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Are Parents to Blame?


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In a large number of cases I believe Hart is correct. In both my professional and personal life I see increasing numbers of adults with children utterly lacking even basic parenting skills. Too many parents seem to regard education as some sort of service industry which will do the job for them. :)

May this have something to do with the diversity in family arrangements we see today or is it individual inadequacy on the part of the parents concerned??

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First, I should point out that when I went to a secondary school in Dagenham, the behaviour of the children was worse than anything I ever experienced teaching in a comprehensive school.

However, I definitely witnessed a decline in children’s behaviour in the classroom over the last 25 years. There are probably several reasons for this. I would suggest the following:

(1) A decline in the parents’ ability to shape their children’s behaviour.

(2) A belief (developed in the late 1960s and early 1970s) by parents that they should not try to over-control the behaviour of their children.

(3) A change in the attitudes of children and parents towards people in authority (the police are suffering similar problems).

(4) A decline in the skills needed by teachers to shape student behaviour.

However, it is important to remember that the majority of children are just as well behaved as they have ever been. It is just that the percentage of badly behaved children is growing.

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However, it is important to remember that the majority of children are just as well behaved as they have ever been. It is just that the percentage of badly behaved children is growing.

Agreed.

However your numbered list would suggest that parents are "at fault" by a ratio of 3:1.

My parents brought me up to have a healthy disregard for "authority figures" for which I am indebted to them. However they also brought me up to be well mannered and polite and most importantly to value education.

The teacher profession has undoubtedly been deskilled over the years - perhaps a deliberate attempt to depress the pay and status of the profession??

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I think that parents are partially to blame for the disruptive behaviour of their children and that this probably results from their own negative school experiences. However, in my view the situation has been aggravated by the general reduction in the authoritarian approach to education that has taken place over the last forty years which has allowed potentially disruptive students to exploit more relaxed teaching regimes.

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Guest Andrew Moore

I'd have been (even more) disruptive, had I been subjected to the National Curriculum and the various National Strategies.

I see no evidence that society is generally getting worse - but the problems shift. So, for example, the behaviour of fans at soccer matches is massively better than in the 1970s. The pupils I taught in 2000 were generally as pleasant and courteous as those I taught in 1980.

But it perhaps is true that a decline in some occupations has broken up communities, where some kind of social norms were established.

The obsession with inclusion means that fewer of the children with emotional disorders can find a special school place. This might not be so bad, if the mainstream schools had the scope they once did (and may soon have again) to develop appropriate alternatives to the National Curriculum and zillions of tests.

However, some people have short memories. In the early 1960s, it was quite common for gangs of mods and rockers to organize mass fights in seaside resorts. They carried flick knives in some cases, but the weapon of choice was the hammer. Violent and anti-social actions are not new.

A great evil and danger, such as being at war with Nazis, can make people better as they accept a common cause. We are maybe paying the price of a long time of peace.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Andrew is right when he says

Violent and anti-social actions are not new.

However, I do believe that the current situation is more worrying in the sense that violence as a form of entertainment is widely accepted so that the evening and weekend outings by teenagers have become, for many, a deliberate exercise in seeking a punch up or vandalism of some kind.

Yes I think that parents have to take a lot of the blame but again the culture and easy acceptance of divorce and one parent families have a significant impact also. Bringing up children to be reasonable, balanced human beings is the hardest job I have ever done but I was not alone - a husband, grandparents, uncles, aunts and cousins were all involved and supportive. How so many single mums (it isn't usually dads is it?) can expect to cope with demanding toddlers and the stroppy teenagers they often become is beyond my understanding. It is no wonder that they let them go out of the house without asking where or what they will be up to - the prospect of a few hours peace must be irresistable.

In addition I think that TV and film portrayal of violence is so easily available to children from an early age. Another way of parents getting the few hours of peace is to sit them in front of the TV or a video, often portraying violence. Even on news broadcasts the violent images shown leave little out. I firmly believe these all profoundly influence youngsters and they become blase about what they see - it is 'fantasy'.

Society as a whole must accept blame, not just parents. The question is what are we all prepared to do about it? :)

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