Dealing with children can sometimes be quite a struggle, as many teachers know. But one thing that can really help teachers get an insight into their students is meeting the parents.
Meeting a students parents can help a teacher understand why certain behaviours/actions occur in the classroom. Here, teachers from Reddit share what clicked about a student after meeting their parents.
One day her mom was late picking her up because she had super glued her own hand to the kitchen counter…
Overall an incredibly nice and well behaved young man. Most kids in the class were high school sophomores so this kind of behavior wasn’t very common.
On parent teacher night, a man comes in and introduces himself as Kyle Sr. Same exact thing. Such a nice man, very respectful, and a pleasure to talk to. He was a single father and a good man, and he raised his kid to be a good man.
Everything came in extremely incomplete.
His mom would call about his grades constantly. We had meetings where he would cry. She would force him into competitions and he wouldnt prepare and drop out.
This is something I see with some students but not to this degree.
Her helicoptering him at his nearly adult age had created a pattern where he would passive aggressively sabotage himself to punish his mother because he was at an age where he needed to transition to independence and self manage and she wasn’t allowing him to.
It was so bad I had to spray him with Febreeze a few times because nobody would get near him. His dad showed up for parent-teacher conferences, and I recognized the smell immediately. Dad was a single father who was younger than me (and I was in my 20s at the time). He said he and his son liked to get ready in the morning, and his kid would ask to wear dad’s cologne every damn day.
Always had an air of superiority about him, like the rules shouldn’t apply and he couldn’t be bothered putting in any effort. The other students really disliked him because he was so disrespectful and disruptive.
I called the parents in to discuss his behaviour and the mum said “he does similar things at home and we can’t really control him.” I can hear the dad yelling at her about how HE can control the son and she’s just a pathetic parent. His behaviour made a lot of sense and knowing how bad his home situation was actually helped me empathize with this kid a bit.
7 years old and he’d violently scrap his work if he viewed it as bad, even if we thought it was fine. Met his mother who was very vocal about how she hates kids – even her own.
Taking a foreign language was mandatory for a certain period of time (can’t remember how long). As far as I can remember, the students were randomly assigned to either French or Spanish.
I had one student in one of my Spanish classes who was weirdly opposed to the concept of learning a foreign language. He actively refused to listen, participate or hand in any homework assignments. He would just sit there with fingers in his ears saying. There were other students in the class who didn’t particularly like Spanish, but they understood that this was a mandatory class and they just had to deal with it, so I couldn’t understand what this kid’s problem was. I asked several other teachers if they had the same problem with this student and they all said he was a bit disruptive, but wasn’t actively refusing to learn.
His mother came in for a parent/teacher meeting. She immediately noticed from my accent that I am not from the US and started telling me I was an illegal immigrant, stealing jobs from US citizens, sitting on my butt on welfare all day and probably have 10 kids from different fathers. She was a racist.
They were both really polite, friendly to everyone, always neatly dressed, work was always very well completed and neat, etc. I worked with both girls for a whole year and never heard a child or adult say a single negative thing about either one of them. I finally met mum and complimented her on her daughters, she thanked me and went on to tell me later that she used to be a prison guard in juvenile detention. Real ‘aha!’ moment!
Had met mum and she was pretty normal. Have both kids tested. IQ and language both normal to high. Kids are still spacey.
Met dad. Everything was explained in 5 minutes. He was late to the interview because he saw an interesting bird and wanted a photo. It was a big crow. He said he likes talking to crows and hoped to train a few. Made me wonder what they talked about at home.
She would randomly start crying over the smallest things, but it would get worse the longer she was at school for the day. This woman was the rudest, most entitled person I have ever had a dubious pleasure of interacting with. No wonder the kid didn’t want to go home.
On the other hand, I taught two lovely sisters last year. Always nice and respectful, prepared and helping me and other students out. Well guess what, their mum was just as nice as them. Splendid people.
The mystery of how he did it so proficiently became clear when I was invited to dinner at his parents’ home.
Mounted on the wall above their living room piano was a mechanical wall clock with a percussive pendulum beating steady time, much like a metronome.
His parents pointed to it and said they placed it there on purpose to serve as a “guide” for beating steady rhythms. It worked! (He had never even thought about it until they mentioned it.)
It obviously became a big deal because the student could have said the teacher led him on in some way. A meeting was called with the father and when the father came for the meeting and saw the teacher he immediately said “damn she does have a fine butt” and essentially stated he understood why his son would slap it.
Emotional outbursts, slight bullying, didn’t want to try in class, but always wanted to volunteer. Parent teacher conference comes along and I’m talking with his father, and he tells the boy he’ll take him somewhere after they leave.
He got the kid all excited, but I could tell he was lying to him. I passed the local pub on my walk home from work (this is China) and I see him in there without his kid, talking to another woman who isn’t his wife. He also made nasty comments about some of the better looking teachers.
Kid just wanted his dad, but he’s too busy being a jerk.
When he did he was thoughtful, interesting, and most of the time spot on, but also usually apologized at the end and sometimes became distressed, even when he was correct. Met his mom during an IEP meeting and she constantly apologized for “how stupid he was” and how he was wasting my time in class. In front of him. It REALLY bothered me. This kid was so obviously smart and capable but any confidence he would build at school was torn down at home.
If there was a hole in your justification for any decision made he would find it. Generally middle school teachers are skilled in this area but this kid was talented. He took up so much class time because he would not back down. Even if you didn’t argue back.
So I ring up his mother… 1 hour and 20 minutes later I am still trying to end the conversation. I had answered some emails, closed my computer, tidied my desk, collected my belongings, got into my car, drove across town to my friends house and cracked my first Friday night beer all during the conversation. I basically did not get a word in. She cried, she raised her voice, she blamed and made a whole lot of excuses. It went on and on and around and around. It clicked.
She was just foul mouthed, nasty, rude even when you tried to give compliments. I met her mother in the office one day in passing as she was picking her kid up and thought what a good time to make a connection with this child. I complimented something the kid had done that was remotely nice (I embellished a little) and the mother responded with “F you,” which then allowed me to mentally understand that child’s behavior.
When he did make it to class he would sleep or be glued to his school issued laptop. I put in a lot of effort trying to get him to participate, confiscated laptop, issued write ups but it didn’t matter. He was too smart for my class, so he said, but was destined to get the F.
Anyway, mom shows up to a parent teacher conference and explains how he stays up at night playing video games and doesn’t sleep enough. That’s okay though because “I know he’s so freakin’ smart.” She doesn’t punish him or try to change his behaviour because “if I did that then how will he be able to self regulate when he’s out of my house?”
Bonus, halfway through our meeting time (which he has been sighing through the whole time) HE tells HER it’s time to go – and she obeys!
Example: He once took my phone off my desk (this is when I learned to lock it up) and shoved it down the front of his pants. Then, he said, “Hey, beautiful… you should go fishing for your phone.”
Then I met his mom.
“Well OF COURSE he doesn’t respect you. You’re a woman. The only woman a man should respect is his mommy“
She was failing all of her classes mainly because she didn’t think coming to school on time was the right thing to do.
We had a meeting with her and her mom after school and her mom wasn’t rude but let her daughter walk all over her. Her daughter was being her usual self at the meeting and at one point she asked her daughter to wait outside. She then said to us “I know it seems like she’s rude but she doesn’t mean to be. It’s just what she does when she is stressed out.” At that point it made so much sense why the student was like that.
Usually playful with others, but could have a mean streak. It all came to light when the step dad was called about the child’s behaviour. He stepped into the room, pulls off his belt, beckons the child over, then promptly hits him several times on front of everyone. Class was shocked and traumatized. CPS was called.
Mind you, this is a class of 3-year-olds. No 3-year-old can be “bad” if you ask me.
The girl struggled to make friends and she got frustrated very easily. She was always very good with me, though. I took the time to understand her needs and hear her out before making any decisions on her behalf, while the other teachers were simply used to brushing her off and ignoring her or sending her to the office because they didn’t want to put in any extra effort. One morning, the girl punched another kid’s parent in the leg and the preschool ended up “suspending” her because the parents were dramatic.
When the parents came to pick her up, her mom was like, “Looks like Dani gets to sit in the crib for the next three days.” I reported this to the office and directors, and they were like, “Oh she always says that to make us feel guilty about punishing her kid.” And then, when the kid came back to school, the mom reminded me, “Yep, Dani wasn’t allowed out of her crib for the past 3 days. She went potty when I said it was time to go potty. And if she peed herself, no dinner.” Again, I reported this, and still no action was taken. I knew these weren’t just empty claims because the kid literally wanted to eat every 5 minutes when she was at school with me. I stole extra snacks for her and let her chill with me during nap time while I ate my lunch.
When mom came to pick her up from school, I told her how wonderful her kid had been all day and asked her if they were doing anything special today after school. Mom said, “F that, I’m throwing her in bed as soon as we get home, I don’t want to deal with her crap all night.” She grabbed the girl’s arm and dragged her out of the classroom, and I was like, “Hey hey, watch her arm, you’re gonna rip it out of the socket.” She turned around and said, “Don’t tell me how to parent my kid, little girl.” I stormed back into the office, livid, picked up the phone, and called CPS to report it. The director came in like “What are you doing?”‘ And I was like, “Calling CPS and making a report.” And she was like, “You aren’t supposed to be in here.” She walked toward me like she was going to grab the phone from me, so I said, “If you so much as THINK about trying to stop me, I’ll let them know that you enabled the child’s abuser, and YOUR NAME will be the first defendant listed in a lawsuit.”
I reported it to CPS, mom came in the next morning crying about how CPS came to the house and is investigating her because of a claim someone made about her. I still hate that woman. The kid was eventually pulled from our school so I’m not sure what happened to her. I hope she’s safe now.
He’d punch a kid, get punched in return, and then complain that it wasn’t his fault. Except that he didn’t complain because he was so full of anger he couldn’t even explain himself.
He’s constantly run out of the classroom screaming because he was frustrated that he was unable to solve a question.
He told me one day he’d come to school with an axe because a student called him names.
Well, I wasn’t present when his mom came to school to talk about him, but I heard all about it. When she was told how her kid reacted and behaved in class and recess she flipped out, screamed from the top of her lungs, and drove off.
I don’t know if this is just adapted behaviour or if it’s genetics with a history of mental problems, but the kid was really damaged and we all felt really sorry for him.
Luckily we had a counsellor working at that school who was trained in these scenarios. She was able to work with him, and over time the outbursts lessened.
They always used ‘we’ and never ‘I.’ Met the parents. The dad was concerned about this behaviour because the mom was also a twin who never was apart from her own twin until after university and only started using ‘I’ after she started dating the dad in her mid twenties. Mom wanted her twins to aways be together because that’s how life had been for her. Dad wanted them to have the chance to individuals. Mom eventually realized dad was right and they were enrolled in separate elementary schools.