Working with a difficult parent is something that you should do very tactfully.
Normally you get a reasonable parent coming to find out what problems there is with their child, but sometimes you get parents that storm in, and they are really aggressive.
I am thinking of one such parent, he was really worked up when he stormed into my office.
I greeted him nicely and calmly and asked him to sit down.
He said I will stand as he was very angry.
I said that will mean I also have to stand, and that is not very comforting for a conversation. So he sat down and I asked him what the problem was.
It is very important to get someone who is angry to sit down. It really helps to calm them down.
He told me that his child is complaining that the teacher shouts at his son all the time.
As he was explaining I was writing everything he was telling me down.
Then I told him I will look into it and get back to him.
He was a bit stunned as he wanted a fight, that I could see but keeping people calm is very important.
I then called the teacher in to hear her side of the story and she told me this child was always doing something different to get attention when they were working.
He drops stuff on purpose, and talks to the children around him. It was very obvious that he needed attention.
Then I got the child in and asked him why he was trying to get attention, did he have a problem with the teacher or what else was bothering him.
He then told me his father is extremely strict and when he speaks at home everyone has to jump.
He says that is the way he was raised and that is the way we should react, he said he does not know anymore what is right, and what is wrong as it is always this strict man at home.
I asked him what hes mother said, and he told me his mother also has to jump when his father speaks as she is just as scared of him as they are.
This made me realize that there could be a bigger problem than just a teacher shouting at a child.
I phoned the father and said when he gets off work he must come and see me as I will open the office, and we can talk.
He came that evening at about six and I opened the office.
I told him everything that I had found out and said, do you not think you have some trouble yourself, you are so strict and the child does not know what to do. That is why he is reacting like this.
How would you feel if someone keeps interrupting you by dropping things and talking while you are teaching?
I would get really angry he said.
Well, this is what is happening, and if you want everyone to jump when you talk, it is not fair to them all.
Remember this is your child and you are really making life difficult for him, and he does not know how to handle it.
He sat back and said my father brought us up like that and now I remember how difficult it was, maybe you are right. I must go home and talk to everyone and really try to start listening to what is happening and not just scare everyone.
A few days later the teacher came and told me things have improved a lot in the class, and the father came to thank me for getting to the real problem and trying to fix everything.
This really changed into a very happy family with of course still discipline but in a different way.
Hope you read my post and that I hope you have a wonderful day from the Wild Coast.