Dealing With Parents Who Don't Seem To Care About The Education Of Their Children By Robert Bacal
In many ways, it's easier to deal with an irate or upset parent than it is to deal with a parent who refuses to engage with, or communicate with school staff. When you can't get parents involved in the education of their children, you lose an essential information sources that can help you understand the child, and tailor how you teach him or her in the classroom. To make the situation worse, many "teaching problems" have to do with things teachers have no control over, from simple things, like ensuring the child has support at home for doing homework, has a good place to work at home, to much more complex issues that have to do with the emotional life of the child at home. Truly, parents who don't seem to care, or who won't communicate with school staff are a major barrier to helping children.
Two Kinds Of Apathetic Parents
There are really two kinds of apathetic parents. The worst, of course, are those that truly don't care. It's sad, but some people aren't cut out to be parents, and are not very good at it, and deal with parenting as if it's a burden, rather than an honor and a welcome responsibility. Some of those parents are not indifferent though, but have other large issues that render the interest in their children less important than it should be. For example, parents that have severe substance abuse problems are much less likely to be able to focus on the welfare of their children. Many other situations can render parental interest down to zero. Unfortunately, you can't always change these things.
There's a second type of parent who may appear uncaring, apathetic and disintereted, but may come across that way because of discomfort with interacting with school personnel. There are a lot of reasons parents can "refuse to show up" literally and figuratively".For example, agorophobics may appear to not care about their children, because they don't show up for meetings, and socially phobic people may shy away from any contact with others. Less severe, but still not completely uncommon is the parent who has had such bad experiences with schools as a student that he either completely turned off any interaction, or is simply highly anxious. I'm sure you can think of other reasons a parent can appear apathetic, when in fact the caring is there, if not the caring behavior.
Trying To Understand May Be The Best You Can Do
You never know why a parent may seem disinterested, unless you get to know the parent, if possible, and listen to them. There may not be much you can do with the truly terrible parents, and it's hard not to judge, but you may find that by "first seeking to understand", and by witholding judgment, you may be able to unearth reasons why the parent seems apathetic, but actually does care. If you can do that, you have a chance of finding ways to make home-school communication more comfortable and welcoming.
How do you get parents involved with the education of their children, particularly when parents also face numerous demands on their time, and not every parent is a
More On How To Address Parents Who Don't Seem To Care: Apathetic ParentsStudents and Parents Who Don't Care - by Harvey Craft
With students who "just don't care," parents are a key part of the problem and the solution. Getting parents into the school for conferences and to help with some aspect of the school activities is crucial. Schools can invite the parents of the most troubling students to a free dinner an offer door prizes. Sponsors may be needed to fund such activities and should be recruited aggressively. Community leaders can be encouraged to volunteer as speakers. Parents should be offered realistic solutions and goals for their children. (Views So Far 254 )
Teachers criticise apathetic parents - 75 percent of teachers surveyed concerned - by Afshan Ahmed
While this study took place in Abu Dhabi, it's probably a universal issue -- that parents aren't active enough in the education of their children and it negatively affects what happens in schools. About 75 percent of teachers surveyed shared concerns about the lack of parental involvement. (Views So Far 418 )
Teachers criticise apathetic parents in Abu Dhabi - by Afshan Ahmed
Think apathetic parents are only in western societies? Read this article that includes research on teacher concerns in Abu Dhabi and you'll see they share the same ones that concern us all, parent apathy and lack of involvement in their children's school work. (Views So Far 268 )
Why Parents Don't Care - by Terry Heick
Interesting take on apathetic parents. Blame it on "education", or so this author suggests. (Views So Far 277 )