So the parents walk in and to my surprise, they seem more nervous than I am. I try to put on that happy face and I begin. Before I can even start, I notice tears in the mom’s eyes. “What’s going on?”, I ask. Mom breaks into tears and begins to talk about how hard they try to help their child with his challenges. They sound discouraged, they are clearly worried that I will lose patience with their child, they are afraid I don’t like him.
What these parents need is some reassurance, understanding, and support. They need to hear how much I like their child. They need to see his strengths through my eyes.
BIG- AHA moment for me! All parents need to hear these things.
They need to know that I see their children’s strengths and gifts. They need to know I like their children. They need to develop trust in my ability to be understanding and patient with their children.
Wouldn’t it be a great bridge if you opened a parent conference by telling the parents a few of the traits you see and honor in their child? It would make any ensuing conversation more comfortable. It would help put parents at ease. Believe it or not, many parents enter those conference doors with butterflies in their stomachs too. But most important, it would convey acceptance and understanding of their children.
I have created a “certificate of liking” to kick off your parent conferences. Use it with full confidence knowing that you’ll be building a communication bridge to help you partner with parents, to reassure them, and to develop trust. What more can anyone ask for from a first parent conference?