Supporting Parents and grandparents who are invasive

Your Question:

“How do I deal with parents or grandparents who regularly want to come into the classrooms and be with their children?”

The Issues:

The “invasive” tendency of parents or grandparents could stem from a healthy deep concern for their child’s safety or spiritual growth; or from a need to control every environment their child experiences. The best steps to deal with “invasive” parents or grandparents are communication and firm policy restrictions. You may need to set the boundaries personally with the parents or grandparents. This may possibly offend them, but you need to protect the ministry environment above all else.

Scripture Foundation:

“Shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you; not for shameful gain, but eagerly.”  1Peter 5:2

Short Answer:

Once you understand the foundational reason for a parent or grandparent’s desire to come into the classroom, you can better address that need. Ask God to help you understand the purpose behind the “invasive” tendency. Parents or grandparents in the room is not necessarily a bad thing, but it does change the “tone” of the environment. Many children behave differently when their parents or grandparents are in the room. This may be represented by the child’s reservation to speak or interact with others. A child whose parent or grandparent is in the room may appear to behave better, but this “better” behavior may stem from a fear to “get in trouble.” If a parent or grandparent wants to see what goes on in the classroom, that should be permitted once. Your “parent or grandparent visitation policy” should clearly set boundaries and guidelines for these visitations. You can keep an “invasive” parent or grandparent in control by setting a clear policy for visitations. Your policy can simply permit a parent or grandparent to visit a room once. That visitation should be done through a process of “clearing” the visitor by having them check in at the CM office or information table. Then, the visitor fills out some basic information. Some churches ask to keep the visitor’s driver’s license or other picture ID while he/she is in the room.  The visitor is given a “Visitor Badge” (a sticker or clip-on badge that identifies him/her as a visitor. This formal process tends to limit a parent or grandparent’s desire to repeat the visit. Once “checked in,” the parent or grandparent should be ushered to the room by a CM team member. At the room, the CM team should have a chair in the back of the room that is designated for a visitor. The visitor must be instructed to stay seated in the chair at all times. If the visitor gets up and wants to walk around the room, he/she should be asked to remain seated. If he/she repeats this behavior, he/she should be asked to leave the room. If the parent or grandparent asks to visit the room next week, he/she should be told that the visitation policy permits only one visitation. Make sure to stand firm as you support this policy.  Appeal to the parent or grandparent’s understanding that this policy is for the protection of the ministry environment. Tell him/her that you need to protect the safety and focus of the children by limiting visits by other adults. If the parent or grandparent doesn’t understand, invite him/her to talk with the CM director or associate pastor. Make sure to inform the associate pastor regarding the visitation policy and prepare him/her for the parent or grandparent’s comments.  In your mind and policies, always do “what’s best for the children” no matter what the reactions might be from others. For more help, click on the links below.

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