Monday, April 16, 2012

Let me introduce you to my alter ego...

...Ms. Snarky.  She's going to come out to play today because well, Ms. Preppy is feeling a little bit snarkalicious today.  Please be nice to her.

Mrs. Mimi of It's Not All Flowers and Sausages was my introduction to the teaching blog world way back when I was in college {I say that like it was soo long ago} and when her book came out, I was first in line at my local Barnsey {that's Mrs. Mimi speak for Barnes and Noble, if you didn't know} and read it cover to cover.  And laughed the whole time.  I re-read it not so long ago because now that I'm in the classroom, it's even more funny.  There's one thing in her book that I end up discussing with my team at least twice a week.  I'm not sure of the exact quote, but she's talking about parent teacher conferences and how some parents seem to have a million things to do, none of which include actively parenting their child.  I love that.  Actively parenting.  It is not enough to simply feed and clothe your child.  You must actively parent them.  And unfortunately, there are entirely too many parents who aren't familiar with the practice of actively parenting their child.

There are many things involved in this active parenting phenomenon, but one biggie is teaching your child to accept responsibility.  Please explain to me why parents think that all they have to do is call me and explain that there is no way in the world their sweet little one did whatever it is I saw them do with my own two eyes and I'll just cave and apologize profusely and take away or make up for whatever consequence I've given...  Why?  I mean, that just doesn't work.  I saw your child cut another child's hair with their scissors.  I saw that.  It happened.  There's no getting out of it.  Why do you think it's a good move to allow your child to escape accepting responsibility?  How is that setting them up for success in adulthood?

I mean, if I decided to drive in reverse down the highway at 90 miles per hour with all of my doors open and my head poking out of the sun roof, I'm going to get pulled over.  And I'm probably going to get arrested.  Because I'm breaking the law.  And I can't use my one phone call to call my mommy and explain to her how horrible the police are to pull ME over because I wasn't doing anything wrong.  It was a pretty day and I wanted to try something new, is having fun illegal now?  Yes, my mom thinks I'm the cutest, sweetest, smartest person in the world.  But she can't come up to the police department and explain that it was just a little misunderstanding and that I would never do such a thing and could they please not send me to jail or give me a ticket.  That's not going to work in the real world!  But I'm afraid this is what's going to happen to some of my little friends if their parents don't step up and make them accept responsibility for their actions.  It's pretty scary.

Now, don't get me wrong.  I have some amazing parents who work with me and we support each other and it's just beautiful.  But then I have some who just have too much going on to be bothered with the responsibilities of actively parenting their child.  I'm sure we all have at least one or two of those!

So I'm thinking that at back to school night, we don't need to explain our rules for the CHILDREN...we need to explain our rules for the PARENTS.  I'm thinking a looks like, sounds like chart for active parenting.  What do you think?  What does active parenting look like and sound like to you?


Jen R said...

ha!! Amen, sister!! That's MOST of my class!
The Teacher’s Cauldron

Unknown said...

So true Caitlin! I have parents who like to call and ask what I did to make them act that way. Seriously? Why do they believe an 8 year old over an adult? I just don't get it. I also have some great parents but this year I have more high maintenance parents than I have ever had. This year can't get over soon enough!

Swimming into Second

Ashlee said...

HAHAHAHAHA!!! Amen sista!!! I was laughing so hard on your post! It is so true! I had that same problem last year, they thought their babies couldn't do anything wrong! Love your police example!


Bonnie Walton said...

So true! I haven't had much experience with that at my current school, but I had a major issue with a couple of parents at my old school. One of the mom's asked me why her son would say/do whatever it was. I told her I didn't know and she would need to ask him. She got mad and went to the principal! No responsibility!

Living A Wonderful Life

Michelle Rist said...

Yes, yes, yes, yes, YES! I could not agree with you more! I REALLY wish parents would realize they are hurting their child by making excuses for them! My prayer for these unfortunate children of "inactive parents" is that one day their parents mistakes do not come back to hurt them. We all know what these children grow up to be like and it makes me sad, sick and scared for them. Jails are full of people who "didn't do anything wrong."

Ashley said...

I love this post and could not agree more! I think my new favorite words may be that anyone can be a parent, but to be successful, you must actively parent!


Jen said...

So so painfully true!!!!!!!

Kristin said...

Nodding. Nodding. Nodding. Hallelujah, sister! Preach on!
A Teeny Tiny Teacher

Anonymous said...

I know a school employee who SAW a student damaging school property and reported it. When the parent was called in, he (the parent) was irate and insisted his child did nothing. Right ... as if this employee had nothing else to do other than file false reports and jeopardize his own job!!! I guess you can't make your kid responsible for his actions if you, the parent, aren't willing to be responsible for your parenting actions!!!

Anonymous said...

I had a parent call me upset because I put her daughter in time out for 5 minutes, yes, 5 whole minutes. She thought her daughter should be exempt from facing the consequences of her actions. Sorry, not in my room. I'm not running a training camp for a future stay in a correctional facility.

This year I have 2 strong parents who expect the highest from their children. About a fourth of the parents provide decent support of their children's academic lives. The rest--excuses, excuses, excuses.

And we wonder why we have failing scores.

Holly said...

I love when you explain different "problems" with their child and they look at you like you've grown a third eye and say "hmmm, I don't see that at home"...they act as if you're making it all up. Ummmm,why would I want your child to be struggling? Why would that make me feel good as a teacher? Wouldn't I WANT to tell you that your child is awesome, rockin' it out, SERIOUSLY that just doesn't make sense. Ownership...a last art.

Crisscross Applesauce in First Grade

Unknown said...

Love this post!!!! You have said everything I have ever wanted to say to a parent whose child is a perfect angel... NOT! I recently had parent conferences and I sent home the report card with a list of items they didn't know. I had 2 parents call me the next day and tell me they tested their child and they knew all the items I said they missed. Seriously??? Do they think I just made it all up??? Gotta love parents! :)
Crayons and Curls

Jennifer said...

Um-YES! I totally risked it at Meet the Teacher night and told my parents what's what. I figured if they didn't like me then oh well! It's worked out mostly well!

Rowdy in First Grade

Ashley said...

Oh my gosh... completely agree with everything you just wrote. Those parents drive me insane. :) Love your blog!


Cynthia said...

I just stumbled across your blog (and became your newest follower). I'm so glad I found it and read your post. So for thought! :-)


2nd Grade Pad

Anonymous said...

OMG!! I am having one of those weeks too with my students and parents. I have one special child in my room that is always pushing the limit. When I told her one day that he was standing in the middle of the room holding his chair and spinning in circles, she said "oh." Really, all you have to say is "oh." The lack of embarrassment for your child doing something wrong is missing too. So I feel your pain. I just might use that "active parent" line the next time I speak at conferences. :)