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Your instant tip on managing offensive behaviour

Principals

Strategies

Tough conversations

By Michael Hawton

23rd August, 2016

The latest report on principals’ work life shows that parents are among the main offenders when it comes the incidence and severity of abusive behaviour towards school leaders.

A parent's exception to a decision you've made is often reflective of parents emotional investment in the parent-child dynamic.  Clearly, there are times when you may need to manage how a parent is behaving, without yelling back at them.  

A handy all-purpose come back can be useful way to regain control of an unexpected and confrontational situation. Look them straight in the eye and say,  

"You must have had a pretty bad day to feel the need to say something like that to me.  Do you feel better now? " 

In expressing empathy you’ve accomplished three things: 

  • You’ve addressed and deflected the offense.

  • You’ve maintained your dignity and tried to speak to the intention behind the insult.

  • You’ve diffused heightened emotions and are keeping the dialogue open and constructive. 

In the upcoming Tough Conversations workshops, I want to show you a host of other ways to manage difficult moments with people as well as how to produce productive outcomes when people breach expectations or behave badly.

About the author

Michael Hawton is the founder of Parentshop, providing education and resources for parents and industry professionals working with children. He has authored two books on child behaviour management: Talk Less Listen More and Engaging Adolescents.

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