Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Toxic

Thanks to School Me, I've found an interesting article by Marc Fisher in the Washington Post that asks a very simple question, "Are you a toxic parent?"

True or False:

·Kids are going to drink anyway, so they might as well do it at home, under adult supervision

·Restricting teenagers makes no sense when they'll be on their own in college soon enough

·You'd rather be your child's friend than an authority figure

If you answered 'true' to any of the above, you are not alone.

But that doesn't mean you're right


Now, be careful, because some of the stories are pretty over the top (remember the mom that hosted booze/drugs/sex parties for kids to be "cool"), but the message is still very much necessary; be the parent, not a friend.
And if you happen to be a newer teacher, you will most likely run into "friend moms" who are more concerned with being cool with their daughter and less concerned about raising their daughter. I've had many, many meetings were it is instantly obvious that mom and daughter are friends, thus eliminating any authoritative respect that the kid might have for the parent. One case involved a daughter dressed half naked that I sent to the office during my first year. Mom showed up dressed exactly like the kid and stated that the girl, "Could dress sexy if she wants. She's got a hot little body, she can flaunt it." It was disgusting and scary.
Believe it or not, you will also have parents that will tell you that they have given up.
-I can't get him to do anything.
-She needs to get to work, I can't take away her phone or car.
-I can't wake him up in the mornings.
-Do you have any suggestions?

In the end, I really don't have suggestions because I'm not a parent. It becomes a very dangerous area when I start discussing parenting with Moms and Dads because I don't have kids, and the Lion Parents get very agitated. I recommend that parents hold their ground, demaresponsibilityity academically, and I tell them that I expect a certain level of work for their kids. If they don't get it done here, they don't pass. Some parents thank me and try to enforce some discipline, but dealing with Juniors and Seniors, it is usually a very tough struggle, one that parents give up on after awhile.

The hardest job in teaching, in my opinion, is parents. If credential programs are listening, we need a serious course in Parent/Teacher Relations immediately.
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