Article taken from the Daily Mail, By Laura Clark – Education Correspondent
Middle-class parents are fuelling a crisis in classroom discipline by ‘buying off’ children with TV’s and computers, a teachers’ leader warned yesterday.
A generation of well off pupils is failing to accept the authority of teachers because they are used to being indulged at home, according to Dr Mary Bousted.
Her union will next week debate a motion calling on the Government to dock the child benefit of parents who fail to discipline their children and to force such mothers and fathers to attend parenting classes.
Members of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers will point out that disruptive pupils and their parents face almost no consequences for their actions.
They will spell out how teachers are routinely interrupted and sworn at, and sometimes assaulted, by pupils who have never been taught to give and take.
Other pupils turn up to school ‘dead tired’ because they have been allowed to stay up late.
Dr Bousted, the ATL’s general secretary, said parents had a duty to ensure their children were brought up understanding ‘how they should behave in school’.
She added: ‘it’s often the well off middle-class who buy off their children through the computers and televisions and everything that isolates them within the home. And then they are surprised when their child doesn’t come to school ready to learn.
She warned that children were leading ‘increasingly isolated lives’ at home, never having a family meal, having televisions and computers in their bedrooms, stuck for hours in their bedroom in front of the computer screen, and not learning about give and take within the family’.
Dr Bousted said: ‘If you don’t learn about give and take within the family you can’t learn about it in school, you can’t practise proper behaviour in school, where you ‘re not going to get exactly what you want, when you want, and how you want it.’
She said teachers ‘worked their socks off’ and then felt frustrated when parents failed to support them.
‘If you go into a pet shop you have to prove you are going to be able to take care of your dog before they sell you a puppy. But there is no minimum standard for being a parent, unless you are so awful the state takes the child away from you.
‘It’s not that children are born bad, it’s that when children behave badly at school, they are very often the results of very poor parenting.’
ATL members will debate a call next week for ‘the benefits system to be adjusted so that the parents of disruptive pupils lose part of their child benefit’.