How to Talk to Parents about the Hard Stuff

Rochelle Ritzi, MS, LPC
Megan Krizan, M.Ed, LPC Intern,
Doctoral Counseling Student, under the supervision of
Brandy Schumann, PhD, LPCS,
 Difficult topics with staff and parents
 A practical look at personality
 The staff/parent (personality) you dread
 How different personalities can compliment or clash
 How to deliver difficult information so it can be
Behavioral problems
Usually a combination
Academic struggles
What is your uncensored reaction to
How would you like
difficult information
to be delivered to you?
Rejection and hassles
Criticism and ridicule
Doing things that are meaningless and unimportant
Stress and pain
Lott, L (n.d.); Nelson, Lott & Glenn (2000);
Positive Discipline (2011)
 If you dislike most:
 Rejection and hassles
 Criticism and ridicule
 Meaningless and unimportance
 Stress and Pain
 If you dislike most:
 Rejection & hassles
 You probably...
 Say yes and mean no
 Fear confrontation
 Give in easily
 Worry of being disliked
 Try to fix everything to
make others happy
Whine & complain
Work hard
Super reasonable
Are known to
accommodate and be
super reasonable
Make lists
 If you dislike most
 Criticism and ridicule
 You probably…
 Hold back your emotions
 Boss others
 Are organized
 Argue
 Get quiet and wait for
others to coax you
Do things yourself
Cover all bases before you
Complain, sigh,
Get angry, explain/defend
Engage in physical activity
Put up a wall
 If you dislike most:
 Doing things that are
meaningless and
 You probably...
 Overdo it, take on too much
 Worry about doing better
 Become the expert
 Seek advocates
 Fight to prove your point
 Can be stubborn
 Put down people or things,
including self
 Cry, scream, or complain to
others (about the absurdity
of life/others)
 Correct others
 Operate on “shoulds”
 If you dislike most:
 Stress and pain
 You probably…
 Make jokes, use humor often
 Intellectualize
 Do only things you already
do well
Avoid new experiences
Take the path of least
Leave sentences incomplete
Avoid risks
Hide so others don’t see
Complain, cry, scream
Micromanage and spoil
Don’t ask for help
Tuck into your shell, attack
like a snapping turtle
Close up your heart
 As a group, decide:
What concern/behavior/academic problem would be
most difficult to deliver? Why?
Which staff/parent/animal do you like working with
 To receive difficult information:
 Chameleons (pleaser) need:
 Feel cared for
 Approval
 Lions (control) need:
 Choices (help determine solution)
 To lead
 Asked how they feel
 Given time/space to process information
 Eagles (superiority) need:
To be recognized
To be thanked
Told they are right
Help getting started (with a small step)
 Turtle (comfort) need:
To not be interrupted
For you to invite their comments
Listened to
Know that you believe in them/their child
Eagle and an Eagle
Chameleon and a Turtle
Lion and Turtle
1. Child not ready for Kindergarten
2. Complaint against staff member
(impatient with child)
 Understand yourself
 Send a message of care
 Figure out what is needed by imagining same animal
in your life
 Use “similar” instead of “I think he has”
 Learn about your student’s parent(s)/guardian(s)
 Make notes after “meet the teacher”
 What “animal” are they?
 What do they need from you when hearing difficult
Therapy on the Square
114 E. Louisiana, Ste. 201
McKinney, TX 75069
972-886-8375 office
 How to Help a Child Grieve
 I Thought I Knew My Child… Keys to Understanding Your
Child’s Behavior
Discipline Can Be Positive! Learn How to Avoid Pitfalls in
How to Accept a Child When You Don’t Accept His/Her Behavior
How to Have Family (or Class) Meetings
Positive Discipline
Play – Understanding the Language of Children
Connecting and Redirecting: Understanding Misbehavior in
Your Classroom and What to Do About It.
Lott, L. (n.d.). Retrieved August 20, 2011, from
Nelson, J., Lott, L., & Glenn, S. (2000). Positive discipline in the classroom.
(3rd ed.). New York, NY: Three Rivers Press.
Positive Discipline. (2011). Retrieved August 20, 2011, from

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