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The helicopter parent is the parent who hovers around bantering and yelling at their child. They might also be negatively pointing out other children. While you're trying to teach class, they're yelling out on the sidelines.

You don't want to stop the parents from watching. But you might have to remind them of the rules and procedures of your school and how you should act and treat children and other children. There are many ways of approaching this topic.

The last thing you want to do is to totally alienate them.

1.      Make it a bit of a joke. "Oh, would you like to teach class?" Though some may take this the wrong way. In a public environment, we have that phrase "reprimand in private, praise in public."

2.      Have a chat with the class but direct it to the parents. Say, "Parents, don't forget. Everyone's here to enjoy their journey. How about you guys throw out some great, positive compliments." Just do it as a blanket approach, that way you're not singling out any one person but generally, they should pick up on that vibe.

Unfortunately, some parents can make it very uncomfortable for other parents to be around. Equally the same, they could be directing some of the comments not only at their son or daughter, but they could also be affecting some of the other kids' journeys as well. And that's something that you obviously need to take seriously and address straight away. Mostly, being very clear with the expectations is key, but some parents get excited and they forget. Sometimes you have to manage the kids. Sometimes you have to manage the parents.  

3.      Just remind them that enthusiasm is one thing that is celebrated at our school, but obviously some parents get a little bit overzealous.

4.      If the parent is not getting the message, you can step up your approach by going out and quietly having a chat. Sometimes sit beside them and just ask or even point it out. "Hey, look, your son or daughter is doing a fantastic job, but we'd really appreciate it if you kept your voice down.

Again, they could be negative in their comments. They could also be positive, but it's just too loud. For example, when the kids are sparring and they're doing a good job, and they are doing a fantastic job and the parents are yelling, "Kick him! Kick the other kid!" Obviously, from a parent's perspective, they're encouraging their child, but they're not encouraging the other kid. The other parents can get a bit teed off with that. These are the things we've got to be mindful of.

5.      If you still have a problem, then it’s time to go do the office chat. Book an appointment with the parents to have the chat outside of class and in the office.

The office chat, one on one, is just to dive a little bit deeper and find out the reasons why they're doing this and if you can improve or change their view. Base it on you have been doing this for a long time. That office chat is very, very important. When you delve that little bit deeper, and it's got to be coming out as a good thing. That whole emotion of leaving the meeting with a smile on your face and a handshake. That's got to happen.

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Sensei's Corner

Episode 002 Helicopter Parents
Dealing With Helicopter Parents
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