The first time the parents and child come to the school to talk with you, or to watch a class, is when the relationship begins to take shape. It is the first impression which they form of you as a potentially important person in the life of that child. If you do not connect with the parents and child in a meaningful way at that time, it is unlikely that the child will enroll to train at your school. They must feel confident in your abilities as a martial artist and instructor, and see you as a person who can understand and communicate with children and parents.

The following section deals with responding to parents’ questions and concerns, gathering information, and parents’ expectations related to their child’s problem behaviors. Communication skills which are discussed here are also relevant to maintaining the relationship with parents, which is discussed in the next section. Also, several examples of questions which you might ask are given for illustration. Although the suggested questions often refer to the child as “your son/daughter,” it is always best to use the child’s name when talking with parents.