Generation Next Blog
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Parenting vs Teaching vs The Courts … a dilemma
In light of the recent newsletter reference to a court ruling on the appropriate management of children whose parents were undergoing a particularly nasty divorce, I think it’s fair to say that there are a lot of parents who need guidance….a clearer understanding of what makes their kids tick, and what qualifies as “suitable parenting”. But whose job is it to decide what is “suitable”?
Teachers often find themselves caught in the middle of the ‘code of conduct’ in place at their school and the behaviour and conduct that is acceptable to parents. Ask any teacher and you will find that during their career they will have had to placate many a parent whose view of the discipline handed down to their child does not match their own view of acceptable consequence. Parenting, and teaching for that matter, is all about building relationships with children – teaching and learning without relationship is a tough gig; just as authoritarian parenting will more than likely lead to constant confrontation in the home.
So, whose job is it to call the shots about “suitable parenting”? Parents, teachers, the courts? Open this question up for debate and you will find a myriad of opinions. One thing I do know is that there are a lot of parents out there who want the ‘inside track’ – they want to understand this generation of kids, they want to know when to step up and when to step back, they want the best for their kids.
Magistrate decisions, like the one referred to in the newsletter, have obviously been made in the best interests of the children concerned. Do decisions like this make any long-term impact on those parents out there who might still be arguing a point of discipline or student welfare with their school, or with each other? I doubt it. Perhaps we need to start looking at some shared responsibility for parent education at the outset – courts stepping in to clean up a parenting dispute and mediate for the welfare of kids is sad, but obviously a tell-tale sign of parenting in trouble.
The old saying “It takes a village to raise a child” may be trite, but true. There are parents in trouble out there and educators and appropriate agencies are key avenues of parenting support and education. We can’t tell parents how to parent, but if we have the capacity to educate and support parents to make better choices in parenting, then surely this is a better option. Proactive is surely better than reactive….which seems unfortunately to be the road more travelled.
Author: Angie Wilcock
High Hopes Educational Services