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:
“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.
1. TEACHERS DO NOT HAVE TIME TO DEAL WITH YOUR PROBLEM CHILDREN
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”.
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?
2. YOU THINK YOUR CHILDREN ARE MINI GENIUSES JUST BECAUSE THEY’RE YOURS
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.
3. IT IS YOUR JOB AS A PARENT TO TEACH THEM AS WELL
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?
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).
4. PARENTS ENABLE THEIR CHILDREN TO BECOME DEPENDENT ADULT LOSERS WHO HAVE LITTLE TO NO RESPECT FOR AUTHORITY OR OTHERS
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.
5. PARENTS DON’T SEEM TO CARE ABOUT ACADEMIA YET THEIR EXTRACURRICULARS ARE SO IMPORTANT
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.)
SO PLEASE, SAVE ME YOUR WHINING ABOUT TEACHERS NOT DOING A GOOD JOB
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.
MY ADVICE? DO YOUR DAMN JOB AS A PARENT
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.
(Oh yes, and you can be damn sure my children will not be coddled throughout their lives.)