Have you ever had to face a difficult conversation with a Teacher or Head Teacher, perhaps you don’t think the the school or certain members of staff have given the best help or guidance your child has needed?
Old memories can come flooding back to a time when we ourselves were on the wrong end of a telling off, a rebuke or we were made to feel small and foolish by a teacher.
Old Memories come flooding back
Because of these memories, when we have to face these situations as an parent we may find ourselves having to pump ourselves up to stand up for ourselves and our kids, or with the weight of these old memories speaking in a rather apologetic way or overly deferential. Sounds familiar?
Fight or Flight or being Assertive
Going into these discussions with the best mental framework and attitude is vital and will affect the result you’ll get.
4 Assertive tips
There are 4 assertive tips to help you achieve what you want:
1. Check that your “inner dialogues” – those conversations you have with yourself are aligned to betting the best result. Instead of, “Oh, this will be awful, I can see myself now ……getting angry/defensive/apologetic/feeling they won’t listen etc. You can say to yourself, “This may be tough but I can cope: I can put my view forward clearly and succinctly and stay focused on what I need for my child’s future.”
2. Be clear about your Rights and Responsibilities – I have the right to ask (not demand) that my child has the appropriate support and guidance they need. I have the responsibility to listen to why this is not happening and I have the right to challenge those views if they are not going to help the situation
3. Focus on a win:win approach – think through your position before you go and see Teaching Staff: what would be the result you want and what would make the school want to buy in to your recommendation. Remain flexible in your approach but don’t negotiate beyond your “worst” best case.
4. Ensure your body language is appropriate to the situation – Make sure you maintain an open posture – listen carefully – give good solid eye contact – keep your gestures open and steady and your voice firm – in away that you validates you have the right to get the solution you want. Pause If you need to collect your thought and take your time responding in a firm and clear way.
Apply these 4 tips and you replace the anxiety you may have felt having difficult conversations with Teachers, knowing you have been respected, heard and understood and have done all you can to satisfactorily resolve the situation.