Communicating With Parents During Sensitive or Difficult Situations

About this resource
Reviewed: 2017

IEL Resource(s)

IEL Tip Sheet: Connecting with Parents: “But He Doesn’t Do That at Home!”

Online Resource(s)

Discussing Difficult Issues
This short article by the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources provides several things to consider when discussing difficult issues with parents.

Talking to Parents About Problems in Development
This article provided by Purdue University discusses the importance of communicating with parents about developmental concerns.

Effective Communication with Parents
This article on the Zero to Three website discusses three key steps to take after discussing difficult topics with parents.

Communicating Sensitively with Parents
This article provided by Purdue University gives general hints for talking with parents about sensitive issues.

Talking to Parents About Autism Kit
This kit from Autism Speaks contains the tools needed to initiate a dialogue with parents about their child’s development. Having this conversation with parents can make all the difference in a child’s life.

Family-Professional Partnerships
This CONNECT professional development module provides videos and other training materials to promote trusting partnerships with families.

Tips for Talking with Parents
This short article from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides a sample parent-teacher conversation and some tips for having difficult conversations with parents.

You Are Not Alone: For Parents When They Learn That Their Child Has a Disability
This article, written by a parent of a child with a disability, describes common reactions to learning that your child has a disability. Spanish

Tips for Child Care Providers to Communicate with Parents Concerns about Children’s Development
This article on the Extension website provides specific tips for communicating concerns with parents.

Organization(s)

Zero to Three
ZERO TO THREE is a national nonprofit organization that provides parents, professionals, and policymakers the knowledge and know-how to nurture early development.

National Center for Learning Disabilities
NCLD connects parents and others with essential resources, provides educators with evidence-based tools, and engages advocates in public policy initiatives

Additional Resource(s)

Building Positive Relationships with Parents of Young Children: A Guide to Effective Communication
Anita M. Hughes and Veronica Read
Routledge, 2012

How to Listen so Parents Will Talk and Talk so Parents Will Listen
John Sommers-Flanagan and Rita Sommers-Flanagan
Wiley & Sons, 2011

Parents and Professionals Partnering for Children With Disabilities: A Dance That Matters
Janice M. Fialka, Arlene K. Feldman, and Karen C. Mikus
Corwin, 2012

A Framework for Providing Culturally Responsive Early Intervention Services
Wendy Bradshaw
Young Exceptional Children, 2013

Connecting with Families: Tips for Those Difficult Conversations
Jodi Whiteman
Young Children, 2013

Talking to Families of Infants and Toddlers about Developmental Delays
Cindy Croft
Young Children, 2010