For years there has been a line – albeit a semi-permanent, movable, sometimes defined, sometimes less so line – separating the role of teacher and parent. The term “in loco parentis” is used to define schools duty of care.

 Often schools will offer parent information nights, offering advice on how best to meet the needs of children. Indeed many Generation Next speakers regularly speak to school communities, but other than offer advice, it is impossible for schools to enforce appropriate parenting habits – as much as they might like to!

So I read with much interest the story a magistrate that has done just that! In an allegedly bitter divorce case, as part of the settlement, the judge has prescribed certain parenting steps that must be taken by the father.

These include, only allowing his boys, aged seven and four, to watch TV shows with an age appropriate classification and ensuring the boys wore adequate sunscreen.

Steven Edward, a family law expert from Slater & Gordon, said that courts can act however they see fit in acting in the best interests of the child. “Suitable parenting can cover a lot of things… video games, internet use, & bed time,” he says.

Generation Next speakers including Dr Wayne Warburton, Melinda Tankard Reist and Dr Sarah Blunden have all spoken on such issues, and I wonder with courts making rulings like this in divorce proceedings, will we see the day when there will be rules for parenting, in the same way there are rules for driving?

Do we need this? Do we want this? Would this help schools teach kids more effectively?

Author: Dan Haesler, he is a teacher, writer and speaker at the Mental Health & Wellbeing of Young People seminars He writes for the Sydney Morning Herald and blogs at and tweets at @danhaesler