Conferencing with Parents: Discussing Children with Challenging Behaviors

Posted by Care Courses

Jul 10, 2015 1:28:00 PM


Parent conferences provide caregivers and teachers a wonderful opportunity to learn about children directly from their parents, to share information about the child and about the program with parents, and to deal with important issues relating to the child. Despite all the benefits, many caregivers and teachers are often apprehensive when they must discuss a child’s challenging behaviors with parents.

Because of this, Care Courses has provided multiple training courses that cover parent conferences and communicating with parents. Today I will focus on some ideas from Conferencing with Parents.

One way to begin talking to parents about a child’s challenging behaviors is to present your observation or opinion of what need the child is attempting to address with the inappropriate behavior.

                “It seems that Ray is …” or “I wonder if Ray is …”

Doing so will indicate that you see their child as an individual with legitimate needs who needs guidance.

During the discussion, be careful to talk about the child’s challenging or inappropriate behaviors, not about the challenging child. Categorizing a child with challenging behaviors as a “bad child” can anger the parents and be harmful to the child, which would make the conference counterproductive.

We also suggest:

  • Discussing possible causes for the child’s behavior and what needs the child is trying to meet.
  • Asking questions, especially open-ended questions that require reflection and consideration while avoiding questions that can be answered with a “yes” or “no.”
  • Being specific, giving examples and providing any positive guidance strategies you have.
  • Giving parents time to talk and share any solutions they have for the behavior problems.

Do not be afraid to repeat yourself or ask the parents to repeat themselves. It is critical that you and the parents thoroughly understand each other and that you do not jump to conclusions; remember that your role with the parents is not of a teacher but that of a partner.

Lastly, this conference is about the child. Focus on their needs, never blame the parents or child, and realize that many challenging behaviors arise from problems at home. It is your professional obligation to assist parents insofar as you are able and encourage them to seek professional help if needed.

Overall, our Care Course, Conferencing with Parents, discusses a variety of ways to prepare, approach, and execute parent conferences. We went over just a few strategies for parent conferences in this blog. Do you want to learn more? Find this course and our other courses on communicating with parents, Parents and Child Care and Partnerships with Parents, on our website:

Please let us know how we can be of additional assistance! Call us: 1-800-685-7610, Monday through Friday, 9-5 ET, or email us days, evenings and weekends: We’re here to help!

Topics: Care Courses Questions

About Care Courses

Care Courses has been providing distance learning courses for early childhood professionals since 1990. Our courses are delivered to you either via US Mail or on your computer, and can be used for the CDA and many state training requirements. We offer over 60 excellent, convenient courses in a wide variety of interesting, helpful topics, and our courses have no time limits. Do them wherever and whenever you wish. Visit our website to access our course listings.

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