Are you a Parent or a Friend?

Dear Parents,

You’re getting it wrong.


Teachers Everywhere


I’ve been in Education now for over 15 years. For the last year or so, I’ve been the lucky relief teacher, entering schools, teaching your kids when their normal classroom teacher is away. This has given me an opportunity to talk to a diverse range of teachers at a diverse range of schools. It has given me the opportunity to be the observer, the fly on the wall, and what I’m seeing and experiencing is nothing short of alarming.

Kids behaviour at school is appalling.

Now don’t get me wrong, there are a lot of beautiful children out there, and if you’ve taken the time to read this article, then you’re probably not one of the parents that this information is directed at, but your children are quietly being left in the background as their classroom teacher deals with behaviours that are worse than ever before.

These days I’m a relief teacher, so I’m aware that kids trying it on with me is part of the game. I am however, a very experienced and confident person and it doesn’t take me long to get most kids on side. That being said, I am seeing atrocious behaviour and there is no doubt in my mind that this is a direct result of parenting failures.

Parents, it is not your job to be friends with your kids, it is your job to parent them. When you treat your kids as friends, allow them to argue with you, yell at you, refuse to comply with your requests, you are setting them up to fail in life. I can’t tell you how many kids argue with me these days. I’m a parent of 3, and my kids know that no means no. Your kids often act like no means if I argue hard enough, you’ll change your mind, and maybe that works for them at home, but it shouldn’t! Consistency is imperative, especially in a school setting, but this needs to be reinforced at home, it’s basic Parenting 101. You are the parent. You are allowed to say no. Your child will be fine if they don’t get what they want. It’s ok if your child is angry with you, it usually means you’re doing a good job, and while we’re at it, it doesn’t matter what all their friends are doing!

Seriously people, we are raising a generation of entitled arseholes and it’s not ok!

I’m also seeing a lot of children who speak really rudely and dismissively to grownups.

When you allow your children to speak poorly to you at home, you are by default allowing them to talk to all grown-ups like that and I have to say, it’s not good enough. Whilst your kids might be lovely to their classroom teacher because they love them, the way they speak to people they don’t have a relationship with matters. As the parent, you must pick your kids up on the way they speak, to you and to others. Do not just accept that your child is tired. Rude behaviour is rude behaviour and dismissing it as kids being kids is what’s ruining them! Be the parent! It’s not that hard!

I always used to say that if your kids are really good at school and less well behaved at home, you’re doing a good job because home is their safe place, but that doesn’t mean that you don’t pull them up on their poor behaviour when they’re at home.

I get it though, parents are tired, life is busy, there’s so much on, technology is easier to use than effective parenting strategies, but think about this… What if we are ruining a generation? What if this is the end of respectful relationships?

The behaviour I’m witnessing seriously makes me fear for the future.

Sadly, I think we are giving our kids too much of the wrong stuff. We are giving them too much stuff that doesn’t matter, too much space, too much independence and not enough of us.

We are letting them get Facebook and Instagram because their friends have it, we are letting them hang out in groups at the local shops unsupervised too early, we are giving them phones and access to information they aren’t ready to process, all because we think times have changed, but do you know what hasn’t changed? The need to teach respect, the need to demand respect.

We need to teach our kids that life isn’t just about taking.

We need to teach our kids that they have an impact through their words and through their actions. We need to teach them that the most important thing in life is how they treat others. We need to teach them to be good humans.

It’s ok to say no to your children.

It’s ok to punish them and take things away.

It’s ok for them to hate you for a while.

It’s ok to say no even if every other parent in the world is saying yes.

It’s ok to demand better manners.

It’s ok to expect respect.

It’s ok to be the parent, in fact it’s your job and it’s the most important one you have.


My new book The Tween Mother’s Tool Book: Raising Strong Daughters is out now.