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The “Blaming” Parent

 —  October 29, 2013 — 1 Comment

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You thought that youth program had gone well that night. The small group discussion touched on a difficult topic, but it truly felt like the Lord spoke through you. The kids had been so responsive. When you didn’t know an answer to their question you told them. As a group you wrestled with some deep thoughts.

The next morning you get a call from Mrs. Smith. “What did you teach on last night?”  she asked. You are confused, knowing her daughter Roya probably had told her. For a few minutes you explain. Mrs. Smith goes on,  “I didn’t appreciate it at all. You really messed Roya up. You gave her a lot of misinformation.”

Continuing, Mrs. Smith transitions from calm to accusatory. “You shouldn’t teach a small group anymore. I heard you don’t even teach the Bible and just give the students your opinion on life.” The conversation ends with Mrs. Smith informing you her next call is to “the pastor,” for you are only “part-time anyway”. Not only does Mrs. Smith call the pastor, she starts calling all of her friends in the church.

Your “boss” supports you. He doesn’t feel like you have done anything wrong. When you talk to him, you give him every angle of the conversation from the last evening. Now your integrity has come into question from several of the parents.  You don’t want to talk to your friends about it, because they are in the church as well and you don’t want to be divisive.

Sound extreme? I think many of us have had a variation of this experience.

How do you handle Mrs. Smith?
Pray for her:

Our feelings are crushed in these types of situations. We would love to just crawl in a hole and die. Hurting people hurt people, even in the church. Our feelings may be crushed, but there is a deeper reason here. We don’t want  to lose Roya, so we need to learn how to deal with Mrs. Jones. Pray.

 The Rule of Twos:

Is this a pattern with Mrs. Smith?  Does she call often and blame you for something? Offer to sit down with her with leadership that is “above” you. Approach your Senior leadership, and ask them how they would like you to proceed. When your “boss” has your back then you can know how to move forward.

Face to Face Meetings: 

Make sure that any phone call is followed up with a face to face meeting. (See The Rule of Twos)

Email Communications:

If she interacts with you on an email, CC any contact with her to your senior leadership.  Avoid written communication as much as possible.  While it does create a “paper trail,” it also can miscommunicate your intentions easily.

How do we avoid having these conversations in the first place?  Over-communicate to parents on EVERYTHING (more on this tomorrow.)  Sometimes we can’t avoid them, and that makes us sad.

How have you handled the “blaming parent?”

Leneita

@leneitafix

Leneita Fix

Leneita Fix

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Leneita Fix is the Director of Ministry Development for Aslan Youth Ministries, a family focused urban ministry serving Monmouth County New Jersey and Haiti. She has been working in some form of youth and family ministry for almost 22 years. In addition she has launched the coaching and resource organization, Front Line Urban Resources with Jeffrey Wallace serving those who work with families living in survival mode. The early years were spent in camp ministry, suburban and rural youth groups. With the Lord’s moving the last 17 of those years have been spent ministering in three different urban areas to primarily unchurched families (New Jersey, Virginia, Florida back to New Jersey). Her responsibilities have included Bible based program direction for children ages 5-18, curriculum writing, staff training and recruiting, discipleship, resource creation and speaking to national audiences. Her passion is to raise up workers in practical, relationship-driven methods while remaining in the trenches with the youth and families she loves. Her goal is to help others understand every student living in a survival mindset can and will be transformed in Christ. One of her greatest joys is serving in ministry as a family with her husband three wonderful children, and her niece. Simply she resides among her friends in the city just living life as a family that loves being there. You can contact her at leneitafix@aslanyouth.org.

One response to The “Blaming” Parent

  1. I would also add, “Give her the benefit of doubt” concept. Is she going through a tough time? I had a parent one time thrash me in front of people because I didn’t reach out to her son enough. I listened to her, affirmed her and followed-up with her because her husband just took a job and would be gone for weeks at a time. She was going through a lot and so maybe she needed the benefit of doubt in this instance.

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