Should Teachers be Able to Tell People they Are Bad Parents?


Ofsted chief inspector Sir Michael Wilshaw wants teachers to feel free to tell parents they don’t think are doing a good job that they are ‘bad parents‘.

This is a most preposterous opinion and one that indicates he might not be the right person for the position.

Parenting is a very difficult job, as every child is different and no single strategy works for every child. Some require firmness, others thrive with a more calm approach, some need to be motivated, others need to be shown how to relax. There is no course or degree that parents are forced to attend prior to having a baby. Parents start as rank amateurs and learn on the job. Sometimes they get on top of things, sometimes they struggle. This is to be expected. If every adult waited until they had all the answers before embarking on parenthood the birth rate would plummet.

What better profession is there for understanding the fragility of rearing children as the teaching profession? Up to 30 children in the classroom, some with special needs, some high achievers with a thirst for greater challenges, some with aggression, others who daydream and then there are those that lose every book and pencil they’ve ever been given. We know how hard it is to nurture children, so why would we pass judgement on others?

The ideal teacher doesn’t criticise parents, but rather, works with them. The best outcomes occur when teachers and parents join forces in improving outcomes for their children.

Sure, we have all encountered parents with attitudes and methods which we do not approve of. We might even tactfully suggest they take a different approach. But how is name calling going to change the parents in question? How is mud slinging going to assist the child?

Click on the link to read Loving Parents Are Allowed to Take Some Time Out

Click on the link to read How Life Changes When You Become a Parent (Video)

Click on the link to read Have Our Children Stopped Dreaming?

Click on the link to read How to Spend Time With Your Kids When You Have No Time

Click on the link to read The Meaning of Being a Father (Video)

Click on the link to read 24 Signs You Are a Mother


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4 Responses to “Should Teachers be Able to Tell People they Are Bad Parents?”

  1. steevbeed Says:

    Definitely not the right person for the job. Also raises the question of wether Ofsted is even fit for purpose

  2. John Tapscott Says:

    Throughout my teaching career I have met many parents. They come in all shapes and sizes, all colours of skin, all creeds, languages and cultures. The overwhelming majority want the best for their children. They do not always know what that is. Sometimes teachers don’t know what that is.

    I have three children. Parenthood is not easy. With your first child the job is very new. You do not always know what is the best thing to do. But you do remember what your parents did. I remember my parents and my grandparents. There was a continuity in the family that is not quite so evident today. This must make it hard. Families are so different. People have children under more different and diverse circumstances than ever before. Some have only one parent. Some have two parents of the same gender. Some have no real parents and have to make do in a foster situation.

    There are more people giving conflicting advice about how to raise children than ever before. Is it any wonder that parents are confused?

    So what is a bad parent? What does one look like? What does one do? I have run courses in parenting children. The people who have come would not be classified as bad parents. They wanted advice. They wanted to do a good job. They cared very deeply about their children. There’s the point. I think to be a bad parent you have not to care about your children. They must be an inconvenience to the extent that you neglect them; to the extent that you are cruel; to the extent that you fail to provide a positive role model and fail to teach them the basics of proper behaviour. And I have to say it: there are bad parents who have no right to be in charge of children.

    I have never met such a parent. I have heard of them. If what I have heard is correct such people have no right to parenthood.

    So there are social and legal agencies that exist for such parents to be reported on and teachers are obliged by law in many jurisdictions to report. Sadly many of the agencies to which they have to report are also “bad parents” and often children are taken out of the frying pan and dumped into a fire.

    One of the things I often teach is about the birds and the bees. Mainly about the birds. If one observes birds they mostly build nests or find a hollow tree. They have preparations in place for when and where the eggs are laid and for the care and nurture of the little birds when they hatch. Both parents have a role to play. In human society we call the nest a marriage. Without that the whole thing becomes very difficult. It’s hard enough to raise children these days, even in a loving marriage. But one thing is certain. There are no birds that lay their eggs anywhere, then leave them and forget about them. They would surely perish to the point of extinction.

    You might say, well what about the cuckoo? Where I live we have channel billed cuckoos. They are the largest cuckoos. When they arrive from Papua-New Guinea in the spring they are quiet and stealthy. After they have laid their eggs in the nests of crows or magpies, they fly around feeding on fruit and making the most raucous din. Towards the end of summer, when the young are fully fledged they return for their young, calling them out ready for the flight back to PNG.

    Here endeth the lesson.

  3. John Tapscott Says:

    By the way, I think Sir Michael is out of touch with reality if he thinks that a teacher can improve the situation by telling parents they are bad parents. They would already be abundantly aware of that fact and are either not caring or are in denial. In any case for a teacher to tell them, is not going to help, any more than my telling Sir Michael he is a jerk will help him not be a jerk.

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