’s Parents


Rum Tan

Rum Tan is the founder of SmileTutor and he believes that every child deserves a smile. Motivated by this belief and passion, he works hard day & night with his team to maintain the most trustworthy source of home tutors in Singapore. In his free time, he writes articles hoping to educate, enlighten, and empower parents, students, and tutors. You may try out his free home tutoring services via or by calling 6266 4475 directly today.