I recently received a phone call from a parent wanting to know how to handle an issue that came up in their child’s school system. Without naming any specifics (school, leadership or parents), I thought that it would be helpful to give you a few hints for how to handle minor issues at your child’s school (or other public venues) without becoming “that” parent.
If you have been in any sort of leadership position that works with minors then you have run across “those” parents. Who are”those” parents? They are the parents that simply want to fuss and complain in order to be heard. They dont want to change anything they just enjoy being mad. If you are reading this, there is a good chance that you are not “that” parent and you do want to make a difference. If so, then this is for you – here are some suggestions on how you can approach sensitive subjects with those who are in an authority position in order to reach a solution, not just to be heard.
- Set an example: One of the most important things to remember is that this moment is a teaching moment to your child or children. Model the behavior that you expect them to exhibit.
- Establish a time limit: Before you walk in, determine how long you are willing to voice your concern. This will help prevent the discussion from turning into an argument. Most meetings should be set for 30min unless there are larger issues that need to be addressed.
- Remain calm: Our children are one of the things that we are most concerned about and for good reason. And the best way for your frustrations and concerns to be heard is in a controlled manner. Don’t pull a Springer (Jerry Springer)!!!! The goal is to be understood not heard.
- Present solutions: It is easy to point out the holes in a sinking boat but few people can offer solutions to keep the boat upright. Voice your concern’s then a proposed solution. This will prove that you want to help not just complain.
- Trust God: Even if you feel that your voice was not heard or if you did not get your way, trust in God’s sovereignty. Trust that God is still in control even when things seem to be out of control.
*More sensitive or larger issues will require different methods.