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How to Deal With Angry Parents

It’s Thursday and maybe you had some drama in your youth program last night. Did I say maybe? There’s always something going on, sometimes it’s big, sometimes it’s small and sometimes it’s nuclear, like an angry parent. I have had my share of conversations with parents who were not happy with me because of a game we played or something I said. Those conversations did not always go well. The good news is I grew up, had kids of my own and gained perspective. Now, you may not be there yet, but you can still minister to parents with grace and love.

Whether you get a call on Wednesday night or Thursday morning, there is way to handle the angry parents that will not make matters worse. Here are my tips for dealing with the not-too-happy adult.

1. Listen

Whether the parent calling is justified to be angry or not, they simply want to heard. You will feel the need to be defensive, but I encourage you to resist that temptation as it can only make the situation worse.

2. Evaluate

Work through the statements being made. Are they of genuine concern, or is it a venting session. If it’s option two, see tip number one. If it is a genuine concern, be empathetic. Share their concern, and don’t just pass it off as another parents who does not “get me.”

3. Take Action

There are lots of options here you can take to show the parent you are genuinely concerned. Offer to:

  • sit down and talk about the situation.
  • tell them you will look into it (and then look into and get back with them asap).
  • agree with them if they are right, and make changes.
  • ask for their input as to how they think the situation should be addressed.

4. Look for the Win/Win

Sometimes an angry parent can rattle us, especially if we’re new to our job, but that does not mean anyone has to lose. Confrontation is not fun, but it can be an opportunity to win over and minister to parents. Whatever happened at youth group may not be the main issue, it may just be the last straw of an already stressed out life. Look at it as a ministry opportunity. Look for the win, not just in the moment but for the future as well.

How about you? What are some of your tips for dealing with angry or concerned parents?