Types of Difficult Parents and How to Deal with Them

As home tuition has grown its popularity in Singapore over the years and even becoming a billion-dollar industry, there is also an abundance of home tutors hoping to make tutoring a career. These home tutors offer help for a variety of subjects as well as the convenience of coming to the homes of the students and according to their schedules. Parents are also aware of the benefits their children will reap when enrolling their children to tuition that goes beyond the scope of just academic excellence but also teaching them valuable lessons in time management, discipline, effective study habits, and exam taking techniques.

But aside from dealing with the students and helping them achieve their academic goals, tutors also have to deal with their parents. For most tuition, it will be the parents who will hire a tutor for their children. That being said, tutors don’t just have to give lessons to the student but also keep their parents in the loop and work together with them to maximize learning even without the tutor’s help.

But considering that there are many personalities and behaviors in students that tutors will meet, the same goes for their parents. Tutors will meet many types of people in their career and it’s inevitable that they might also meet some of the worst kinds of parents — the difficult ones.

In this article, we’ll talk about the types of difficult parents that tutors may meet along the way and the best response to them.

1. The Demanding Ones

These are the types of parents that care more about grades more than anything else. They mostly are the ones that pressure students to follow a certain example, may it be their footsteps or someone great that they know, and set certain expectations for their children.

While everyone wants to excel in a certain field and gain good grades, that doesn’t mean that it should be prioritized over the children’s well-being. Remember that at the end of the day, students are still mostly growing people and shouldn’t be subjected to such expectations that they can’t grow socially or emotionally anymore.

How to Deal with Them: These cases may not be easy to spot at first but after a while, tutors may have a clue when the parent constantly interrupts lessons or their child’s progress to give way for their demands. The tutors should be firm and not let the parents demands determine how the student should be given tuition.

Explain to the parents the tuition given will be based on the student’s current level and that jumping into something they are not ready for will defeat the purpose of the tuition itself. Let them understand that getting the grades they desire is a process and students will benefit more if they learn at their own pace.

However, do not also express that the student should be in the lower level or their current one until the tutor fully recognize the parent’s possible involvement with the issue that could be holding the student back. In this scenario, the tutors can speak with the parents and help each other to motivate the student better.

Communication is important in tuition and the same goes when dealing with demanding parents. Let them understand that the student’s needs should come first so they can improve and determine how their studies will progress from there.

2. The “My Child Can Do No Wrong” Ones

These days, many tutors will find it quite common for parents to blame them when the student doesn’t get their desired grades. These parents blame the child’s failure to attain their goals on the tutor, even if the reason may not even be related to the tuition.

While it’s important for parents to have their children’s back especially with their academics, it’s also important to fully understand that there can be other issues hindering their progress. Or even they are improving but just not enough to reach their desired grades. Sometimes, the issue may even be with the grading in itself.

How to Deal with Them: For defensive parents, and even just any parent in general, it’s always a good idea to give progress reports with regards to their child’s improvement. Aside from being open about their progress, speak with the parents about the student’s weaknesses also and which areas they need improvement.

While still remaining positive with their progress, also suggest an action plan in dealing with the student’s weak areas and how this action plan can help them reach their dreams or goals. As such, the tutor should also involve the parent in the action plan. Ask for their suggestions or opinions. That way, they can fully understand that in reaching their child’s academic goals, it will be a team effort and there shouldn’t only be one person to blame.

3. The Helicopter Ones

As the term suggests, they are the types of parents that are constantly hovering over their child and the tutor. They may even interrupt the lessons to talk to the tutor about their child’s progress. Or they distract the child by constantly nagging at them or coaching them how to do things while in a tuition session.

While parents should be actively involved in their children’s academic progress, too much involvement can also backfire and distract the child to actually achieving their goals. No one wants to have someone constantly breathing at the back of their neck while they try to understand a difficult concept that they have trouble understanding in school.

How to Deal with Them: Tutors in general standard should be able to let the parents know they are open for questions or concerns about their child’s progress. However, if the parent does this at any given time to the point that it interferes with the tuition, the tutor should also respond accordingly. Listen to their concerns and reassure them the tuition is going well and their concerns may be just minor.

Again, be firm when speaking with them. They may be the ones that hired you but a tutor has a job to do and that is helping the student. If they constantly hover around and distract the tuition, they also will not be helping their child’s case.

If their concern is important, set a schedule (may it be before or after the session) to discuss it with you. Then, the tutor and the parent can work together and formulate a plan to go about the parent’s concern and create a plan of action.

4. The Ghost Ones

Whereas helicopter parents are overly involved with their child’s academics and tuition, ghost parents are the opposite, having less to no involvement. There can be many reasons why parents like this aren’t actively involved in their child’s studies such as being busy with work or other responsibilities. Unfortunately, while some of them have valid reasons, their lack of support can still have an effect to the student and more often than not, it’s negative.

How to Deal with Them: In our previous article about reluctant parents, we’ve talked about the many ways to get the involved in the student’s studies. The tutor can communicate with the parent about their child’s progress continuously or as expected when giving progress reports.

They can talk with the parents about setting a time where they can openly talk about the student’s progress and how they can help them more. The tutor can also offer to talk about issues that may arise on the phone. Finally, the tutor can also provide the support the student may lack when it comes to their studies. It can’t be helped when some parents be too busy so, problems with their studies can be rectified by the tutor.


Parents only want the best for their children and they will always try their best to give the that, especially in education. The reason why they hired a home tutor for their child may vary from parent to parent but they all come down to the same thing — that they want the best education for their children.

Because of this, home tutors also do their best to deliver and help the student be the best they can be and achieve their goals and dreams. However, as stated before, it is still a team effort. The parents are also involved in the process and, while they only want the best, they should also understand that the tutors are also doing their best for the benefit of their child.

The tutor and the parent should work together to help the child reach their goals. Without the effort from both parties, the child may lose their motivation and momentum and the purpose of tuition will be defeated.

Interested in becoming a home tutor? Check out FamilyTutor, the best home tuition agency in Singapore. We offer over 200 subjects such as Math, Science, English, and many more to students from pre-school all the way up to even beyond university level.

Want to hire a home tutor for your child? Click here to request a tutor now!



Carelle is a teacher who has been through the ups and downs of the teacher and learner life. She wishes for every learner to gain educational satisfaction that will help embody the people they want to be in the future.

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