What to Do When Dealing with Difficult Parents

Here is some useful advice for dealing with overbearing parents of dance students.

Part of running a dance studio is dealing with the parents of your young students. Often, this can be a rewarding relationship, but you’ll run into the occasional parent who is not easy to handle. Most of the time, parents are nothing like the “dance moms” as they are portrayed on television.  However, having some tools to deal with parents who happen to have a strong personality can help you keep the peace, ensure a great performance and keep young students excited and engaged in dance. Here’s what to do when you encounter a parent who is a bit more difficult.

Stay Firm on the Rules

Many parents think their dancer is the best and most talented.  But remember you’re the teacher!  Stick to your rules, which should apply to all parents and dancers. Treat all the people involved with the same courtesy and hold them to the same guidelines regarding proper studio behavior.  Understand that you’re not going to make everyone happy.  You may even need to ask a parent to leave if they are interfering with the class.  However, using the same rules and guidelines for everyone helps to ensure each student grows to be the best that they can be.

Don’t Allow Constant Contact

Dance might be your chosen passion and career, but that doesn’t mean you can’t take time off and enjoy other parts of life. Make it clear to parents that you will only answer phone calls or texts during certain hours of the day. Don’t be tempted to cater to an overly involved parent and be on call at any time of the day or night. You are not getting paid when you’re not on the job, so this is where you should put your foot down. Have your staff agree to the same policy so that no one is being taken advantage of.

Expect Respect

There is no reason to let a parent walk all over you or your other instructors. Have a policy in place where you tell an angry, belligerent or otherwise unhappy parent that you will not be spoken to in such a way and that you can set up a time to talk when everyone has calmed down. It’s easy to get caught up in the moment, and you don’t want to jeopardize your business by saying something you don’t really mean. At the same time, you should expect dance parents to treat you kindly and respectfully.

Let Dancers be Responsible

Just because a parent is willing to spend all their time catering to their dancer doesn’t mean you have to do the same. Let your dancers be in charge of their own materials, and don’t spend all your time giving reminders and waiting around. This teaches your students to be ready when it’s time and that if they aren’t, they may lose privileges or miss some of the class. This is valuable for you because it lets you see which students you can count on and which ones may be less reliable.

As the owner of a business, you will always run into clients that are harder to deal with than others. You need to be able to stand firm and stick to your guns so that students and parents know what to expect. It’s important to have sound studio policies regarding how you’ll approach them.

Finally, don’t forget that you can easily send all your dancers your studio policies from The Studio Director.  Just let us know if you need assistance in sending out the studio policies to your dancers!