Parents of children with SEND are often:
– The parents who won’t accept your first answer.
– The parents who always ask you for more.
– The parents who are used to searching for support and help for their child.
– The parents who are used to fighting to get support and help for their child.
– The parents who are tired and stressed and worried about their child’s future.
– The parents who need to know their child can look after themselves when they can’t.
– The parents who need to know their child can speak for themselves when they can’t.
– The parents who want their children to maximise their potential and live well.
Most SEND parents find themselves having to advocate for, chase up or justify provisions for their child, whether with the local authorities, at the hospitals or the school. It means that SEND parents often feel they have been labelled as being “problem parents”.
Some SEND parents carry this label as a badge of honour, others carry it with them as a stigma but either way, it means that some parents will arrive at your classroom door ready to do battle before you have even spoken.
As we have discussed, these are parents under particular stress and worry. So finding a way to work together as partners will help ease the stress on the parent and make your own job easier too.
> Want to be listened to
> Want to be talked to
> Want to be consulted
> Want to be involved
Once you figure out how to do that, then most “problem parents” aren’t problems at all!
Key learning points
~Parent of children with SEND are used to fighting battles for their kids. Sometimes, this means they are defensive when you first meet them.
~ Don’t let this defensive approach influence your dealings with SEND parents.
~ Do you have any “problem parents” in your class?
~ What makes them “problem parents”?