Doing Life Together

1 schoolYour child comes home from school and tells you the teacher treated her unfairly. There was a fight and she was sent to the principal’s office. But it wasn’t her fault and the teacher was picking on her.

Do you?

a) Side with your child and promise to call the principal and straighten things out.

b) Support the teacher and tell your child that the teacher did what she thought was necessary.

c) Get mad and go to the school to settle it with the teacher.

I hope you answered b. Why? Because that is what the teacher needs to be respected and carry out discipline in the classroom. The other two answers undermine the teacher’s authority and teach your child she doesn’t have to respect the teacher.

Unfortunately, respect is being lost among parents and students. According to a Harris poll that asked adults to compare their memory of “school dynamics” when they were students with today, 46% of parents respect teachers, a drop from 91%.

And only 31%of students respect their teachers, a drop from 79%.

This means that parents often undermine the teacher’s authority and make excuses for their children’s behavior.  Teachers are often unfairly blamed, which tears at their respect.

And I would argue that this lack of respect carries over to other authorities a well. So parents, here is the charge. Let teachers teach and stop undermining their authority. Will they always be right? No, but that too is a valuable lesson for the future. People are not always treated fairly in a job, by others and need to find respectful ways to disagree or obey when they don’t like it.

Even when my teachers were wrong, my parents taught ME to respectfully confront the situation and accept the final authority. This lesson has served me well in life.

Parents, you model respect every time you respond to a complaint or criticism. You have the power to teach your child how to follow directions and solve problems. Now, what will you do with that power?

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