Treat pushy parents like petulant children - childcare guru

File photo / Thinkstock
File photo / Thinkstock

As the author of a best- selling book on childcare, she is known for helping parents cope with teething, toddlers and tantrums.

Now Gina Ford is turning her hand to a new task - telling teachers how to deal with pushy parents. And the key to her advice? Treat them just like demanding children.

Miss Ford, who has divided mothers with her ultra-strict advice, insists difficult parents must be taught the importance of "boundaries" and be treated with a "fair but firm" hand.

She told the Times Educational Supplement in the UK: "Applying good boundaries to a pushy parent is just as necessary as applying good boundaries to a demanding child.

"A pushy or demanding parent needs to understand that he or she can't fundamentally alter the way the school operates.

"Good schools will work with the parent to improve communication and resolve matters successfully, but being fair but firm may be the only way to deal with a really demanding parent."

Former maternity nurse Miss Ford, who does not have children of her own, is a pioneer of the controversial "controlled crying" technique for babies - where children are left to cry themselves to sleep.

The parenting expert's latest book, The Contented Baby Goes To School, suggests teachers use a similar tough-love approach with clingy parents who struggle to leave their children when they first start school.

She discourages mothers and fathers from lingering over goodbyes or watching their youngsters through classroom windows, claiming that while this can be comforting for parents, it is likely to unsettle their child. She went on to say: "Starting school is a huge milestone in the life of a child.

"But it is very easy to underestimate what a big thing having a child starting school can be for a parent.

"Those parents who are particularly demanding when their children start school are sometimes just particularly anxious.

"Hopefully teachers will have a well thought through policy in place if a parent's anxieties are reflecting on to their child.

"Talk to all parents about how to manage leaving their child, and set ground rules for the whole class.

"This will help teachers avoid singling out one parent who lingers over farewells and finds it hard to leave."

She added: "The parent ultimately just wants to be heard. By listening, one can demonstrate that their concerns, whether valid or not, are being met with consideration.

"Adapting to a significant change takes time for adults as well as small children."

- Daily Mail

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