Are parents getting in the way of successful schools?

Johnny - posted on 09/06/2011 ( 15 moms have responded )




By nature parents want the very best for our children. Good parents are closely connected to what is going on in their child's school life and are involved in the school as much as possible.

But is the tone of this involvement leading to negative consequences for the relationship between teachers and students? Are parents in some cases actually taking steps that may inadvertently be causing their kids more problems in the long run? Should we be putting more trust in our teachers to do the right thing?

How you respond to this may really be influenced by your own experiences in school and what your child's district/school is like. I'm interested to know how it is for you in your current environment, but also how you would see the parent-teacher relationship in optimum circumstances.


JuLeah - posted on 09/06/2011




Yah, I see this happening, but it was happening when I was a kid too.

We shield kids from the consequences of their own actions. They forget their lunch, we take it to them. They forget their assignment, we take it to them. They ignore an assignment until the night before it is due we sit up with them all night working. They lose their jacket we buy them a new one. They lose their phone, we get a replacement. They miss the buss we are late for work because we drive them.

People call this good parenting, but really, it is abusive.

Each time we do for them what they can do for themselves, we send the message they we think they are inadequate.

Each time we shield them from the consequences of their own actions, we send the message that we think that can’t handle it

Each time we make excuses for them or over praise, we send the message of our very low expectations

Then we wonder why they have such low self esteem

Pride comes after working through obstacles and overcoming challenges. We refuse to allow them obstacles. We don’t give them challenges.

We keep them little and dependent on us. We keep them feeling helpless to effect change. I know a kid who will call and say, “I don’t have my lunch” and her father will say, “Ohh, I am sorry. I will get that right to you. I am leaving now”

I think, whose job is it to remember a 17yr olds lunch?

So, yah, I get why teachers quit. Speaking as an ex teacher …..

Mary - posted on 09/07/2011




Like so many things we debate on here, this is one of those issues that is not black and white. No, not all teachers are Mary Poppins, but they're not all the Wicked Witch either.

I do think that a lot of parents these days are entirely too defensive of their children's poor performance or behavior. Hell, I'm already seeing this in the toddler activities we participate in, story time at the library in particular. It is a half-hour program geared towards the 2-5 age range, where a librarian reads stories aloud, interspersed with songs and dances. Part of the challenge, of course, is getting these little ones to sit with others, and not be (too) disruptive or unruly.

It is a challenge, particularly when your child is in the younger part of that age range. I started taking Molly just before her second birthday, and I hated it in the beginning. It was a constant struggle to get her to not be overly loud, to sit still for the story parts, and to generally not annoy everyone else there. The first few weeks, we ended up leaving early a lot.

The librarians do make a point at the beginning of each session to point out that sometimes a kid will have trouble "behaving", and while understandable, it is still disruptive to others, and the parents are expected to either "help" their kid be quiet, or take them out for a little break.

More than a few of the moms there have gotten overly incensed when their child was acting like a hellion, and the librarian has stopped and told the child to please sit down and be quiet (typically in toddler-friendly speak). I've heard more than one mom bitch, "Who does she think she is to correct my child? I'm not going to apologize for my kid being a normal 3 y/o !" Some have been so bent over having their child (gently) corrected that they've demanded to speak to the "head librarian" to bitch.


Yes, all kids have good and bad days, but it's not unreasonable that when your kid is howling like a banshee, pulling another's hair, or ripping a toy out of another's hand, that the "teacher" might gently ask Billy to sit criss-cross-applesauce and put his finger on his lips. His "normal 3 y/o" behavior is ruining story time for everyone else, only you are too caught up defending and making excuses for your kid to see what a disservice your behavior is. You're not helping your kid learn how to interact appropriately with others - you're teaching him an underlying disrespect for everyone around him, including the authority figure.

These are the types of parents that this article is addressing - and yes, they are out there in abundance.

Ez - posted on 09/06/2011




I'm torn on this. On the one hand, I don't like the softly-softly 'everyone is a winner' attitude that has swept through schools in the last decade or so. If everyone was a 'winner', everyone would have great jobs and be making six figures straight out of university. That is not real life, and I agree that some parents do their kids a disservice. Instead of fighting with teachers for better grades and making excuses for why they are falling behind, they should be working with the teachers to identify the problem areas and forming strategies to help them catch up.

But at the same time, this article assumes that all teachers are fair-minded, loving, attentive people. That is simply not true. Some ARE assholes. Some really just don't care. Some CAN'T be trusted to have your child's best interest at heart. And you can't expect parents to just blindly trust and respect someone who is, essentially, a stranger to them. Frankly, if teachers are quitting because they can't deal with the parents, then they are better off out of it. Liasing with parents is a big part of the job. Children don't exist in a vacuum.


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Medic - posted on 09/12/2011




I do agree with this article for all the AMAZING teachers out there. Of course there are those that are not so fantastic and should probably change professions. I am VERY involved in my childs school, but he has an amazing teacher who does go above and beyond to keep all of us parents involved. She is one that totally supports our choices and discipline decisions for our son and is an amazing source to talk about other approaches. She makes herself very available and gets involved in her students lives outside of the classroom. I wish all teachers were like her and understood that not all children are the same and that it takes a little effort to get to know the kids and what makes them tick. I can only hope that more often than not in my childrens futures they get teachers like this one.

[deleted account]

Well I think we do what we can at home. Teachers are paid to be your child teacher so why not let her do her job and you can help out with the homework when needed. My daugther did great when she was going to school. I wouldn't want someone else to tell me how to do my job. Would you?

Amie - posted on 09/07/2011




Yes! I'm involved with my kids schools. Some parents are too involved, some are not involved enough. I fall somewhere in the middle, as I imagine the majority do everywhere. I know here most of us are in the middle ground.

We're involved but we trust our teachers and the staff. We get along, better with some than others. That I think is optimum. You don't need to be friends but you should be adult enough (on both sides) to get along long enough to handle any school related issues.

I've seen some parents go off, to the point where the school was put on lock down (we were still in the city). That was fun. I don't remember what it was about now but it was a dad and he was mad at the principal.

I've seen parents just walk away from parent-teacher interviews because "I have better things to do, I can't wait all night" when they had to wait an extra 5 minutes to see the teacher. Really?

I've seen parents lose their nut when they think the school is doing nothing. I can understand why it would bother them, I've had to talk to the principal about my own daughter and what had happened to her. (A sexual explicit note was written, my daughters name was signed to it but it was not her handwriting.) I also knew going into it I would not be privy to what they do with other people's children. It's a privacy issue. Some may overlook this to placate parents but they shouldn't be. I don't mean ongoing issues either. I'm talking about the one offs here and there. I know what went on and I know the school handled it. I trusted them to handle it and they did. I was not in their face, over the top or rude. I was quite firm and let them know I was not happy with their first attempt. The principal even apologized to our daughter at the end. (Originally the principal thought it was indeed our daughter, she didn't bother to look further than just reading this note)

It's hard to step back and let others handle our children at times. I know our hover parent in all of us kicks in and we want to protect them. I don't think that's doing them any favours though. I am here for my children, I help my children, I guide them and if they get in trouble from school or their bus driver or one of their instructors - after I ask what is going on (from both of them) - I generally find the adult has the situation firmly in hand. The one time they didn't (mentioned above) I stepped in and got it turned around. I know my kids and make no excuses for them but when they are truly innocent, I will fight for them. It may not be the way I would handle things but my kids know to respect and listen to their superiors.(superiors do not mean every adult everywhere) Whether it's a teacher or an instructor. They don't need to like them but be damned if one of my children are going to be one of those classroom terrors. You do your best, act with some decorum, mind your manners and show some respect.

[deleted account]

Johnny, my parents had to step in at one point, too. My mom is a teacher herself, so it was drastic. Sometimes it is warranted.

And you are correct, the opposite problem is parents that don't care at all. I also came in contact with some of those. We had to reschedule a meeting with one particular parent 3 times just to get her signature on a document that would allow her child to have more one on one time with a specialist. :/

Johnny - posted on 09/06/2011




I do think this is a real and serious issue. Although I don't believe that all teachers are perfect by any means. I've met a few in my adult life that were clearly people who had chosen it for the wrong reasons. In high school, I had one teacher so terrible that when I was assigned to her class the following year, my father actually did go and speak with the school. Something he'd never done before. She was a drunk who came late, had a terrible temper, and when I aced my final exam (graded by the head of the department, not her) she threw a tantrum. We spent half the time we were supposed to be in her class in the library. I had written a clear explanation of why I did not want to be back in her class on my course selection list, and yet they still put me in that one. So my dad did step in. I think that's the only time my parents ever interfered in my schooling in that way. They let me go through my own struggles but they did always keep track of what was going on and what the learning expectations were. I was a shy, timid child. It did make me stronger and it gave me a sense that I can persevere and succeed. I do very much agree with this article's general points, although it would be a shame if parents took that as a suggestion to stay out of their child's education all together.

[deleted account]

I agree with the article. I know many teachers and none of them would intentionally pick on a child for no reason. Generally, teachers want what is best for their students.

Here's an example of parents getting in the way. When a child in my class was tripping other students on purpose, because he thought it was funny, I called the parents. They didn't believe me. So the tripping continued. Thankfully, there were other ways of handling the situation so it eventually stopped. But what will these parents say to the cops say *if* this child ever gets in serious trouble? Hopefully it won't come to that. But I'd hate for this child to think of himself as invincible to authority and really hurt himself or someone else one day.

Here's a GOOD example. I had another child that got caught playing with a toy she brought from home. I gave her a warning, but she continued. I took the toy. I called her mom and said if she wanted it back SHE had to come to school and get it. She said, "Okay, I'll try to make it up within the next few weeks. When she starts missing it, she'll think about why she lost it." Another time, this child waited until the night before to start on a major project. She brought it in incomplete. She asked me for more time, and I replied that she had 2 weeks to do it. She said, "That's what my mom said." I think she made a C on it...what was done was done well. But she felt the consequences for her actions. Her mom allowed it instead of keeping her home to finish the project and turn it in later.

JuLeah - posted on 09/06/2011




No, I agree with the once in a blue moon thing. Kids I know forget 4 days out of 5 and their assumption is, someone will bring it. They expect mom or dad to leave work, miss their own lunch hour and bring the lunch they forgot. It's insane to my way of thinking, and as humans who like rountine, pattrens, and repeat what we did ... they are being taught to forget becuase the consequence of forgetting is not theirs. If their tummies were empty for a few lunch hours, I do believe they would remember

In bringing the lunch we keep them dependent, it feels to me.

I know 5 yr olds that can not put on their own jackets ... we just keep them little when we do for them

Lady Heather - posted on 09/06/2011




I don't know. My husband forgets his lunch all the time. I would hate for him to go hungry because of it. Now I don't bring it to him. Not possible. The bus doesn't go there. But he can go and buy something because he's an adult with options. Kids don't have that option. I guess if my kid was forgetting more often than not, I'd pull the tough love out. But we're human and we forget and frankly, if I skip lunch I have seizures.

Sorry, just nitpicking one little thing.

America3437 - posted on 09/06/2011




Okay I understand the teachers point of view but not all teachers deserve the respect they ask for! People remember teachers are people just like you and I and they aren't all good! I am a parent that stays in constant contact with school and if they ask for my I.D. i in return ask for theirs due to the fact I am there so often that if they have to ask who I am then they probably shouldn't be there! As far as defending my children..... I always listen to both sides and usually my child has stretched the truth to benefit themselves and I call them out on it infront of the teacher. Most teachers I've found are great but there are those few whom have chose the wrong career path! I can remember my mother going to the school to defend me and it was glorious!!! The teacher and principal were both in the wrong and mom took care of it!! I myself have went to the school a time or two due to other children picking on my child. This is where I see the problem! It is the teachers responsiblity to keep my child safe at school and too many times they put it off as "kids will be kids" and inactuallity they should be contacting the parents of both parties and setting up a meeting to deal with this. Do they? No! This could cause conflict and we wouldn't want that! So I say to this debate..... Just because they are paid to teach your child doesn't mean they care about your child! As parents it is our duty to defend our kids and I will continue to do that however, I care about our school and have few problems with the teachers but let's face it not all kids are liked by all teachers and teachers have their favorites and look for any reason to pick on the ones they don't really care for! This is when it is our job to figure out if the teacher is the problem or if our kids are not the angels we believe them to be! No matter what support your schools and teachers because we are required by law to send them to strangers 8 hrs a day!

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