Join the Library

Getting and keeping parent buy-in

blog post Nov 17, 2021

So my wife was in the hospital...

She is fine now, and we are all doing ok. We got sent home yesterday, but it brought to my attention something pretty interesting. While we were in there, we must have had about 5 doctors give us different ideas for treatments to use to relieve her condition (intense migraines). 

As doctor after doctor tried to tell us what to do, I began to observe their behavior and try to identify what made me act friendly to the doctor, and what made me grumpy...

Here are some of the behaviors that made me NOT want to listen to them...

1. Overly technical jargon- one doctor would not even describe what he was recommending to us!
2. Acting like they had something else they had to attend to- Even though they had other, more serious patients, to me, my wife was the most important person in the hospital.
3. Being late to our meeting or not following up- As soon as a Dr. said they would come back and didn't, or was two hours late for rounds, I instantly had a bad taste in my mouth.

However, here are behaviors I LOVED about the doctors we had...

1. When they sat down and did not make us feel rushed. 
2. When they talked technically, but explained everything after.
3. When they smiled and seemed genuinely concerned.

These behaviors that I responded to are nothing new! In fact, I bet as BCBAs, we can do these same things when trying to get parent buy in. Treatment fidelity is so important, and with a little smile, and some basic customer service skills, we could have parents willing to follow us to the end of the earth to help their child!

Based on my experience as a BCBA and as an avid reader of How to Make Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie, here are my top 5 tips for having a great parent training interaction.

  1. Come prepared with materials and meet them at the door. It is important to make the parents feel important, like you were waiting all day for this meeting.
  2. Say their first name, not just "mom/dad". This one is really important. Take the time to learn their names, and they will forever be on your team.
  3. Make it clear how much you enjoy working with their child. There is nothing a parent likes more than to listen to how great their child is.
  4. Let them customize the treatment as much as possible. If you want to use differential reinforcement and attention extinction, let them customize and make it theirs as much as you can, while keeping the behavioral principles intact.
  5. Smile big, and give sincere praise. Sometimes the simplest steps are the most important. Smiling and giving sincere praise (not flattery) are two of the best things you can do for the clients caregivers you serve.

I really believe that good parent interactions lead to strong relationships. Strong relationships provide a foundation for building trust, and only after you build trust, can you ask them to change their livelihood around based on your suggestions.

Sign up below to get instant access to Clarifying Trauma Informed Care!

This 5 hour, 3 CEU course is all about helping you understand the complexities of trauma informed care so you can implement evidenced based ABA through a compassionate lense.

Signing up will also subscribe you to the email list. Unsubscribe at anytime! We will never sell your information, for any reason.