Approaching parents and caregivers with the intent to seek their involvement in problem-solving may well lessen attitudes of defensiveness and resistance. Assuming that parents and caregivers can and will play a role in problem-solving may help to boost self-confidence. When we seek to problem-solve a difficult situation we adopt an attitude and approach that communicates our belief in parents’ and guardians’ ability to play a key role in supporting their children.

By adopting a problem-solving approach, parents’ and caregivers’ perspectives and perceptions become part of a mass of information we gather and consider as a first step to finding effective strategies. Such information is considered neutrally and with open interest, a piece of the puzzle to examine and address. Blame and judgment are avoided. The goal is to support parents and caregivers in finding and implementing strategies to support their children in putting an end to bullying or harassment, including that based on inequity.

In the long run, strategies to interrupt bullying and inequity will only be effective when students are involved. Sometimes, problem-solving with parents and caregivers is a first step toward ensuring students’ collaboration and motivation to work toward this goal.

Saying it

The following phrase communicates the intention and desire to engage parents and caregivers in a problem-solving process:

"Thanks for sharing your view of the situation. Here are some other pieces of information that may be helpful. I feel confident that when we put this all together, we’ll both be in a better position to figure out how to approach this situation to make it better for all the children involved."

(For more examples and details about problem-solving with parents and caregivers, see Problem-solving Together.)