Overzealous parent HELP!!!

Hello, I am a team captian for a third year FTC team(7491 The Robot Corps).
We are having trouble with a parent who thinks he is part of the team. We held our third meeting for the year yesterday and the parent of a first year kid is trying to change the system without knowing how it works, wanting to add his own ideas to our list of team goals, and trying to lead our game strategy discussion. What is a good way to get this parent to back off without offending him? We have really never encountered this problem before, it is kind of an uncharted water for us. Any advice/past experience would be very much appreciated, thank you.

Do you have mentors? If so, I suggest asking your head mentor to carry the message that experience is rated more highly than zeal, at least until the zeal gains experience.

To be honest, it’s not going to be easy to deal with as a student talking to an adult. You’ll definitely want an adult on your side–or you’ll need to be speaking for a group of students.

As the previous poster stated, make sure you have at least one mentor, if not possible a few of the teams higher ups address it together. If you choose to do this, make sure you sit down and get everything, all of your facts together before you chose to take action.

Could I ask what this parent is trying to change? Sometimes it is worth listening and hearing out their ideas before instantly shooting them down.

Let me know if you have any questions,
Alex

Yes, yes, yes, on all counts. The adult mentors should make it clear that this is a team, and that if this parent is interested in becoming a “mentor member” of the team, that’s cool, but that at this point in the season, (s)he needs to work within the system of the team, whatever that may be. Fundamental changes to the team structure will only be discussed AFTER the 2016 competition season.

We are working through this, but I’m sure this isn’t very uncommon for teams to experience this in one form or another of new parents and youth getting excited and not knowing exactly what FIRST is about.
In our case our parent was coming in (sitting with the team) not knowing a THING about FIRST (I had to give him the website even) and proposing new ideas and basically playing the role of a pushy (bossy) coach and even telling us that “climbing the mountain” during auton was easy, even after we told him that we don’t have much experience in Java programming.

Please take a look at the attachments below. They are from the FRC 3928 Team Neutrino handbook that I modified for our FTC team.

Here’s to hoping our next meeting tomorrow night goes better :slight_smile:

Copyof7491Handbook.pdf (241 KB)
Contract.pdf (93.8 KB)


Copyof7491Handbook.pdf (241 KB)
Contract.pdf (93.8 KB)

From Helicopters to Lawnmowers: Imparting the FIRST Philosophy to Parents - 2015 FIRST Championship Conference Presentation (MS PPT)
Kathie Kentfield, Co-Founder, NEMO
Roles where Parents can help your FIRST team (PDF: 3pp., 35K)

Resources page on www.firstnemo.org

It sounds to me like you have a parent of a new team member, and this parent is operating as if the parent relationship “by default” entitles them to assume a mentoring role, which might actually be appropriate for them to do, but only if they complete formal process for becoming a team mentor.

So, as already suggested, an existing mentor should tell them to complete the process by which your team accepts new mentors. or back off from assuming that kind of a role.

Our team has a “steering committee” on which several parennts participate, but they do so on a separate basis from the team mentoring role.

-Dick Ledford

We have a 4 page handout we provide right at the beginning of the season explaining the lay of the land to parents. This sets expectations right from the start

The handout describes the roles of Support mentors, Teaching mentors and parent roles. It describes the training and background checks mentors must go through, etc

There is also wording on what they should do if they are interested in “applying” to a mentor role. There is approval process, training etc.