Thank you Scholastic for this informative article. I only wish I had read it 17 years ago when I started in education. Your suggestions were diplomatic and proactive. As for those that object to the "problem parent" title, Websters defines a problem as "something that is difficult to deal with". I can assure you that some of these parental 'types' ARE difficult to deal with. That is not to say that teachers do not want positive relationships with each parent, but sometimes their demands and expectations can be quite overwhelming. My first year of teaching, I had a helicopter parent that came in every day and unpacked her daughter's book bag, sharpened her pencils, and stood by her for the first hour of class. I did not know what to do. Considering the girl was 11, I found this behavior to be inappropriate and enabling. I finally had to (gently) discuss this issue with the parent. She became angry, complained to the principal, and demanded a conference. The principal was kind, but supported me. From then on out, the parent was hostile and unsupportive. I wanted to work with her, but that never happened. I still look back and think of how I could have done more. So, I consider that a problem. And I consider her a 'problem parent'.
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