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Parent Conference from Hell


New Member
I just had one of the worst conferences in my life. Have a child who has been writing on the walls, talking about sex with other students, hanging on the doors in the bathroom stalls, you name it. The parents said I was overreacting and if their child was expelled from school because of me I was "going to hear about it". I mentioned student was showing signs of ADHD and the father started yelling (and I do me yelling) at me that I'm not qualified to make that decision, that I have no qualifications, and he doesn't want to hear that ****. I asked him to leave the classroom and told him the conference was over. He wouldn't leave but I did manage to get him calmed down somewhat. The mother says the child is going through puberty (she's 9!) and that her behavior is the result of the vapors! Please!!! I've only recently (3 hours later) stopped shaking after the way the father was carrying on. I was really scared he was going to hit me. I'm sorry, just had to get it off my chest.

Jennifer in OK

Senior Member

Document everything - write everything you can remember about what was said, who said it, etc. Also, when a conference is scheduled again with this parent, request an administrator be present. You shouldn't have to be verbally abused. It seems you can see though how the child got to the point they are at.


Full Member

I cannot believe the way some parents act during conferences. It does make you realize the old "apple doesn't fall far from the tree" saying is really true.
You were right to try to end the conference. There is absolutely no reason that we as teachers (or human beings) should be treated that way.
Make sure you have another person, preferably administration with you EVERY time you deal with these parents again, phone or face to face.
Other than that...start the count down, summer is coming soon!


Senior Member

Sorry you had an awful day. Mine will be tomorrow.
What the heck are the "vapors"? Please don't have another conference without administration present. You have to be careful how you word things in a conference. I know its tough but try to stay positive. Ask them questions without being too personal. Like "I'm noticing Sally has difficulty staying in her seat when we work on reading aloud." "Do you notice her having difficulty at home when she does her homework"? The ADHD word isn't something to bring up because parents have heard about this these days. They jump to conclusions sometimes. Your parent was out of line for sure though. I would refer to what you 'see' not what you think it may 'be'. Parents sometimes don't know what normal behavior is, they just think their kid is ok because that's all they know. They don't have the experience with 100s or 1000s of kids like we do nor do most have the educational background teachers have. Your student is probably in a disfunctional family by the actions of this dad. She is too young to be talking about sex, I think. This is a sign there could be some kind of abuse-maybe. How about having her referred to your school's team. Agree with the dad about maybe not having all the qualifications to diagnose their daughter. But something is going on and maybe have the team of experts at your school try to find her some help.
Or since its late in the year-count the days left with her. They have her the rest of her life, you have about 20 days.?
Its hard being yelled at and it shouldn't happen to you again. Let your principal know what happened before psycho dad gets to him/her first and blows everything out of proportion. Good luck. Try to relax and take care of yourself. You did nothing wrong. Maybe a bubble bath or hot tub would help. :)


sounds rough

Wow - sounds rough. You may want to check out the laws in your state though. In my state, we are not allowed to say a child is showing signs of any specific disability - because we are not legally able to identify a kid. We are only allowed to identify specific behaviors.

Sounds like dad's is really wired explosive. I'd get a backup person in any future conferences, tape them or video them, and good luck in the future.


Full Member
ADHD mention-- be careful!

At our school (and in college) we have been taught to NEVER say "I believe your child may have._____." Supposedly, if we, as a representative of our school district, make that statement, the district could be required to pay for the medical diagnosis if pursued. (I teach in a very low income district. Parents here would do that kind of thing.)

It is so difficult to "pussyfoot" around the words sometimes though!!!!


Senior Member
I Know Exactly How You Feel.

I had a horrible parent last year that actually came to my classroom and yelled at me in front of my students. I was so shaken up and surprised. I was so shaky as I tried to explain to my class what had happened. I told them that Mary's mommy was very upset with me and that I didn't know why.I am so happy for you that the end of the year is near.


Senior Member
Parent conferences

That is horrible and should never be tolerated. I experienced some horrible conferences over the years. I once had a parent come to a conference high as a kite and extremely confrontational. I was scared to death of this parent for the rest of the year. NOT FUN! I also had a parent come to our Open House one year drunk as a skunk and with his kid!!! I called my principal who got him out of my room while I talked to the kid. The police were called because he wanted to leave with his son (drive) and wasn't allowed and that made him mad. It was a mess!! Luckily, the kid ended up with the grandmother (mom had died previously) and dad "went away for awhile".


Senior Member
Mrs. CLB

Mrs. CLB is right about the comment she made about telling parents that you feel their child has... That is what we have been told as well. I always present those cases like this: A couple of days prior to a parent conference I will make an effort to keep notes for about an hour each day of what life in the classroom with child A is like. Ex: at 7:30 put backpack in locker and did not unpack (it's MAy!!!) 7:45 - sitting staring got on task, stacking markers, 8:05 - under desk, 8:10 on top of desk, etc.. You get the idea. This is always a real eye opener.

Now about this parent - please never meet with these parents again unless you have admin present. I would further tell my admin about this conference and let them know that if they come to school they should not be allowed to go to your room without admin present. It infuriates me that teachers no longer get the respect that they once did. And for them to be covering up for their kid is just heartbreaking becasue she will grow up to be a reflection of her parents. No responsibility no consequences.

c green


'The vapors' are something that cause Confederate belles to come over all dizzy in old novels. I didn't know anyone born after 1880 suffered from them. I think it has something to do with the supposed internal causes of hysteria. Not exactly a real illness, in any case.


Junior Member
Vapors and more

Yes, vapors were something southern belles had. Mostly because of corsets that were too tight and heat and humidity.

ADHD suspects: I loved the idea about documenting all the weird behavior.

Meetings: It's best to always have an adminstrator or even another teacher at the meeting. That way there's always a witness. And do DOCUMENT everything that was said and done. ALSO, if you are going to be listing many of the child's difficulties, bring in other teachers that also see the child and have problems with him/her. Bring in the art, music, p.e. teachers or a teacher assistant or tutor that works with the child. Then you are building a case that it's not just YOU having a problem with the child, but across the board.