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The Difficult Parent
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The Difficult Parent
An Educator's Guide to Handling Aggressive Behavior



June 2004 | 168 pages | Corwin
'Clearly directed toward solutions, rather than perpetuating the 'blame game.' I highly recommend it. Nice job!' - Susan M. Nakaba, Associate Principal, Palos Verdes High School, Rolling Hills Estates, California

The Difficult Parent will give any educational professional the nuts-and-bolts approach to dealing effectively with parental aggression. It is a book based on the author's extensive and nationwide research and on the application of the RAID approach. It features scenarios depicting confrontational situations experienced by various school personnel and interviews with educators who have successfully used the RAID approach to dealing with aggressive, confrontational parents . It offers simple, yet effective, resources to assist school administrators in such situations. This book focuses on strategies for handling parental aggression using a four-step approach: Recognizing the potential for a volatile encounter, Assessing your ability to emotionally handle the situation, Identifying your advantages, and Diffusing the parent's Aggressiveness during the initial approach and greeting (RAID). It is written in three parts to address the importance of communication and the difficulties aggressive individuals presents.

Includes Built-In Facilitator's Guide for Professional Development Workshop.

 
Acknowledgements
 
About the Author
 
Introduction
 
Part I: Parental Aggression Towards School Personnel
 
1. A Genuine Concern for School Personnel
Are Confrontational Parents a Pertinent Issue?

 
How Often Does Parental Aggression Occur?

 
Do Employees Have to Tolerate Parental Aggression?

 
Could Parental Aggression Affect Me?

 
Why Does the Topic of Parental Aggression Seem Obscure?

 
What Makes Parental Aggression a Unique Issue?

 
Questions for Discussion

 
 
2. The Reactive Nature of Education
The Effects of Reactivity

 
Is a Proactive Approach Necessary?

 
Why Does This Feel Funny?

 
Why Do Parents Become Hostile?

 
Questions for Discussion

 
 
3. Confrontational Parents and Your Colleagues
School Administrators

 
Teachers

 
Guidance Counselors

 
School Social Workers

 
School Health Personnel

 
Office Personnel

 
School Psychologists

 
Other School Personnel

 
Questions for Discussion

 
 
Part II: An Approach to Address Parental Aggression
 
4. The RAID Approach
What Have We Established So Far?

 
Seven Frequently Asked Questions Regarding the RAID Approach

 
Just Common Sense

 
A Schoolwide Approach to Parental Aggression

 
Brevity and Simplicity

 
Questions for Discussion

 
 
5. RAID Step One: Recognizing the Potential for a Volatile Encounter
To Meet or Not to Meet

 
When is it Too Risky to Meet With a Parent?

 
How Do You Say No?

 
The "Guilts"

 
Step One in Motion

 
Step One Summary

 
Step One Checklist

 
Questions for Discussion

 
 
6. RAID Step Two: Assessing Your Ability to Emotionally Handle the Situation
What Types of Issues Affect Our Emotions and Disposition?

 
Face Number Four

 
Early-Warning Colleagues

 
"I'll be Back"

 
Step Two Summary

 
Step Two Checklist

 
Questions for Discussion

 
 
7. RAID Step Three: Identifying Your Advantages
Advantages: What's Available?

 
Workforce Advantages

 
Environmental Advantages

 
Step Three Summary

 
Step Three Checklist

 
Questions for Discussion

 
 
8. RAID Step Four: Diffusing Anger During the Initial Approach and Greeting
Observing the Parent

 
Approaching the Parent

 
Greeting the Parent

 
Setting Parameters

 
Step Four Summary

 
Step Four Checklist

 
Questions for Discussion

 
 
9. Putting the RAID Approach to Work
Case #1: Mrs. Winslow

 
Case #2: Mrs. Cananski

 
Summary

 
Questions for Discussion

 
 
Part III: Issues, Questions, and Installation
 
10. The Worst-Case Scenario ... and After
After the Confrontation

 
I Gotta Unload: The Importance of Debriefing

 
Summary

 
Questions for Discussion

 
 
11. Four Great Questions
What If a Parent Becomes Aggressive and a Student Is in the Vicinity?

 
What If a Parent Confronts a Staff Member Off Campus?

 
Which Staff Member Plays the Most Important Role in the RAID Approach?

 
How Do You Handle a Parent When He or She Returns to the School?

 
Questions for Discussion

 
 
Resource A: Traumatic Stress Reactions Questionnaire
 
References
 
Facilitator's Guide
 
Who Should Use This Guide?
 
Who Should Receive a "RAID Approach" In-Service?
 
When Should The RAID Approach Be Installed?
 
How This Guide Is Organized
 
What Materials Are Necessary?
Materials for Facilitators

 
Materials for Participants

 
 
Module One
Task One: Introduce the Issue of Parental Aggression

 
Task Two: Identification of Previous Staff Interactions With Aggressive Parents

 
Task Three: Identify the Possible Effects of Parental Aggression on School Personnel

 
Task Four: Establish the Value of a Multidisciplinary Approach to Parental Aggression

 
 
Module Two
Task One: Introduce the RAID Approach

 
Task Two: Explain Step One: Recognizing the Potential for a Volatile Encounter

 
Task Three: Explain Step Two: Assessing Your Ability to Emotionally Handle the Situation

 
Task Four: Explain Step Three: Identifying Your Advantages

 
Task Five: Explain Step Four: Diffusing Parent Anger During the Initial Approach and Greeting

 
 
Module Three
Task One: Solicit Feedback Regarding the RAID Approach

 
Task Two: Identify Roles and Responsibilities

 
Task Three: Discuss Worst-Case Scenarios

 
Task Four: Establish a Debriefing Mechanism

 
 
Overhead #1
 
Overhead #2
 
Overhead #3
 
Overhead #4
 
Overhead #5
 
Overhead #6
 
Overhead #7
 
Overhead #8
 
Overhead #9
 
Index

"Clearly directed toward solutions, rather than perpetuating the ‘blame game.’ I highly recommend it. Nice job!"

Susan M. Nakaba, Associate Principal
Palos Verdes High School, Rolling Hills Estates, CA

"The manner in which information is presented is clear, concise, and easy to follow.  The common sense approach is excellent."

Edward Chevalier, Principal
Blalack Middle School, Carrollton, TX

"This is a very impressive book--a must-read for new administrators and a great book club read for any administrator group."

Larry Birdsell, Principal
Cypress Elementary School, Newbury Park, CA

Sample Materials & Chapters

Introduction

Chapter 1: A Genuine Concern for School Personnel


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