Are Parents Failing Children?

We are very quick to blame schools/government/nurseries when it comes to our children missing vital skills. The National Curriculum is constantly being revised and rewritten to reflect what society dictates our children should know, with talk of scrapping GCSEs and only having exams at age 18, while primary school children seem to be tested on a weekly basis.

But it made me very sad today to read a newspaper article about reception-aged children who go to school wearing nappies as they haven’t been toilet trained. And this is not an isolated article – a quick Google throws a great many up along the same lines over the past few years. Can it really just not occur to parents that this is something they need to teach their children, or do they just expect them to know how instinctively? Teachers shouldn’t have to have the responsibility of changing nappies – they are there to educate our little cherubs, not put them down for a nap in the afternoon because the children are so tired from staying up late. Of course the children may want to stay up, but as parents, it’s our responsibility to say when enough is enough.

I am not a perfect mother – far from it (in fact my dad once told me that the day I stop worrying about being a mad mum is the day to start worrying). But it’s so sad to read about parents not playing with their children, or even reading them stories. I love reading with the boys, and they in turn now love reading. Seeing them learn new things every day is a complete joy, and makes me so proud. Only today Ben finally got the hang of tying his shoelaces, and he was so chuffed with himself, which was fantastic to witness.

And what about discipline? In my opinion children need some kind of boundaries – my boys behave much better and are much more pleasant when they know what is expected of them. If children can do whatever they want at home, how can they be expected to learn how to behave in any given social situation? It seems very unfair to let them do what they want at home and suddenly have lots of rules enforced on them at school.

Being a parent is hard. Damned hard. But then again no-one said it would be easy. Yes, I want to give the boys the best of everything I can – nice food, a nice house, nice toys. But I also want them to grow into nice men, and I know that the foundations for that start here and now. They are my children, and my responsibility. I am just astounded and saddened that other parents absolve themselves of that responsibility, and I think they are missing out on so much of their children’s formative years by not giving them the attention they need and deserve at such a wonderful time in what is a truly amazing journey.

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