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How to Reply to an Upset Parent With a Letter

by Tiffany Raiford, studioD

Parents are notoriously protective over their children, and that can mean that some parents go a little overboard -- and often become upset -- when it comes to issues with their kids. Despite your best efforts, at some point in life, you will likely find yourself responding to an angry parent with a letter or email regarding something your child did to theirs, something you allowed that child to do in your home or any number of scenarios. Before you respond, take a deep breath.

Take some time before you reply to an angry parent, advises Linda Robb, a high-school English teacher in Indiana, for the National Education Association. If you are responding from a place of pure emotion, you are likely to say things you may regret. This often makes the situation worse and can trigger the other parent to forbid her child from spending time with your child. A good rule of thumb is to wait 24 hours before you hit send if you find yourself especially angry. However, if the issue is a pressing one that needs immediate attention, especially when issues of safety are involved, bypass the letter and pick up the phone right away.

If you are especially angry, give yourself a full day too cool off. However, you should typically respond within 24 hours of receiving correspondence from the parent of your child's friend, Robb advises, because you shouldn't let more than a day pass without responding to another parent's concerns. Your response will depend upon your relationship with the other parent, of course. For example, if this is a parent you see regularly at functions, you may need to respond more quickly so that you don't encounter her in person before you've had time to respond to her concerns.

Address the upset parent with an apology if the concerns are valid. Offer to rectify the situation. If the situation is not valid, you should write a thank you letter to the parent for bringing the situation to your attention and discuss your stance on what has her upset. It may or may not make her feel better to hear from you if you do not feel her complaint is valid, but taking the high road is always a good idea. For example, if your child called her child a name, rectify the situation by making your child apologize to her child.

Keep your response short and polite. Do not use derogatory language. Your reply letter should be polite, firm and kind. You shouldn’t regret anything you write and you shouldn’t be able to find one mean or rude comment in the letter. If it helps, ask a friend or family member to read the letter before you send it to ensure that it is polite.

About the Author

Tiffany Raiford has several years of experience writing freelance. Her writing focuses primarily on articles relating to parenting, pregnancy and travel. Raiford is a graduate of Saint Petersburg College in Florida.

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