Why Principals Must Build Relationships with Parents

principals build relationships with parents
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Much has been made about the need for teachers to foster healthy relationships with the parents of their students. Likewise, a principal must seek out opportunities to build cooperative relationships with parents.  Though the relationship between principal and parents are much more distant than the relationship between teacher and parents, there is still considerable value there.  Principals who embrace the opportunity to build the relationships with parents will find it to be a worthwhile investment. 

Relationships Build Respect

Parents may not always agree with your decisions, but when they respect you, it makes those disagreements easier.  Garnering parental respect helps to make those tough decisions a little easier. Principals are not perfect, and all their decisions will not turn to gold. Being respected gives principals a little latitude when they do fail. Furthermore, if the parents respect you, the students will respect you.  This alone makes any time invested in building relationships with parents worthwhile.

Relationships Build Trust 

Trust is sometimes the most difficult thing to earn. Parents are often skeptical. They want to know that you have the best interests of their children at heart.  Trust happens when parents bring issues or concerns to you and know when they leave your office that it is going to be addressed. The benefits of earning a parent’s trust are fantastic. Trust gives you the leeway to make decisions without looking over your shoulder, worrying about being questioned, or having to defend it. 

Relationships Allow for Honest Feedback

Perhaps the biggest benefit of having a relationship with parents is that you can solicit feedback from them on a wide variety of school-related issues.  A good principal seeks out honest feedback. They want to know what works well, but they also want to know what needs to be fixed.  Taking this feedback and examining it further can spark great changes in a school. Parents have great ideas. Many will never express those ideas because they do not have a relationship with a principal.  Principals must be okay with asking the tough questions, but also receiving the tough answers.  We may not like everything we hear, but having feedback can challenge the way we think and ultimately make our school better.

Relationships Make Your Job Easier

A principal’s job is difficult.  Nothing is predictable. Each day brings about new and unexpected challenges.  When you have healthy relationships with parents, it simply makes your job easier.  Calling a parent about a student discipline issue becomes much easier when there is a healthy relationship there.  Making decisions, in general, become easier when you know that parents respect you and trust you enough to do your job that they are not going to be beating down your door and questioning your every move.

Strategies for Principals to Build Relationships with Parents

Principals spend a large amount of time after school at extra-curricular activities. This is a great opportunity to reach out and build informal relationships with parents.  Great principals are adept at finding common ground or mutual interests with almost any parent.  They can talk about anything from the weather to politics to sports.  Having these conversations helps parents see you as a real person and not just as a figurehead for the school.  They see you in part as the person who really likes the Dallas Cowboys as opposed to the guy that’s out to get my kid. Knowing something personal about you will make it easier to trust and respect you.

One simple strategy for building relationships with parents is to randomly call 5-10 parents each week and ask them a short series of questions about the school, their children’s teachers, etc.  Parents will love that you took the time to ask them their opinion. Another strategy is a parent’s luncheon.  A principal can invite a small group of parents to join them for lunch to talk about key issues the school is dealing with.  These luncheons can be scheduled on a monthly basis or as needed.  Utilizing strategies like these can really solidify relationships with parents.

Finally, schools are almost always forming committees on a variety of school-related topics. These committees should not be limited to school personnel. Inviting parents and students to serve on a committee brings a different perspective that can be beneficial for everyone.  Parents get to be a part of the inner workings of the school and provide their stamp on their child’s education. Principals are able to utilize this time to continue to build relationships and solicit a perspective they may not have otherwise been given.

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Your Citation
Meador, Derrick. "Why Principals Must Build Relationships with Parents." ThoughtCo, Apr. 5, 2023, thoughtco.com/why-principals-must-build-relationships-with-parents-3956178. Meador, Derrick. (2023, April 5). Why Principals Must Build Relationships with Parents. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/why-principals-must-build-relationships-with-parents-3956178 Meador, Derrick. "Why Principals Must Build Relationships with Parents." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/why-principals-must-build-relationships-with-parents-3956178 (accessed June 8, 2023).