A: I’m sorry that you have encountered this problem and that these parents are making your job difficult. I think the approach you have outlined is a good one, most likely the best one, but you also need to understand that for some folks just “listening” isn’t what they want and it could get worse if they feel that you have also become a part of the problem (i.e. listening to their concerns but not doing anything about them).
I also know that verbal abuse is not allowable in any work place. If their complaints truly escalate to the point of you feeling abused or harassed, you need to address it with them directly and let them know that it is inappropriate and that you will only hear them out if they can speak respectfully. If this approach doesn’t work, you should take it to your superiors and to the human resources department, school board, etc. I’m not sure of the chain of command in a private school, but there has to be a system in place to handle these sorts of issues. Don’t hesitate to use it because not only does this negatively affect you and the school morale, but I agree that children often hear and observe things that we don’t think they do.
All the best,
Dr. Holly Counts