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Does your 'little Buddha' need to scrub a toilet?


It's the long weekend, kids, and here's the homework: Start scrubbing the floors.

Complaining of all the spoiled kids mouthing off in their classrooms, the leader of a British teachers association has made national news across the pond for laying the blame on parents, accusing them of turning their children into "little Buddhas" by "waiting on them hand and foot."

Mary Bousted, the general secretary of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers, made the comment at a conference in which many educators complained that detentions and suspensions are no longer getting through to their coddled students.

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"Far too many children are waited on at home hand and foot," Dr. Bousted was quoted by the BBC. "They don't do the washing up and they don't do the hoovering and they don't have to make their own beds."

Permissive parenting, she said, is not "doing them any favours in school."

Dr. Bousted, who is far from being the first educator to point a finger at negligent parenting, said the problem is rife in both well-off and lower-income homes.

Teachers at the conference also discussed how governments have failed to replace corporal punishment (abolished in the 1980s) with an effective approach to discipline.

"Effective teaching and learning cannot take place against a constant background of disruptive behaviour by pupils. ... Moreover, where such behaviour is a regular occurrence, it should not be attributed to a teacher's inability to plan and take lessons," the BBC quoted Julian Perfect, a delegate who spoke on the subject, as saying. (He also made clear that he was not advocating for a return to corporal punishment.)

A recent survey by the British teachers association found that a third of educators reported dealing with violence in their classroom in the past 12 months, including pushing, punching or kicking. More than half of the teachers surveyed felt behaviour had worsened in the last five years. In a BBC report, one teacher explained: "I had a female student threaten to kick the smile off my face, in front of the whole class."

When asked why they thought their students were getting brattier, 73 per cent blamed a lack of positive role models at home, according to the BBC. Nearly two-thirds suggested a main cause was "the breakdown of relationships in the family."

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Now these same teachers are saying parents need to take on their own class project at home – and they can start by forcing the kids to wash the dinner dishes.

Do your kids do fewer chores than you performed at their age? Are more household responsibilities key to better behaviour at school?

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About the Author

Erin Anderssen writes about mental health, social policy and family issues. More

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