All of my jobs have in some way always involved making sure the parents of my participants are happy (with the exception of when I used to waitress at my student nation the year I lived in Europe…then it was keeping the drunks happy). Teaching, camp, being a referee…ultimately the parents need to be happy.
Sometimes parents are wonderful – you let them know about their child’s successes and struggles and they’re receptive and so thankful you’ve taken the time to get to know their child.
Some parents are indifferent. Those can be bad in their own way.
Some parents are downright aggressive and rude. They’ll get in your face even when you ask them politely not to do something (example – please don’t take pictures at camp because we have some campers who can’t be photographed). I’m just doing my job, step off. I can understand parents getting angry when something has happened – I can even understand the ‘how dare you say my child punched another child’ to a point. But sometimes…I just don’t get the attitude. I’ve asked you politely and I”m just doing my job.
My camps have a strict no volunteers policy. It’s a blanket statement. That means when camp starts unless you are a staff you have to leave. I have a very strict code of policies and procedures that govern my work. I’m just doing my job. Unfortunately, I’m still at an age where most parents look down on me in the sense that I am not their equal. Never mind the two degrees I hold, nor the fact that I’ve already paid off my student loans less than 1 year our of school and am saving for a house. Never mind that I have over a decade of experience in childcare already because I started babysitting and reffing little kids soccer games at the age of 12. To them, I am not a fellow parent and add in that it is often hard to peg my age (I’ve had people guess anywhere from 17 to 30). Now in a camp situation most figure I’m likely at least in university (supervisors wear different shirts from the counsellors), but they seem to misjudge the wealth of experience I have backing me up. Again – I realize I don’t have kids of my own. My experiences are going to be very different in that regard and I respect that. I do. But it’s amazing to see the difference in reaction when parents find out more about the experience I do have.
I suppose it’s just one of those things and until I have children of my own, I won’t be able to be on that level with the parents of my campers/students. I do wish they would at least recognize that I’m just doing my job when I tell/ask them something.
Ah well – there will always be people giving you grief no matter what your job is and who you are.