Being frustrated with parents: Why some parents do the strangest things to their children
I’m happy to announce a new feature on my website. If you go to theessenceofteaching.com, you will be able to make an audio recording of your question so that I can feature it and address it on my show.
This is another way for me to help you on your journey as an early childhood educator, so do feel free to reach out anytime you need help, or if you need a different perspective on things or if you just need a little reassurance.
Let’s discuss why it can be so frustrating to work with parents at times and more importantly, how you can use this frustration constructively to your own benefit.
This question has recently been quite heavily discussed on a Facebook page where many early childhood educators and day care providers have expressed different concerns from parents giving their children coffee in their sippy cups in the morning or not being bothered to dress the children appropriately for cold weather or not wanting to help the child out with homework.
Most of us would look at it and go…”what on earth are these parents doing?” Or “what could they possibly be thinking? Don’t they want what’s best for their children? Why on earth do they want to have children when they can’t even be bothered to be good parents?”
Here are 3 things to consider…
1) Parents make decisions for their children and unless its abuse or it compromises their child’s safety, there isn’t much we can do about it except to share our concerns with the parents,
I have, on several occasions, pulled parents aside to speak to them about their children’s sleep routine because I’ve had children who turn up in class, all tired out and sleepy and super moody. And often, after some investigation, found out that some parents put their preschoolers to bed between 10-11pm. when I asked why that is part of their practice, I get varying responses from different parents varying from ‘oh, we’ve done that all this time, I don’t see why it’s a problem now?’ to ‘we both have to work and we come home late and we tend to want to spend a bit more time with the children before putting them to bed.’
That’s when I take the time to educate the parents and in doing so, 90% of the time, they usually cooperate and I have to say that most of them are not aware of what’s best for the children so a little information goes a long way. Here’s what I’d do, I’d just quickly let them know about the situation with their child being dysfunctional in class due to the lack of sleep (in this case) and offer to send them some information from my research which I’ve been doing about children’s sleep needs. I’d follow up two days after sending off the email just in case they have questions about it.
Usually, most parents will comply. However, there will always be a small percentage of parents who still feel that they don’t want to make any changes and that’s when it can get quite frustrating.
2) Its natural to get frustrated with parents over children because you care for the children and you become emotionally invested in from them the day you were entrusted to care for them.
However, there’s something to take heed of…you need to be very careful with your frustrations. In many cases, they could engulf you and stifle your growth as a professional teacher. I’ve been there before and it was demoralizing and totally draining my motivation. I’ve also seen many teachers who stop caring as a result of being overly frustrated with parents and we all know that this is not healthy for the teacher.
I know you are probably asking, “So what do you expect me to do, queenie? Will all my frustrations away?”
Here’s what you could do and this is my secret recipe for being resilient….
3) The next time you get frustrated, take a moment to reflect on your own practices as a teacher or a parent of your own children and ask yourself, as a parent/teacher of young children, what can I improve on?’. This is called ‘channeling your energies from something you cant control to something you can control…..and that includes self-improvement’ because all that we can change is ourselves as educators, whether at home, in a daycare or in a classroom. After all, change always has to start from within us to make a difference to those around us.
So before we end, let me leave you with this little note of encouragement, don’t let your frustrations for people get the better of you, use it to make yourself better!
For the next episode, we will be discussing about dealing with children who can’t sit still where I’m going to share a different perspective about dealing with fidgety children. Till then, keep learning and happy teaching!