After receiving an irate parent email, here’s how to begin to turn around the situation and make that parent a new friend.

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  1. Write a draft response.
    • Don’t hit reply. Open a NEW DRAFT.
    • Don’t send.
    • Go to bed.
    • Review in the morning when you’re less emotional.
  2. Send an NEW email to the parent requesting a phone number and a good time to call.
  3. When you’re calm, make the phone call and get the parent on the line.
  4. While on the call…
    • Open the call by asking them to clarify their email
    • Try to understand their perspective.
      • Rephrase their perspective in your words
      • You may be wrong. If so, apologize.
      • You also have the right to disagree, but NEVER have a pissing contest. Be firm on policy being for the benefit of the kids.
      • Remember: They just want to be heard.
      • Apologize only for the things that you mean to apologize for. Don’t just apologize to shut them up. This doesn’t help you.
      • If you disagree, explain to them how your side benefits THEM/THEIR CHILD. Never talk about the benefits to you or your program. They’re more likely to understand your perspective if they see the benefits for them!
    • PRO TIP: “While I have you on the phone…I’d like your opinion on something…” (Ben Franklin Effect)
    • GOAL: Leave as friends.

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