CHARLES GRAHAM - Parents’ duty not to be slaves

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IT came as little surprise to hear an education expert claim the other day that modern day parents are creating a generation of “mini-Buddhas.”

Dr Mary Bousted, leader of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers, marked the 26th anniversary of the abolition of corporal punishment in schools with a speech which says that children are given far too much leeway to do as they please at home, have few chores to fulfil and this has made them much more difficult to control and teach at school.

She says that we adults shouldn’t be waiting hand and foot on the junior members of the family because this brings them up without an understanding of their responsibilities towards mum, dad and other grown-ups.

In other words, they have the misguided belief that adults are simply there to serve them and rarely take “no” for an answer.

I think there is a lot of merit in what Dr Bousted says. And of course this kid-glove treatment of children can be contagious if they see their mates’ being pandered to by parents. In their minds it may seem then only reasonable that they should be treated with equal deference.

There have been battles aplenty in the Graham household, I can confirm, and readily admit that both youngsters could probably do with spending rather more time clearing up not just after themselves but also others (without spoiling their enjoyment of childhood’s more relaxing and exciting aspects and not turning them into slaves).

Reports from school and college, however, at least don’t suggest that they are argumentative or troublesome, which is a relief.

Clearly some young people are though, and I would like to bet that some of the parents of these classroom rebels feel it is somehow the teachers’ fault that they behave that way.

But this is just parents washing their hands of responsibilities that are primarily theirs.

Behaviour and manners come long before a child first enters a classroom and you can’t expect teachers to mould that youngster’s entire personality as well as educate them during those hours at school.

Spoiling a child only makes a rod for the parents’ own backs too.