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Tricky Questions


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Can you give me any examples of the trickiest questions or awkward situations you have ever faced at work.I want to produce some practice senerios for a staff training on responding to parents /outside agencies

Thanks

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Dealing with money is an issue for us.

I loathe chasing parents for money, and one of the trickiest situations is after reminders and still non payment, telling the parent that they can bring child for funded sessions but no more private sessions until bill paid.

 

Also I have had a parent tell me that her husband did not want our male student to speak to his child outside of the setting (ie when he saw her in town)!!!

 

Talking with parents about something a child has disclosed, but that the access centre feel we can deal with on the ground floor so to speak.

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Dealing with bereavement within the child's very close family;

Telling all families in the setting that one child is seriously ill in hospital with Meningitis,maintaining confidentiality and trying to keep everyone calm while you contact all the appropriate authorities ( and remembering which ones to contact!).

Dealing with a child's disclosure of something awful happening to them, or at home ( parents abusing each other etc);

Dealing with parent who tells you the other parent is not allowed to collect their child any more, when there isn't a court order to prevent it;

Dealing with a parent/carer who arrives and has obviously been drinking alcohol;

Telling a parent their child has nits........and trying to assure them it could have come from anywhere!

or that you think s/he might have worms ( lots of scratching/itching in the appropriate area),

dealing with parent who is furious because their child has come home covered in paint, despite your best efforts to prevent it and their clothes have been stained again

Dealing with Ofsted and social services when a parent makes a complaint ( and the relief when you get a full written apology from both when they realise the complaint was completely unfounded!)

 

..........all of these are scenarios we have dealt with at our setting over the last 3 years.............

Edited by narnia
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- Having a child disclose something, then ring social services for a no named advice call, them telling you they will have to take it further. Dad then coming in a week later shouting the odds, then crying. End of the matter was dad thanking us for looking out for his child and then changing his hours from 2 days to 5 days a week.

- having parents speaking to you as though you are stupid because they can't understand the invoice (they can't understand so it has to be your fault!)

- having parents going off on one because you have sent their child home ill when they have to work

- having staff memebrs not pulling their weight for whatever reason

- having parent complain to ofsted as their child was pshed over by another child resulting in a broken arm

 

Oh I do love my job!!!! However all of the above is made worthwhile when you get a hug or a beautiful smile from a little one!!

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I am very interested in the post from Narnia, especially the question on dealing with a parent that has obviously been drinking alcohol when collecting a child, and procedures to be put in place. Does anyone have a policy for this they would be willing to share as this is something we have been discussing at our setting recenty, any advice or best practice would be gratefully received. :o

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bridger we have the psla policies but have added a clause onto the bottom of the child safeguarding one...says something like if we feel parent is unable to look after child due to drink or drugs then we will contact other peopleon the emrgency list failing this we will contact social care or the police!

as to difficult questions...ooh so many..child protection always an issue...money less so now as we have firmed up our paperwork so just refer back to that. I guess the most difficult is when we feel there is a child with a sen that needs to be investigated ...so easy to cock up those first few conversations when you are nervous about what the outcome might be :o (worst one i've had was a child who we kept insisting had a problem despite the medical profession disagreeing we sent him back three times before they took us seriously only to be diagnosed with a severe form of muscular dystrophy....life limiting xD dad just kept bursting into tears on me and i was trying not to breakdown too)

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lots to choose from already..

 

close bereavement we had a few times, younger sibling , mum , grandparents even had an effect if they were close to them.

Parent who was in a refuge, so had fled home with nothing but a small bag to a womens refuge... lots of support and reassurance about child being well cared for and safe in the setting.. and unidentified as well... so add to this parent who want no pictures taken of child at all...

and parent who shouts at the member of staff.. something we seemed to have a couple of times , (with no provocation other than asking why she was 30 mins late.. apparently it was out fault... never did work it out) shouting and ranting, getting close to the staff member, being threatening with words..

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We had one recently:

 

Parent arrives with the child, who has been off and unwell. Insists that the child 'must not go outside' and that we must change our freeflow policy so that the door is closed. Also insists that the child cannot do any water play. And when our policy was explained politely, said well don't go calling me if she gets sick.

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Parent telling you they've just got out of prison that morning and has no idea where the children are as "we were raided over the weekend" (that one nearly made my eyes pop out of my head!!)

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One of my favourites:

A student teacher trying to develop relationships with a parent says:

'Oh your daughter has behaved so beautifully today, we were so pleased with her!'

 

Response (aggressively): 'Why are you saying that, doesn't she normally?'

 

Suggesting to parent gently that her son might have a language problem and getting the response:

'There's nothing wrong with his language, what are you talking about? He can say s**t, he can say f**k, what's wrong with you?'

 

Over the years when completely unknown adults come to collect children...once someone said: 'No I 'm no relation. She's in the hairdresser's and can't make it so I volunteered to pick her daughter up'......twice had young uncles turn up clearly under the influence of drugs and not in a fit state to care for the child and become aggressive and violent.

 

Child protection queries are always hard especially when you are trying to ascertain how marks/brusing occured. It is not always possible to maintain a good relationship with parent once social care have been involved though often parents do come round and understand why referrals have to be made

 

Most awkward is when a parent is refusing to acknowledge that there is a problem with their child especially when it requires their consent to refer to outside agencies

 

Talking to staff member about them slapping a child in front of other staff.

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How about when grandma comes to pick up child (who only I have met but I'm not in nursery) and child says "that's not my grandma. I don't know that lady". Grandma looks disapprovingly at the adults and says "of course you do darling, come along now and don't be so silly!". Child continues to deny all knowledge that she knows this lady, and staff begin to panic ever so slightly. Try to contact mum but she's otherwise engaged and can't come to the phone (that's why grandma has come to pick up).

 

Deputy then has a brainwave and checks the child's file and notices that grandma is an emergency contact. Asks grandma to tell her the salient details, and confirms that this lady is actually grandma. Faced with the evidence, the child has to admit that she does know grandma after all, and reluctantly goes home.

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Parent saying " oh I really don't fancy going to work today; think I'll stay here and play all day"

 

Obviously what we do isn't work!!!!

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How about when grandma comes to pick up child (who only I have met but I'm not in nursery) and child says "that's not my grandma. I don't know that lady".

 

Not as bizarre as you might think - we have two currently who deny grand parents regularly, even though they collect almost as regularly! On the other days they cry when mum turns up for them!

 

Our hardest situation was trying to get a mum to acknowledge that her child had some social development issues and we had to ask her to come in to observe her child to prove that to her. Then she was heartbroken and got herself in a state that the issues were worse than they were.

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A parent who smacked his son at pick up time for not putting his shoes on when asked. I had to politely inform him that I was obliged to suggest that he found other ways to encourage his child to cooperate. I then gave him a few examples. The next day his wife arrived with the child refusing to get out of the car because he was playing with something. After I had put other children in my car I asked him once to get out of theirs and into mine. He did it straight away. She commented on the fact that he'd ignored her for five minutes then done what I asked straight away. From then on they used some of the methods I'd suggested and were really grateful when they worked.

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just trying to think how to answer these ...so difficult because each is so individual...i can only give you some of the ideas i might use

if discussing needs i might ask how they think this will affect the child at school...so best get it sorted now!

hearing/ sight issues...can you get them checked as if it is a problem then i can help one way ..if its just ignoring me i will try a different method!!!

some needs i will suggest to get help quickly because it takes so long to access (salt for instance!)

child protection i deal with in a very matter of fact business like way... it is the only way i have found to deal with it ( i always have a witness...who usually pretend to wash up while i have the coversation!) once i have established what is going on(if possible) i will decide what to do next ...you need to be able to refer if needed so hence the calm business role. ...i had a parent who was taking drugs/confirmed alcoholic and prostitute...there were times when i had to ask her if she was under the influence i had to be very clear. i would also say that this relationship was the most difficult i have had and also the most rewarding.

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