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Book Review: Dealing With Difficult Parents


Title: Dealing with Difficult Parents and With Parents in Difficult Situations, by Todd Whitaker and Douglas J. Fiore. Eye on Education, 2011.

Description: When parents and educators are at odds, no one wins – not the school and least of all the students. But when educators and parents/guardians work together, the educational experience is enhanced.

The book deals with the complicated relationship between teachers, principals and other educators and parents/guardians. It discusses tactics for winning parents over, developing a positive relationship and delivering bad news. It also provides guidance for how educators should respond when they’re accused of being unfair.

Bottom Line: Dealing with Difficult Parents is a valuable resource for teachers and principals who want to create a partnership with their students’ parents. While the beginning of the book at times feels like it’s pitting parents against teachers and administrators, clearly that isn’t the authors’ intent. Once Whitaker and Fiore begin to discuss building a relationship though regular, positive communication, everything begins to fall into place. The book reminds educators not only to stay above the fray, but also to celebrate positive things (instead of just contacting parents with negatives).

About the Authors: Todd Whitaker is an associate professor of educational leadership at Indiana State University in Terre Haute, Indiana. A former junior high and high school teacher, he knows firsthand about the challenges of dealing with parents. Douglas J. Fiore is also a former teacher as well as a former school principal. He’s the assistant dean of the College of Education at the State University of West Georgia.

How to Purchase:  Dealing With Difficult Parents retails for around $27 and is available through

Related resources

Q&A with the book's authors
Dealing With Angry Parents


Article by Sarah W. Caron, EducationWorld Social Media Editor
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