Understanding and Dealing with Difficult Parents

Developing successful problem-solving, conflict resolution, and communication skills allow K-12 educators and administrators to build positive relationships with parents and students. These proficiencies also allow school staff to become equipped with the tools needed to defuse difficult situations. When communication becomes efficient and diplomatic, the focus can return to the most important issue at hand-- the student’s education!

Course Name: Understanding and Dealing with Difficult Parents

Course Number: EDUC 712X

Semester Credits: 3


Course Description

Understanding and Dealing with Difficult Parents is one of the biggest problems faced by today’s teachers and principals.  This course begins by examining historical changes in schools and in parental involvement. It then gives the teacher dozens of ways to handle problems diplomatically and defuse angry or emotionally charged parents.  Methods of building parental support and credibility, problem-solving, communication scripts, and sample policies are also discussed.


  • Learn how to use effective problem-solving skills.
  • Become familiar with how to change the circumstances of parent conferences.
  • Recognize emotionally charged behavior, and develop scripts for handling this type of behavior.
  • Develop instructional strategies for dealing with angry parents.
  • Develop behavioral strategies to use in meetings with parents.
  • Develop strategies for including parents in school activities.

Course Contents

  • Today’s parents
  • Family configurations
  • Family stress
  • Typical parental behaviors
  • Angry parents
  • Building credibility
  • Community involvement
  • Positive communication with parents
  • Listening and learning
  • Behavioral responses
  • Apologies
  • Dealing with defensiveness
  • Delivering bad news
  • Focus on the future
  • Kinds of problems
  • Effective problem solving
  • The healthy school

Evidence of Learning Outcomes

Upon completing the course Understanding and Dealing with Difficult Parents, the student will have demonstrated knowledge of the steps necessary to work with their student's parents and guardians effectively. This course is relevant to both incoming and seasoned teachers and administrators as it offers comprehensive and realistic solutions to difficult situations with parents.

How to Register

Registration is simple and can be done online or over the phone. Courses are offered ongoing during three semesters, and enrollees may begin at any time. Students may choose to enroll in up to a maximum of 15-semester credits at any time during a semester.

 Fall: September 1 - January 31

Spring: February 1 - May 31

Summer: June 1 - August 31

Refer to a Friend


Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to receive announcements, updates and reminders!