As a tutor, there will be a chance where you will be faced with an angry parent. It could be because of your way on how to correct their child or maybe they are frustrated on why their children are still failing in their exams. It could be the parent is having a bad day.
Whatever their reasons for getting mad at you, you need to have a concrete plan in dealing with them.
Here are our suggestions in dealing with an angry parent:
When you are faced by an angry parent, always stay calm even if you want to counter what they are saying and explain your side.
Staying calm will allow you to think properly and analyse their concerns. If you speak to them with an angry tone, you are only making things worse and make them more angry at you.
By staying calm, they will slowly realise that something is amiss and slowly calm down. You should use this tactic when communicating with any difficult parents.
Listen as they rant
Even if the parent is ranting about things you can explain, listen to it very closely.
Sometimes, these rants will give you an idea about how they took in your actions and if they somehow misinterpreted what they are seeing or heard about from their children. Through their rants, you will be able to find out what exactly made them so upset.
Let them vent
Even parents need some way to cool off and vent out their frustrations, especially when it comes to their children.
Give them the time to tell you everything they want to tell you regarding the situation about their children. As they do so, ask the right questions like “who made them upset”, “why were they thinking that way” and so on. Asking the right questions will help you to get useful feedback from the parents.
Once they have finished ranting or venting at you, show to the parents that you understood their feelings and that you also share their sentiments.
Even though you feel like the issue isn’t that serious or it’s something that can be easily fixed, these parents think differently and they definitely see anything that affects their children as something serious.
By showing your sentiments and agreement, they will know they are not alone in this situation.
Take Responsibility and Apologise
As a tutor, it is important that you take responsibility for the parent’s anger even if you didn’t really cause the issue in the first place. It is the best way to calm them down and calm you down as well.
By saying that you will take responsibility and deal with the issue, they will be reassured that you are doing your job right. In your end, doing this will give you the courage to speak to these parents and liberate you from the fears you may have had in the first place.
When you do take full responsibility for the situation, you should definitely follow it with an apology even if you didn’t cause the issue to happen in the first place. For most parents, hearing the apology is all they need to clear things out.
Here are some ways you can communicate their child’s progress in a positive way to his parents.
Don’t take it personally
For some of us, we wear our hearts in our sleeves as it is a great way to get our students to listen to us and treat us right. However, by doing this, you are making yourself susceptible to emotional stress, which can be triggered by an angry parent.
When you do find yourself in this situation, don’t take what they are saying personally because they aren’t attacking you as a person. Taking things personally is one of the problems you will faced as a tutor.
If you keep your cool and get to the bottom of things, you can figure out what needs to be done to improve the situation and that they aren’t really targeting you.
Set limits and boundaries
When speaking to an angry parent, let them know the limits and boundaries of what you can agree on. This is similar to setting expectations during your first lesson with them. Let them know that you will not take heed of their complaints if they don’t calm down or if they start cursing and swearing profanity.
If they don’t agree, leave and let them know you will speak to them about the issue some other time. They will definitely realise their error and try to speak to you in a lighter note.
Don’t be afraid to stand up for your actions
Sometimes, the reason why you may end up facing an angry parent is because they believe your actions were incorrect when it’s actually right. If you believe you acted correctly and tried to correct the student’s behaviour, don’t be afraid to stand up and show the evidence that will prove that the parent’s anger is not justified.
If they continue to argue, let them know why the issue had to be resolved that way. Just remember to stay calm when you do counter what the parent is saying because again, if you sounded angry, they will be more angrier and you won’t be able to resolve the issue properly.
When you finish getting to the bottom of things, reassure the parents that you are going to get to the bottom of things and sort it out. However, this time, be specific about what actions you will take and then do it.
Fix the issue as soon as you meet with the student again for your next session and make sure you follow up with the parent. You can follow it up through another meeting or through updating your progress report.
When you find yourself facing an angry parent, don’t avoid the situation and let it get to you. As a tutor, you need to stay as calm and collected as possible. Once the parent sees that you are listening to them and that you are staying cool, they will notice it and think twice about their anger.
Let them know that you are always ready to improve the situation and help in whatever way you can. It will definitely help you build that trust you need to help the student and improve their academic performance.
For more articles on how to communicate with your parents, here are some more tips: