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October 1, 2022

Parent Archetypes: The Universal Monster Edition

A familiar and fearsome name appears in your inbox. We bet you know that feeling of sheer terror. It’s an e-mail whose subject line makes your blood run cold. No, it’s not another after-school meeting. It’s not even the announcement of a new state requirement or anything about budget cuts.

This message takes spookiness to a new and more dastardly level. Yep, this dreaded e-mail is from a parent. Do you feel the goosebumps rising on your skin? That sharp chill running up and down your spine? Who is the parent archetype rapping at your chamber door?

Dracula Dad

Dracula embodies an equal balance of confidence and mystique. The baritone resonance of that Romanian accent enhances his charming facade, no doubt. But what lies beneath that pop-collared cape? Is that blood dripping off those suspiciously knife-like canines?

This parent is a one-person Trojan Horse—an individual who bears the façade of trust and friendliness only to drain your life-force once the opportunity arises.

The Mummy Mommy

This Egyptian enigma is wound tight. No, we’re not talking about the bandages. The Mummy Mommy epitomizes what it means to be a stickler. The trouble is, that scrutiny doesn’t fall on the teacher; it’s the kid who feels the vice-grip of academic pressure.

As de facto shepherds of their children’s academic performance, Mummy Mommies may offer unwelcomed input on the hour-by-hour schedule, or they may question why their kid doesn’t get round-the-clock individualized attention. And that’s only what the teacher experiences. At home, the kid must undergo whatever academic decathlons the parent deems fit to increase test scores. All the while, this parent misses the point: State assessments pale in comparison to the importance of intellectual curiosity, social growth, and finding joy in learning.

The Caregiver from the Black Lagoon

Amphibious and carnivorous, the Caregiver from the Black Lagoon lurks about the ocean floor with a distinct purpose. As it belly-surfs along the bedrock, this gilled creature will do anything to ensure its child lives a struggle-free life inside and outside of the classroom. And we mean anything, no matter what it costs in the long run.

The Caregiver from the Black Lagoon doesn’t have much in the way of expectations. Not because they don’t love and respect their child. Really, it’s the exact opposite of that. This parent often acquiesces to their child’s every desire. It’s that overly permissive parenting style that translates to classroom chaos. In other words, if the kid gets everything they want at home, they’ll expect the same at school.

The Invisible Mom

OK, serious question: Does the Invisible Mom exist? If your unanswered e-mails, text messages, and meeting invitations provide any indication, it doesn’t seem that way. This parent might be a person with a demanding schedule, or they might not place much value in communicating with their kid’s teacher.

While reasons vary, and while teachers can certainly sympathize with having overwhelming responsibilities, the parent–teacher relationship is still vital to any student’s success. In the end, stonewalled communication means the Invisible Mom misses vital information that impacts their student’s educational outcomes. Knowledge is power—and you stand ready to pass on that power the moment the Invisible Mom unveils herself.

Frankenstein’s Mother

The Universal Monster poster child, this bolt-necked creature epitomizes the disasters brought about when scientific acumen meets dark ambition. In terms of the parent– teacher relationship, Frankenstein’s Mother is most related to the Lawnmower Parent. In short, these moms and dads aim to run down any obstacle, adversity, or hardship their children may encounter.

This M.O. may sound noble at first, almost sweet. But as tough as they are, struggle and failure are key elements not only in the learning process, but also in a young person’s development as a fully realized human being.

The Wolfdad

Blame it on the full moon if you want, but this parent’s mood swings are a beast. A big, yellow-eyed, sharp-clawed, fur-covered beast, to be exact. We’re talking about the really, really volatile shifts in attitude that bring new meaning to the word unexpected.

When a parent has one body, but a rogue gallery of personalities, how do you expect to make progress with the parent–teacher relationship? To that end, how can you improve their child’s experience in your classroom? If only there were a silver bullet to smooth parent–teacher communications!

Forming Partnerships with Parents

We say all this in jest, of course. But there’s no question that not every parent–teacher relationship is so easy-breezy. If serving as an educator means forming healthy relationships with students, then we better start talking about working with parents to nurture students’ academic and social growth.

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