Friday, June 8, 2012

Why Can't We Hold Parents Accountable Any More?

I've noticed that whenever someone starts talking about  "the parents", people want to shut them down. The immediate reaction is a harsh backlash, usually accusing the author of parent bashing.  "The parents" are off-limits. But, I'm going to go there.:)

I believe society started a trend from which there is no escape, and no turning back.  Parents were allowed to relinquish the reins of raising their children. They relinquished them,  handed them over to the schools, to the teachers. They stepped back, and said, "You take care of them!"  You make sure my child eats, you make sure my child can read, you make sure my child gets enough exercise, you make sure my child doesn't bully anyone."  The list is endless! How did this happen? They are parents, and that is a job that should be taken seriously.

My mother raised 5 children, the key word being "raised".  She took responsibility for us, she did not make excuses. She, (my Dad helped a little), made sure we were clean, completed our homework, ate dinner, played outside, she did this.  We were all reading before the first day of school. It seems to me that when you know that someone else is going to feed your child, clothe them, teach them, make sure their work is done, where is the incentive for you to do it?

I understand that parenting is difficult, but you can't just stop once they enter school.  We need to hold parents responsible for providing the things their children need to be successful in school. If a child can come to school with the latest sneakers and/or latest video game console, why can't they bring in a pencil, a notebook, the bare essentials for a classroom? If there is no Internet access at home, why can't the parent take their child to the Public library, it's free! Do you know how many parents look at me as if I have two heads when I suggest this?

We have to stop saying, "Oh, you know they're not going to do it, so we (teachers) might as well." That is not acceptable. Do I mean let a child in your school go hungry, freeze, or not provide notebooks because their parent lost their job, or is on drugs, or any other catastrophe that can't be controlled? No, I'm not talking about that parent. I am talking about the ones who are perfectly capable of providing what their child needs, but refuse.  

The parent who will not attend conferences because they are "tired",  but will call you in a heartbeat to find out why their child didn't go out for Recess today.  The parent who signs tests and notes, as they push their kid out of the car in the morning, and then call you to ask how their child is doing.  The parent who asks for extra work for their child, a day or two after the phone call informing them that their child is not doing any work in class or at home. The parent who won't pick up a book to read to their child at home, yet complains to the teacher about the child's inability to read. (A parent told a friend of mine, "That's what you're here for!") The parent who takes their kid to Disney World while school is in session because it is cheaper, and then asks you to provide a week's worth of work!

 I have had many wonderful, supportive parents, who will do whatever they need to for their child, make the sacrifices that are required. But, I have also had the other ones. And I feel if they are going to hold us accountable, then our parents should be held accountable as well! Remember the triangle? Three legs,the child, the parents, and the school.  Unfortunately, every time a parent lets go, that triangle collapses! How can we get our parents to pick up that leg?


  1. Oh I hear that... 95% of parents ROCK! Lots of them have "situations" that make parenting difficult... but they do it any way because it's their job.

  2. I agree Sara, most of my parents are pretty decent!:)

  3. I have called a lot of parents, and have heard only 2 responses. 1)He/Se is a good kid, they are just lazy. 2) Well, I don't know what to do with them. Neither response takes any responsability or puts any on the child. Makes me crazy.

  4. @Lordbaumy I think #2 depresses me the most. :( Especially when they say it in front of their child.

  5. Amen!!! Without parental support and involvement it is very hard for students to achieve. When we look at our "gaps" and the reports say that there is a learning gap between those in single-parent homes at the low end of the economic spectrum and those in a 2 working parent home and then we, the school, are asked to CLOSE THE GAP! Just not possible. It all begins at home. This year our school is not allowed to "require" fees. No one *has* to pay. And many families come right out and say "I don't have to" -- it burns me up!!! Again, I don't want a penny from someone struggling to put food on the table but those who choose sports fees over book fees (etc., etc.) make me crazy. Thanks for the post. . .always good to hear this perspective.
    And it's not fair to not give a SHOUT OUT to those extremely involved, tuned-in parents. They are appreciated as all get-out. I hope I am one of them. But when I have car duty and there are still children waiting one hour after school has let out and they call home and someone "forgot" to get them. . .well. . .it makes it hard. Or a child yesterday was suspended from the bus because he was in a fist-fight (who has a harder job then teachers? Bus drivers!) and today that child didn't show up at school -- why are parents no longer RESPONSIBLE for their children? Not their actions, certainly, but we know he wasn't at school because he, a 12-yr-old, is responsible for getting himself to school and was obviously not able to. Sigh.
    Thanks for the chance to add.

  6. Sorry I had to post a minute ago anonymously. . .I wasn't sure if I was signed in on my school's account or my personal one. I am jbell72 at gmail.