Demanding students can be difficult to interact with because they can be intrusive and persistent; these students may demand a lot of time and attention. Demanding traits are sometimes associated with anxiety, agitated depression, and/or personality disorders, but also occur in the general population.
Characteristics of demanding students include a sense of entitlement; an inability to empathize; a need to control; difficulty dealing with ambiguity; a strong drive for perfection; difficulty respecting structure, limits, and rules; persistence after hearing “no”; dependence on others to take care of them; and a fear of dealing with the realities of life.
If a student is demanding:
- When possible, talk to the student in a place where you feel safe and comfortable.
- Remain calm and in control of the situation.
- Set clear boundaries and enforce them.
- Directly and clearly explain which behaviors are acceptable and unacceptable.
- Be clear about the time you will give the student.
- Request that he or she treat you with respect.
- Contain disruptive behavior that disturbs the class, study group, etc.
- Be aware of manipulative behavior.
- Refer the student to resources that can address his or her needs.
- Contact the Office of Academic and Community Conduct, 906-487-2212, for assistance if you feel harassed or intimidated and/or the student’s behavior is disruptive.
- Contact Institutional Equity, 906-487-3310, for assistance if you feel harassed by the student and the harassment has a sexual or gender-related aspect to it.
- Argue with the student.
- Accommodate inappropriate requests.
- Ignore the problem and the impact that it has on you and other students, staff, or faculty.
- Adjust your schedule to accommodate the student.
- Feel obligated to take care of the student.
- Feel guilty about not doing more.
- Allow the student to intimidate you.
This page was adapted with permission from material developed by the University of California, Santa Barbara.