To conduct successful conferences or work with parents in other capacities, establishing good rapport is critical. To be a friendly partner:

  • Meet parents in a nonauthoritarian way.
  • Sympathize and empathize.
  • Try to see the child from the parents' view.
  • Help parents feel good about themselves and their children.
  • Be positive and enthusiastic.
  • Let parents know that you are interested in their child as an individual- one who has strengths, weaknesses, and his or her own way of learning.
  • Don't compare one child with another.
  • Avoid getting too personal. If problems at home affect the child's behavior at school, report the behavior and ask parents if they have any ideas about the cause. But don't press.
  • Respond to parents as individuals, realizing each has a unique personality and set of concerns.
  • Try not to interrogate. People are more open if you don't put them on the defensive.
  • Discuss, but never argue. And don't criticize.
  • If parents need help with a problem, suggest ways they might solve it.