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Do your damn job as a parent

I have a parent and many relatives as teachers and professors, and I know plenty of teachers, so when I read this on Garth’s post called Little Monsters about how one parent is whining about having to pay $20,000 in private tuition to give their precious snowflake the best start in life instead of letting them attend public school, I had to respond:

Bonnie wrote:

“It seems like kids are coddled and babysat and are passed up in grades even if they haven’t mastered the knowledge content yet, then they go out in the work world and totally can’t cope.”

For one thing, I see these adults all the time, and sad to say, I know people from my old schools who are like this. I know immediately when I work with someone, how they were raised because it shows very clearly in their work ethic and attitude towards their job.

But that’s besides the point.

You know why children are coddled, babysat and passed up in the grades?

Because parents aren’t doing their own jobs in raising their own kids.


Teachers have to deal with 30+ kids in a class, and you expect them to have time to spend with your precious child each step of the way?

No. They don’t.

They’re there to teach en masse which you would think would make the case for paying $20,000 a year to send your kids to Montessori so that they get individual, undivided attention, but this has nothing to do with teachers being overloaded, as it does with teachers being overloaded with more than a few rotten apples in each class.

I believe that class sizes beyond a certain size, make no difference in how well your child is being taught.

(I read some research in those French parenting books like Bringing up Bebe)

Shyer children do better in slightly larger classes because they’re introverted and will not join in discussions if they’re forced to speak up or have opinions dragged out of them (I know this well, I was one in school.)

More confident children tend to dominate in such scenarios, which leads to a very unbalanced classroom.

You need about 20-25 kids for an ideal class in my opinion. Any more and it’s too big to control and handle (plus not to mention all the work you have to mark each time), and any smaller, and you don’t get a good momentum going to discuss anything.

But really, it just takes one or two kids to spoil the entire class, and to have ALL of them lose focus, be distracted by their monkeying around and their antics.


Teachers DO NOT HAVE TIME for this.

They do not have enough time in the school day to not only get your little monster to calm down, but to also try and teach the class.

10% of the blame goes to the teacher, although it is not as strict here in Canada as it is in other countries, and you aren’t allowed to really yell at children or raise your voice at them because it “damages their self-esteem”.

*cue eyeroll*

I put the 90% blame of these children acting up purely on the parents for a number of reasons because even when teachers work really hard to bring a fun-filled, educational spin on the material, know what I see from parents and hear ALL THE TIME?


Hate to break it to you, but they’re not.

We’re all in the average, and the average is the majority. Geniuses come once in a lifetime, if that.

So when parents come in during Parent-Teacher interviews and are prepared to ream the teacher out for low marks, they say something like:

“My kids’ grades aren’t high enough. I don’t know why he/she is getting such low marks!”

When the teacher replies:

“It’s because they haven’t done the assignment and can’t seem to focus in class.”

Are you hearing what they’re saying?

They. haven’t. done. the. assignment. They. can’t. focus. in. class.

They get irate and essentially rip you a new one, saying:

“That’s YOUR problem that YOU can’t control them.

You have to give them a second chance to do the assignment for more marks again. They come from a family of [insert relevant careers to the subject here]”

If it’s English, “they come from a family of writers and poets!”… if it’s Math, “their father is a statistician!”, and so on and so on.

Well just because you are a mathematician, or a writer, it doesn’t mean your child will be one too.

Do you ever see children who become Olympic athletes by default just because their father or mother was an Olympian?

No. Not really.


So why would your success in writing or doing math pass on to your kid in their genes as well, unless you coach them from young to love the subject?

I can answer that — It doesn’t.

What happens then, is teachers imagine this fight, and to avoid it, they pass your kid instead of sticking to their guns and fighting to uphold any kind of standard in the school because they’re tired of all this bullsh*t.

It’s the same fight, same story, and there’s just more stress heaped upon them for no reason whatsoever than your child not doing what they’re supposed to be doing and you are blaming them and getting them in trouble to boot.


Parents think that once you send your kid to school, you wash your hands of this whole “education matter”.

I cannot believe that you can imagine you can send your kid to school to compete with other children in his or her class, and then expect that your job is done and the teacher will take over.


So what, all you have to do is give birth to them, feed them, and then ship them off to school, wait 18 years without doing jack squat, and expect them to come out being successful adults?

How often does THAT happen?

Rarely ever.


My parents did that to us, and I can safely say that one of us did NOT “make it” with such a lax parenting approach.

The rest of us battled our way through school without any parental help or education at home because we’re aggressive, competitive, A-type personalities.

We had our own personality to cope with such a hands-off parenting approach, which actually helped us thrive and become more independent than if our parents had bothered to help us at all.

They didn’t sit down and help us with homework, nor did they even care about our grades.

If we had a question about something we were curious about, we researched, taught ourselves and figured it out on our own because no one else was around to help you figure it out and you were fighting with other kids in the class for the #1 spot.

So you see, it is also YOUR job as a parent to teach them at home.

If your child can’t read, do you think it’s entirely fault of the teacher that they can’t?


It’s also YOUR JOB as a parent to have caught on that they are struggling with reading and to work with them at home, in addition to talking to the teacher and asking for MORE homework, MORE assignments and what else you can do to help strengthen your child’s weaknesses.

THAT is parenting.

If you can’t see that your child has problems reading, it means you’re not paying attention to them, and/or you are focusing on the wrong things (e.g. extracurricular activities over homework).


Yeah I said it.


Not all parents, but many parents don’t even listen to the teacher when a kid acts up in class, has a behavioural problem and/or can’t do the work.

Know what parents tell these teachers?

“Oh she has never done that before. You must be wrong.

No other teacher has EVER complained about Melissa.”

(Probably because they didn’t want to bother fighting with you.)

“Not MY Billy! He’s so good at home with us.”

(And children don’t act differently in different environments?)

“Angie says that you don’t teach them interesting things in class, so she gets bored.”

(..because she’s a Mensa genius right? So smart that she can’t even complete a simple writing assignment like the rest of her Neanderthal classmates.)

I am not joking, these are actual answers from parents when a teacher calls and informs them that there’s a problem.

These kids are raised by their parents to think that they’re the bosses of the world (and therefore of every adult around them), and lack basic respect for authority.

Obviously there are (rare) cases where a kid should NOT listen to authority figures, but in general, children lack respect for adults in this society because they’re special snowflakes at home.


Helicopter parenting also results in a child saying to a teacher:

“I’m going to call my mother and have her sue you or get you FIRED because I am not getting an A in this class.”

….only to hear this response afterwards:

“So I called my mother and she said she couldn’t get a teacher fired just for not giving me an A.”

instead of hearing:

“So I called my mother and she reamed me out, and I am to apologize to you because it was rude to have said such a thing especially to your face. I am sorry. It will never happen again.”

The parent in question didn’t even come in to apologize in-person, and showed absolutely no shame or mortification at the little monster that she raised, acting like that towards a teacher.


The other response is to drug them or diagnose them with ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder), or whatever trendy disease doctors and big pharmaceuticals want to sell pills for to replace teaching your child basic hard work and discipline, and to alleviate your guilt that it isn’t your fault they’re not learning anything.

I REPEAT: Your kid does NOT have a disease or a problem.

(VERY few children actually have this problem, and pills are probably not the answer.)

Your child is simply misbehaving and acting out, PERIOD.

You need to set boundaries, rules and straighten them up before they grow crooked with time.

Again, teachers just pass the kids because they do NOT want to be hauled in front of the principal and go through this hoopla each time, every semester, with every child who has their overprotective helicopter parent who will come swooping down to defend their precious snowflake.


Ironic right?

Know how many kids miss class? A LOT.

Why? Because they’re going to tournaments for sports or music, they’re going on a vacation with their parents that they simply “cannot miss”, but they come back and expect to pass without having done any of the work all year.

Can you believe this?


Parents prioritize their kid going to a basketball or hockey tournament, over learning basic skills and getting a good education in class.

Then when the child comes back into class, they either can’t focus on the task at hand because they have another tournament in an hour or so, or they expect to simply be passed because they’re a basketball star.

Or worse, their parents swoop in and rip you a new one because really, “how could he have done all that homework in time as well as study for the exam? He had to go play basketball! You are being unfair!

Then you wonder why they can’t spell intermediate words like “schedule”, or tell the difference between their, they’re or there let alone resisting the urge to call you every time something goes wrong at their new career (which then, makes you call her boss to tell him off for yelling at your child.)


Not all teachers are fabulous, but there are plenty who try really effin’ hard amongst the losers who don’t teach your kid anything, but even so…..

Why are you trying to make their lives harder by being a helicopter parent?

You’re just hamstringing your children from learning how to be independent, which results in an adult who continues to act like a coddled baby, just bigger and with more demands.

Why THE HELL would they change?

You’ve conditioned them to call you when anything goes wrong.

A fight with a teacher? Call Mommy and get her to threaten to sue the teacher if she doesn’t give you an A.


So tell me again why you need to spend $20,000 a year in private tuition to “give your kids a basic education”?

Let me tell you why because I know the exact reason:

It’s because you pay for the coddling your precious one deserves because you can’t do your job at home as a parent.

You refuse to see that you need to also put in the time and work with the teachers to make sure your children are disciplined, educated and are hard workers who get the job done without having money thrown at the “problem”.

Those private schools aren’t really any better than regular public schools, they just are paid more to deal with your crap as a parent.

So is it worth $20,000 because you don’t want to do your job as a parent and make sure your kid is actually working to the best of their abilities?

Only you can open your wallet and take out a line of credit to determine that.


If you need tips, I have a few:

  • Spend time with your children in educational pursuits (not just going to events or fun things).
  • Teach them to read, and encourage a love of reading (best modeled by you, if you spend time reading).
  • Cut off TV and video game time if they aren’t getting their homework done.
  • Cut off all hobbies until they have good grades (if one has to go, it has to be hobbies before studying).
  • When a teacher calls, listen and deal with the problem like an adult parent instead of shifting blame.
  • Stop coddling your children and fighting their fights — let them do it themselves.
  • Teach your kids that they can be wrong and they are NOT the center of everyone’s world.

It is NOT that hard, but I feel like a lot of parents out there (especially richer, middle-class, entitled ones) are missing basic common sense, and trying to throw money at the problem instead of attacking it at the core.

If you choose to stay blind and ignore all of the above, then you are welcome to the adult baby you have molded over the years.

/rant over.

(Oh yes, and you can be damn sure my children will not be coddled throughout their lives.)


  • Beau W.

    Dam fine article!! Well said! I feel for teachers these days. Too many spoiled kids not getting the proper discipline by the parents. My dad was a Marine and you obeyed the teachers and you did your homework. Period! He made us earn everything. Taught us respect also. All of us are successful because of my parents being tough on us.

  • Laurie @thefrugalfarmer

    Sad, but true, SSS. I hear parents SO often say “What can I do? Little Johnny just won’t obey me/obey the teacher/do what he’s told”, etc., etc. I’ll tell you what my dad would’ve done, and what we do at our house when there’s disobedience. We DISCIPLINE and we remind our children of who the boss is. Parents are called to love, nurture, care for, spend time with and discipline their kids so that they will be adults who have a clue about how to be productive and contribute to life, but so many only think about what they can get for their child, it’s no wonder the world is so messed up. Thanks for telling it like it is, SSS.

    • save. spend. splurge.

      The main thing is that you’re the boss as the parent. There’s no equality in the household because the hierarchy is YOU (parent) and THEM (children). Parents who don’t understand that, run into trouble.

  • save. spend. splurge.

    Note to everyone: Another example of coddling?

    Parents now go to classes with their children and sit there with them, helping monitor them and doing their projects. If that is not ridiculous, I do not know what is.

  • Charles@gettingarichlife

    The worst things parents can do is enable their children and continue to reinforce bad behavior. Sometimes kids are douches and parents need to call them out on it. Control your cash had a good post on a kid they wanted to punch. Future entitled child.

  • Jane Savers @ Solving The Money Puzzle

    My sons are in their early 20’s now and I can shoot them a look that can have them shaking in their boots. All moms need a look like that and the children have to know that it will be backed up with swift, nonviolent action. I do not tolerate rude or disrespectful behaviour and no one who had to teach or coach my sons had to deal with it either.

    I can’t believe what other people let their children get away with. Now I am forced to work with a lot of those spoiled people who are now adults and it would never occur to them to refill a stapler or put paper in the fax machine or deal with more complicated problems themselves when they can leave it for someone else. Someone else has always handled all of their problems and cleaned up all of their messes.

    • save. spend. splurge.

      I need a look like that. How did you perfect yours?

      As a former superintendent of a building during my college years, I had calls from kids my age asking me to change lightbulbs in their room and to provide them with toilet paper.

      Yep. I know very well what they turn out to become.

  • Mo' Money Mo' Houses

    Love this post! Totally agree. My parents didn’t coddle me or my sisters and that’s why all of us grew up as hard workers and independent. I know that’s what I’ll do when I have kids too.

  • Daisy


    Yes, yes, yes.

    I resented my mom for it growing up, but when I was a kid, all of my friend’s parents had their backs when they failed a test or a class, and I couldn’t even dare fail because my mom wouldn’t stick up for me and talk the teacher into giving me a better grade. I was taught that my success, or lack thereof, was directly related to the amount and quality of work I put in.

    My mom coached my soccer team growing up and her co-coach practically bullied his daughter’s way into “select” soccer even though she was mediocre at best. My mom wouldn’t advocate for her, so her dad (co coach) actually forged my mom’s signature on a recommendation letter from my mom to get her into select.

    I remember one time a friend of mine, in grade 7, cheated off of a classmates test paper on a final exam. The teacher graded her zero and she therefore failed the class (which was nice of the teacher, as she could have been expelled or at least suspended), but her parents raised a huge stink about it and she was passed (marginally) and got away with it.

    I feel so bad for teachers not only having to deal with crappy kids but crappy parents, too. They are already strapped for time and resources, the last thing they need to do is have to justify their failing a student when the student gave zero effort.

    • save. spend. splurge.

      SEE? I am not crazy. I really am not. I hear these stories from teachers ALL. THE. TIME.

      It really annoys me when teachers don’t do a good job (some don’t), but there are others who try really hard and try to be fair to hold up as what Chris has mentioned as standards, but teachers really DO NOT have the power we think they have.

      They only have the power granted to them by the principal, school board, and ultimately the parents who are the “clients”. It is a horrible cycle, and no one backs up teachers who are trying to give grades that are fair.. so teachers just give up and pass your child with 70%, which is the average “mediocre” grade most kids get.

  • Janine

    I dealt with this so much when I taught dance. If a parents child wasn’t front and centre or didn’t get a sticker at the end of class I would get reamed out. If the kids didn’t practice enough and then didn’t place or win a competition again it was my fault. Parents are the reason I stopped teaching dance.

  • Emily @ Urban Departures

    What?! How dare you say my child isn’t a genius? Did you now know he can sing Jamie Cullum songs and he’s barely 18 months?! Okay, even though it’s only the “aye aye aye” and “oh”s part of the song, that makes him a musical prodigy!

    Sarcasm aside, I agree with your entire post. Gen Y is berated for being lazy and entitled; a lot of it is a product of nurture. When parents don’t parent and then later give huge handouts (enough to buy $400K apts in cash- info from another Garth post), then yes, there will be people who think they don’t need to work hard and expect things to always be provided to them.

    My parents didn’t particularly agree with the school system. My siblings and I were always good students and did not get in trouble; and so our reports cards were always filled with praise- something my dad did not accept. He told us if it came easily, then we weren’t being challenged and supplemented our education outside of school; his idea of play was writing the computer code for games. I was a dunce in geometry and my dad sat with me every night during OAC to explain concepts and to made sure I practiced, practiced, practiced. It was easy for my dad to tutor me because he’s an academia at heart (he kept my university textbooks for leisure reads). My mum, on the other hand, is not educated and would not have been able to supplement my education; but she always encouraged me to read and was very strict with “homework and then dad’s homework before play” rules. I value my parent’s parenting and I play to parent in a similar way with my own kid.

    • save. spend. splurge.

      @Emily @ Urban Departures: Emily, you will not believe how close you come to sounding like those parents.

      Sometimes I can’t believe what comes out of their mouths. They’re an entitled generation as well (the parents).

      I definitely agree that teachers can also go overboard in the praise department. You manage to do something average or normal, and they think you’re a genius … but that’s in comparison to the OTHER kids who don’t try.

      I always had good grades in school but like I said, my parents never cared. I did see however, that I wasn’t really working that hard to reach the top, so what I really competed against, was other kids in my class for the very TOP spot, not so much for the mark itself.

      I am certainly parenting the same way with my future child (on the way!), and if they are weak in math, or English or any other subject, it’s the one that we’re going to work on, because their strengths are obviously the subjects they already love to do.

  • Chris

    Although I agree with your general premise, I can’t agree with a lot of what you say. First, if all teachers really felt the “school system” needed to be changed so that kids who didn’t know the material would not pass, they could make it happen. Next time there’s collective bargaining, make that the focal point, rather than arguing about increasing wages/pensions/benefits etc. Doesn’t happen, because it’s obviously not the priority. If a kid is acting up in class, a professional teacher should either be able to deal with it or know how to remove the kid from the environment, ie send them to the office. You say “What happens then, is teachers imagine this fight, and to avoid it, they pass your kid instead of sticking to their guns and fighting to uphold any kind of standard in the school because they’re tired of all this bullsh*t.” I’m sorry, that excuse sucks. If a bunch of professional educators can’t step up and defend the system they work in, that’s pathetic. If the system is correct, stick to your guns. If it’s not, then fix it. Also, you say, “It’s also YOUR JOB as a parent to have caught on that they are struggling with reading and to work with them at home, in addition to talking to the teacher and asking for MORE homework, MORE assignments and what else you can do to help strengthen your child’s weaknesses.” Actually, I would say it’s the teachers job to INFORM the parents of exactly what weaknesses their child has compared to where they should be. The teacher knows the curriculum, knows the expectations for pass/fail, knows where a child fits into the rest of the class in learning. A parent doesn’t know this. If a teacher isn’t able to quickly determine where a pupil is struggling or can’t make the effort to try and contact the parent to discuss this, then I would say they aren’t doing their job. Now, having said all of this, I agree, parents need to take responsibility as well, set good examples, review what is brought home, etc. etc. Unfortunately this rant is far too one sided to be effective. BOTH sides are at fault. By the way, I do have kids, and I do check their homework and don’t accept either poor behaviour or poor work. However, teachers need to take some responsibility as well, both for the material they teach and the environment they maintain in their classroom.

    • save. spend. splurge.

      I think you are being naive in stating that “teachers can make it happen”.

      As someone who has teachers around her, they have already tried, and unless the principal is firm on the management of staff and parents’ expectations, all the teachers are expected to “accommodate” children (e.g. let them redo tests or take them home to be done with their parents’ supervision), and to acquiesce to parental demands.

      Without leadership in place (and there’s a lack of it), teachers get the short end of the stick, all the time.

      As for dealing with children, they are getting bolder and less responsive. You can tell a kid: “Go to the office immediately”, and they will just stand there (bigger, and taller than you), and refuse to move.

      What do you propose a teacher do then?

      Use force? That’s illegal. You can’t even touch a child. What else can you do? Scream at them? Yell at them? They just sit down with their iPhones and ignore you.

      THIS is the behaviour they have been taught by their parents, and no matter how many times teachers call parents, they’re being stonewalled by parents refusing to believe that their children are ever at fault for anything. So teachers just give up.

      The teachers I am referencing, are the only ones who stick out their necks to call the parents to tell them that their kids are not doing well in class. The response has been what I have stated in the post above.

      I think you’re being rather rose-coloured glasses about the whole situation. Do you send your children to private school because you think the teachers are doing a bad job in a public school system? If you aren’t, then you are in the minority of parents who actually believe that it is your job as well as the teachers’ to make a student learn and succeed.

      Otherwise, this post doesn’t apply to your parenting behaviour.

    • save. spend. splurge.

      @Chris: Case in point, if your child had gone to school and you heard from them afterwards that they didn’t get a good mark and would like to “have the teacher fired, or sued, and told them that to their face”, what would you have done?

      Helicopter parenting also results in a child saying to a teacher:

      “I’m going to call my mother and have her sue you or get you FIRED because I am not getting an A in this class.”

      ….only to hear this response afterwards:

      “So I called my mother and she said she couldn’t get a teacher fired just for not giving me an A.”

  • dojo

    He he, love your attitude. I went to school for 5 years to become a teacher and decided not to pursue this career, since I was sick and tired of all this crap (we had to teach in these years and it was a pretty nasty experience, though we did have some amazing kids, too). You need, as a parent, to make sure your little one is doing his/her job and not acting up. It’s not the teacher’s job, it’s yours.

    • save. spend. splurge.

      @dojo: Not all children are bad, and not all parents are awful.

      I am just talking for those parents who think that public school teachers don’t try and don’t do a good job, and feel as though they need to pull their kid out to pay $20,000 a year in tuition to give them a “normal” start in life.

      It’s a load of bullsh*t.

  • Stefanie @ The Broke and Beautiful Life

    My parents used to check my homework every night. I remember my dad yelling at me when I consistently did the wrong math or problem solving equation. I started lying about my homework so I could avoid being yelled at and it all turned out all right. There’s probably a better balance in there somewhere. But my parents definitely cared and took responsibility for my education beyond the classroom.

  • tomatoketchup

    If I was a child growing up in today’s society, I likely would have been given an ADD diagnosis. But back in the 80’s, that problem was permanently solved by my mom beating the crap out of me until I paid attention in class. Greatest treatment for fake ADD ever.

  • maz

    Probably your best post ever… possibly because I agree with everything ( & I really mean everything you wrote ).
    On a side note, I’ve been using the MoneySmart system from Steve & Annette Economides ( from America’s cheapest family ) with my 2 girls ( 5 & 9 ). It works for us, they know what they have to do to get their money.

  • Romona@Monasez

    I agree with everything in this post. Parents never want to take responsibility for their part in creating little monsters or for their child’s failures. It’s too easy to just point the finger to some one else.

    • save. spend. splurge.

      Drives me mad because it frustrates me that teachers are basically unable to do anything about it. They have to accommodate, coddle, cajole and help the kids pass their subjects and classes but there’s really ONLY SO MUCH you can do before burning out and wondering what the point is of being a teacher.

  • Clarisse @MakeMoney Your Way

    Very true indeed! I’m working as a VA so it means I have more time for my daughter to teach her with her lessons, helping with her assignment, encourage her to read more. And I really see to it that every weekend we go out and attend Sunday mass.

    • save. spend. splurge.

      I’m glad you spend time with her to pay attention to her education and upbringing. Many parents just throw money at the problem “Oh let’s go skiing, you’re stressed.”

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