When saying “no” makes you a mean mom, we are in trouble

Rachel Simmons believes kids need limits and that saying "no" doesn't make parents mean.

Rachel Simmons believes kids need limits and that saying "no" doesn't make parents mean.

Few of us today can fathom the entertainment value that ancient Romans got from sitting in arenas and watching slaves and Christians torn apart by lions.

Perhaps, future generations will wonder the same thing about our choice of amusements: How could Americans sit back with a bowl of cookie-dough ice cream or a bag of Cheetos and watch the emotional blood sport of reality TV?

And how could we expose our children to this steady diet of public humiliation as entertainment and not expect it to influence how they act toward one another?

For all the debates raging now about how to stop bullying in our schools, we haven’t yet acknowledged that abrasiveness and incivility describe much of our national discourse.

We applaud it in politicians, relish it in “American Idol” judges and indulge it in online blogs.

“Nice” has now become a synonym for pushover or patsy. Teachers who call parents about a child’s misbehavior find themselves under the hot lights for what they did to provoke the kid or for singling out the student for something that everybody does.

“There is a sense now that acting out is a form of standing up for yourself,” says Rachel Simmons, a well-regarded expert on girls, relationships and aggression. Author of “Odd Girl Out: The Hidden Culture of Aggression in Girls” and “The Curse of the Good Girl: Raising Authentic Girls with Courage and Confidence,” Simmons is leading a workshop in Decatur Monday night for mothers and daughters.

“Girl power has been manipulated, repackaged and sold to girls and families in the forms of sassiness and meanness. The message to girls is that you can be confident by being sassy. You can be confident by being rude,” says Simmons.

Although the 36-year-old Simmons is far younger than no-nonsense parenting expert John Rosemond and has no children of her own yet, she echoes one of his main themes when she talks about the transformation in how parents react to news of wrongdoing by their offspring.

The first question from her mother, a teacher, to such a report would have been, “What did you do?” says Simmons. “Now, we live in a culture where the first response is ‘What did the school do?’”

In her talks around the country, Simmons says at least one mother comes up afterward and identities herself as “the mean mom in the class … the one who says you can’t have a phone, you can’t be on Facebook.”

“When saying ‘no’ is pathologized as being mean, that to me is a sign of the times,” says Simmons. And it’s not a sign that points in a positive direction.

“Kids have bullied their parents into giving into privileges that the parents know are too early to give,” she says.

“Kids tell the parents that they will be a loser if they don’t get a phone, and the parents panic and give up, but the kids desperately need limits on their use of technology. They live in a society that is selling them a life of electronic addiction,” she says.

Sophisticated ad campaigns that turn even preschoolers into voracious consumers alarm  Simmons. “This generation has been primed to be consumers before they were born.” Simmons notes that parents now buy classical music CDs to play for fetuses in the womb.

While she doesn’t advocate rigid authoritarian parenting, Simmons also doesn’t think that every discussion with a child should be a negotiation, especially with technology.

“If your child thinks your policy on technology is good, you are probably doing something wrong,” she says. “Because if most kids had it their own way, they would be online all the time.” As someone who studies adolescence, Simmons doesn’t envy today’s parents because of the cultural forces that disregard the moral health of children.

“It’s really hard to be a parent today. Everybody is pushing against you,” she says. “That is why you have to pick your battles.
“If your battle is no Facebook until high school or no texting until middle school, then do it. You have a right to draw your line in the sand.

The problem is when you don’t know where that line is,” Simmons says.
Simmons is hesitant to declare that children today are in crisis in America. “Children in Dafar are in crisis,” she says.

“Part of growing up is facing gut-wrenching challenges. It’s only a crisis when a family or school does not have the resources to support a child through the experience, whatever it is,” says Simmons.

While she agrees that teachers cannot be social workers, Simmons says, “On the other hand, you can’t teach if kids don’t feel safe enough to learn. Their social and emotional wellness are inextricably tied to their capacity to learn.”

To buy tickets for the Rachel Simmons mother and daughter workshop  at 7 p.m.  Monday at Decatur High School, 310 N. McDonough St., Decatur, go to www.acappellabooks.com or call 404-681-5128. Tickets  cost $18 per adult/child.

60 comments Add your comment

vee

October 10th, 2010
7:41 pm

I was always a “mean mom” according to my kids (now in their late 20’s). I just couldn’t imagine the things the other parents DIDN’T do! I was the only one who called the other parents when 13 y/o’s wanted to sleep over at a friend’s house. I insisted on speaking to the ADULT who was going to supervise and/or drive middle schoolers to parties. Mean mom’s are no new phenom. They’ve always been around and their kids are alive to prove it.

NW Georgia teacher

October 10th, 2010
8:22 pm

I’m a mean mom. The parents of my child’s friends are mean parents. We check up on them, refuse facebook accounts and limit internet. We draw the line at texting during homework or study time. We’ve been known to confiscate phones. We call and e-mail teachers. We check the high school parent portal and fume when assignments and deadlines aren’t posted. My child wasn’t allowed to attend a teen outing last night. Because she wasn’t allowed to go, her friends weren’t allowed to go. We’ve all been forgiven. Believe me, we’re out here, and there are plenty of us.

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by ginavergel and eindiainsurance, Maureen Downey. Maureen Downey said: When saying “no” makes you a mean mom, we are in trouble http://bit.ly/bT2iKk [...]

ChristieS.

October 10th, 2010
8:36 pm

As the parent of an eighth grader, I hear “you’re mean” all the time. Tough noogies, chickadee. You can’t have a cell phone, you must be in bed by 9:30, your homework must be done AND turned in, your DSi is NOT your portal to another world, you may not have a Facebook or MySpace account and I don’t care that so-an-so has one. Heh…I’ve used all of these in the last week. :D She’ll survive the deprivation.

irisheyes

October 10th, 2010
9:19 pm

Oh, I’m definitely a mean mom. My 8 year old keeps asking if he can get a FB account. I tell him that I’m not going to let him get one because that would mean lying about his age. Look, if he’s not going to learn honesty from me, who’s going to teach him? Are there times when I let him do something, and then look back and wish I hadn’t? Sure. We’ve had to suspend privileges after thinking it over. Doesn’t go over well, but sometimes parenting is trial and error. BTW, we’ve told him he can have a phone when he’s old enough to go places (ie the mall) without an adult present. So, I’m thinking that’s about 12 or 13.

But, as a teacher, I see far too many parents who think giving their kids all they want is proof they are good parents. And that’s at a high poverty school. I can’t imagine what it would be like at a school with a higher SES.

bootney farnsworth

October 10th, 2010
9:29 pm

I’m a mean dad.
I regularly check my kids facebook, email, phone text, and
where she’s been on line.

worse still, she’s still required to call before after school
activites and I dialogue regularly with her teachers.

while I’d like her to like me,I’m her father
not her friend.

bootney farnsworth

October 10th, 2010
9:31 pm

the most liberating word in the english language is no.
a lot of folks should try it sometime.

bootney farnsworth

October 10th, 2010
9:34 pm

oh, and we’re at the bottom of the financial ladder for her circle.
we don’t have, and won’t have, many of the things almost all her friends
take for granted.

and that doesn’t bother me at all.

love2teach

October 10th, 2010
9:39 pm

I was a mean mom. My favorite redeeming moment came when my children( now 30+) asked my why EVERYONE didn’t teach their children to be “responsible” because I refused to pay bills for irresponsible roommates.

That said, I know they ignored the “no”. When the consequences rained down, I did not gloat but I let them draw their own conclusions and “pay” for their mistakes. It was not easy, but I am glad that I did it.

catlady

October 10th, 2010
9:45 pm

I was a mean mom but was not ever called that. My older daughter, after a couple of months in college, pronounced me an “obsessive nurturer” which I laughed at but determined to find out more about. None of my psych prof colleagues had ever heard of it. At graduation, I was determined to meet her professor, until my daughter admitted that she made it up.

Each of my kids have told me they know understand.

We don’t need helicopters but we do need MEAN PARENTS of every age.

I don’t blame the kids for their parents’ lack of cojones and self assurance. When the baby comes out, you’d better have your A game ready! And you will need it for the long time.

Middle Grades Math Teacher

October 10th, 2010
9:51 pm

I’ve told my 3 children that I’ll be their friend when they are 30. My children need a parent, not a friend. And, I’ve told my students the same basic thing. They don’t need a 45 year old friend any more than I need an 11 year old friend.

Children First

October 10th, 2010
10:26 pm

Maureen, hooray for you for focusing on this. I find it hard to imagine why we are shocked at our kids behavior, when you see the messages we are constantly sending them —- on TV, the Internet, music, in our politics and our civic life. “Look to blame someone else” is the American mantra. My father was a high school principal – and when he called parents to inform them about their child’s misbehavior, he was backed up about 99% of the time. Now, principals have to fear they will be sued. Parents defend their children, not the authority figures.

I keep waiting for American parents to stand up and say NO!! to the TV networks, the politicians, the advertisers. Not censorship — just voluntarily demanding decency and civility. We are a crass and cheap culture, and it is one of the main reasons we are fast on our way to becoming a second-rate nation. We are obsessed with the likes of LIndsey Lohan, outrageous rock musicians, celebrities in trouble.

Until we respect authority, honor TRUE heroes, and demand civility — and model it — we are fast going down the tubes. We are a very divided country politically, and we assume that gives us the right to disrespect everyone who disagrees with us. We only listen to the news channels we already agree with.

I really wish my child could spend his adult life in another country. I’m that discouraged.

Real Reformer

October 10th, 2010
10:38 pm

I was recently discussing drug use among high school students at my son’s school with his counselor (who is fabulous). I mentioned that we kept track of where our son was, we knew the parents of all his friends and did not hesitate to call them, we monitored his cell phone calls and texts and — when necessary– checked his Facebook accounts and other online posts. The counselor told me that we were “in a very small minority” who did any of these things. And our son attends a very affluent suburban high school!

So parents…where are you??? Just too busy and involved with your own lives, or watching reality shows, or “Nip Tuck” or “Desperate Housewives”, etc. to watch over your kids? Recent research tells us more than ever about the adolescent mind — how truly immature it is until about age 25. Teens aren’t capable of understanding the consequences of their actions, or making good judgments, in most cases…..so why are we giving them more freedom than ever, when we know their brains can’t handle it?

I’m ready to lead a “million mom march”.

say what?

October 10th, 2010
10:45 pm

Just had this conversation with my kids. We are mean parents if that means no cell phone ( they are always with adults), we have our son’s FB password, DSIs are stored in our room at night, bedtime is 9pm ( even for a middle schooler), homework has to be done, and you must go outside and play everyday. As a social worker, I witness the damage done when parents want to be friends and not parents.

Ole Guy

October 11th, 2010
1:08 am

It would appear that, in reviewing these comments, this fine article can be summed up as preaching to the choir. Parents who “have their stuff together” in terms of establishing healthy parent-child relationships seem to be well-represented in these replys.

But you know, and I know…that there’s a boat-load of kids AND young adults (and quite a few not-so-young adults) who have been carrying the elusion/delusion that theirs is a world of unabashed rights and absolutely no responsibilities. The few parents, whose views have been presented, somehow have the answer/hold the key to responsibly rearing responsible kids and responsible future adults. How bout the others? Who’s got a “handful” with kids running amock?

Dt. Tim

October 11th, 2010
6:50 am

And you have put your finger right on the problem Ms. Downey. A majority of parents today see the relationship between parent and school as an adversarial one and routinely take a stance which will do their children great harm. I relish those parents who want to work with the school to solve whatever problem has brought them to a conference. Unfortunately, they are in the minority.

catlady

October 11th, 2010
7:11 am

Dt. Tim: Unfortunately it isn’t just parents who see it that way. In my school, many/most of the teachers do also! Of course, I think they feel that way because that is what gets thrown back at them (It does not help that our principal disdains parents except as a source of money). I sometimes sit in on conferences that, from the first, go badly, and I want so much to take over or model how to have a “problem” conference. So saying, I will NOT remain in the room with a parent cussing or abusive. I will leave the room and request help before continuing. It would do us all a lot of good if we would focus on the outcome we want for the child. Most parents want their child to be successful (if for no other reason than not wanting to be responsible for them) but sometimes there is a lot of baggage in the room that has to be examined.

high school teacher

October 11th, 2010
7:29 am

My son first accused me of being a mean mom when he was only 6 years old. I informed him that MOM stands for “mean old mama.” I am still a mean mom – he is 9 and is not allowed to have a cell phone, like many of his friends, nor is he allowed to watch movies that are PG-13, also like many of his friends. His younger brother, now 6, has also called me mean because I make them do chores around the house (he calls his dad mean too). However, we have my sons’ respect, and they even tell us that they love us and like spending time with us. I love being a mean mom :)

36 years in education

October 11th, 2010
8:35 am

As a former high school principal who has had numerous conversations with bullies…..their parents have modeled bullying behavior to these children for a long, long time. The parents bully anyone they meet. My own favorite was the “parent” who called the Central office on me for being uncooperative. Yep, I was uncooperative. The parent wanted to fight me in front of the school. I refused. Therefore, I was uncooperative.

Shar

October 11th, 2010
8:39 am

My wildest child, my middle daughter, used to cry and yell, beg and threaten, and regularly tell me that “all my friends think you’re the meanest mom” (”thanks, sweetie, just doing my job”), “I hate you” (”I’m so sorry to hear that”), “all of my friends are allowed to” (”thanks for the information, honey, but what on earth does that have to do with you?”) and, the hoary clincher, “you’re ruining my life!” (”I made it so that’s fair.”) Now 20, she works as a nanny to augment her college money and regularly calls me to complain about the behavior problems and emotional turmoil of the child in her care, whose father absconded and whose mother is determined to be her 3 year old’s best friend. She also has ended up with the caretaker role among her roomates, who both had mothers who did everything for them and so think nothing of leaving messes and taking whatever strikes their fancy regardless of ownership. My daughter now rails about parents who “can’t be bothered to teach some responsibility” in outraged tones, and even went so far as to tell me that I hadn’t given her “enough structure.” Made my day.

Hey Teacher

October 11th, 2010
9:01 am

Great thread! The key is to practice saying no when the kid is really little — “no” to more desert — “no” to more television — “no” to the dollar aisle in Target when you are in there to buy toilet paper (I try really hard not to go to Target with kids in tow — boy do those marketers know what they are doing!). We practice saying “no” every day with our preschooler — do we cave occasionally? Of course. But hopefully by the time she’s asking for a cell phone we’ll be experts at this game. It doesn’t hurt that I teach high school and say no all day long to my students. Mean teacher = mean mom.

MaryT

October 11th, 2010
9:01 am

My kids do have cell phones but no Facebook account. You have to be 13 to have a facebook account – I checked their rules b/c my friends on Facebook were arguing about it. One guy said his daughter who is 11, has her own FB account and she signed up for is without his knowing it. He found out by the time she had 150 friends, so he couldn’t shut it down since she had so many friends. Really – because if my kids had done that, I would shut down their accounts. So kids who are under 13 and have a FB account either lied or had their parents lie for them. Just say no, parents!

November

October 11th, 2010
9:05 am

Maureen, great column…..the only problem I see is the workshop for mother and daughter, because of the cost, will exclude most of those who need it the most. On the positive side, it’s in a great venue

Maureen Downey

October 11th, 2010
9:08 am

@November, I think the cost is high, but it’s because they are selling you a book. I will keep alert to see if there are similar programs around that cost less or are free.
Maureen

Cher

October 11th, 2010
9:20 am

I always said Yes and it got me something named Chaz.

ScienceTeacher671

October 11th, 2010
9:22 am

Kind of reminds me of the column from Saturday. It seems to me that a lot of the parenting problems Simmons is referencing are especially bad with young single mothers – which might lead to the source of many discipline problems in school.

If parents are teaching their children that you stand up for yourself by being rude, and when a child gets in trouble the first response is to blame the school, how do you think those children are behaving in the classroom?

Old Timer Educator

October 11th, 2010
9:24 am

I think some of my parents need a “mean” mom or dad themselves! One thing that irritates me more than just about anything is when a parent sends a text message to their kid during school. Good going, parent! What a great way to teach your child how to disrespect rules and authority. I think the administrators should find a way to “punish” the parents for this irresponsible behavior.

Proxy Server

October 11th, 2010
10:29 am

The kids need to perceive that mom and dad support the teachers and that there is a partnership between school and home.

Proxie Server

October 11th, 2010
10:30 am

The kids need to perceive that mom and dad support the teachers and that there is a partnership between school and home.

Proxie Server

October 11th, 2010
10:31 am

So the word “proxie” spelled with a “y” is now banned? Ha!

My thoughts

October 11th, 2010
10:32 am

If you ever wanted to know what happens if you let your child have his/her way all the time, you might want to look at my situation are reconsider.

My son’s dad is in his 40’s and still lives at home with his parents.
He changes jobs like most people change their underwear.
He has financial responsibilties that don’t really mean a lot to him.
Why should they? His parents pay for him whether or not he has a job.

The reason why he got this way is because his parents always let him have his way and refused to let him grow up. So , unless you want your children living at home in their 40’s, get used to saying no.

My thoughts

October 11th, 2010
10:33 am

typo: and reconsider

Jan

October 11th, 2010
10:36 am

I apologize upfront for being off subject but this is on a front page of a national newspaper in Europe today. I want to be sure that it gets some attention in this country.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T65k5ADEGXo&feature=player_embedded

Maureen Downey

October 11th, 2010
10:41 am

Jan, Not sure exactly what is going on in that bizarre video, and what provoked the teacher’s over-the-top response. I am looking for news stories to explain circumstances.
Maureen

Atlanta mom

October 11th, 2010
10:54 am

Parents do need to practice saying “NO” from an early age. The more practice you have the easier it is. And the first thing to say no to is TV. It’s horrible. When my first child was 3 and I was sick, she watched Saturday morning cartoons. I was appalled at all the marketing aimed at children. That was the last time she watched TV—unless is was PBS. As time went on and more children came, there was still no TV. Probably the biggest drawback was that they never had any ideas for birthday or Christmas gifts. Because they were not exposed to all that marketing, they had no clue what they were missing.
My kids are all in college now, and not one of them has a TV.

Charles Manson

October 11th, 2010
11:06 am

I always said yes to my family, even when I was saying no, and look the result.

My thoughts

October 11th, 2010
11:15 am

Atlanta mom: I’m with you on the TV, at times my son watches TV with me and I forget that the content is not suitable for him, so once I notice he is paying attention, I quickly turn the channel or put on something age appropriate.

There was a really good program on Saturday. I wish I could remember the name of it but it featured children on the beach and researching turtles. They were digging up areas on the beach, documenting live turtles, unhatched eggs, dead eggs, etc… and then they took them back to the maritime center with their findings.
My 2 year old and I were both glued to the program.

Jan

October 11th, 2010
11:25 am

The article mentions that this teacher of McGavock Highschool in Nashville was unable to discipline the class and lost it. The principal commented that the school was lucky nobody got hurt. The teacher was handcuffed and led away. I normally stay away from things like this because they might induce those with extreme views to react; however, these are my observations:

No mention of the absolute disrespectful behavior of a distinct group of students. The majority of the students seem uncomfortable with their peers, illustrating again how a small group of disruptive students can be overly influential.
This video was posted “proudly” on YouTube by the student who recorded it.
As a parent myself I cannot imagine the mindset of the parents of these students.

My prediction is that the teacher will be blamed for not being able to maintain his composure but from experience I can say that issues like these can consume all the time educators have and can make them feel frustrated up to the level of this teacher. In the mean time the rest of the students suffer disproportionally.

I would like if you can continue to expose the real issues in American public education instead of the politically correct ones. It’s popular to blame the teacher but I hope that material like this may serve as an eye-opener to those.

Sorry again for being off-topic but I see a lot of material about the US published outside of the US.

Jo

October 11th, 2010
11:35 am

I say Hurrah! for Atlanta mom for refusing to let her children watch TV. My husband–now retired–has been addicted to TV since he was a child, when his parents used the TV as a babysitter. His mother used to brag that she never had to worry about where he was because he was always in the living room watching TV. As a result he cannot carry on a conversation about anything except who was in what movie or TV show, and other trivia, He has trouble forming intelligent opinions about anything meaningful such as politics, all because he never learned how to think for himself. He is a great guy, we have been married for 38 years, but his parents did him a great disservice, and I a glad to know that parents like Atlanta mom have the courage to pull the plug on the TV.

sportsmommy74

October 11th, 2010
11:44 am

Well I have a 14 year old son, who has a cell phone, and FB account., However I check the tet messages, have all the passwords to e-mail and FB accounts. I never let him get a FB. He’s a 9th grader and they need some form of social networking with their friends. I drive him to the parties when I allow him to go. He’s well supervised. Parent Portal is my best friend. I feel if you have boundaries with your children that they grow up to be normal adults. I think when you shelter them too much that’s why they act out when they get a little taste of freedom. I say no when I feel like its inappropriate for a 14 yr old boy. People have to use good judgement with their children.

sportsmommy74

October 11th, 2010
11:46 am

I meant to say I never let him get a Myspace account and I was a single parent for the first 7 years of his life. I don’t think that being a single parent should be an excuse for bad behavior. The best compliment I often receive is how well mannered my child is. Your child is ofen a reflection of you, if you teach them right they will do right. IMHO

Jim Stoll

October 11th, 2010
12:07 pm

Bravo Maureen! An article on the same subject as yours should appear in the AJC at least three times a week. Your article today simply documents how far down we have come since my three children went to school back in the sixties and seventies, but the conditions about which you speak are not a new phenomena. Our kids did not have TVs in their bedrooms. They watched one set in our family room.. I pulled the plug on that set Monday thru Friday, unless they could convince be that a program had some ecucational content. You should heard some of the stories I got. On weekends they got to watch TV for 90 minutes per day, of preapproved programs, after dinner. No TV at all during the day. That was a time to get outside and do something involving exercise. The phrase of that era was: “But dad, nobody has dumb rules like that”. My single response was: Your only job in this period of your life is to get an education and my primary job at home is to lmake damn sure that you do your job. That may have been “Mean”, but they all graduated with advanced degrees from colleges and are all very successful in life. Whether they are also good parents, I do not offer an opinion, but from what I see on our streets, most of the kids of that era, after reaching adulthood, have become too busy with making more money to buy more “stuff” and have caved in on parental responsibilities. I base that conclusion of the documented evidence that America has move from first to twenty-first in the world, in education, in the past twenty years.and only 23% of those who begin college today ever finish with a degree in anything. My questions are two-fold: 1. Who is responsible for this condition to have occured, and; 2. Why aren’t we adults talking more about what must be done to correct it? Your article is like a ray of sunshine in a darkened world.

Cheryl

October 11th, 2010
12:09 pm

Yes, I am a “mean mom”. I am from the old school. A child should be a child and remain in a child’s place. I do not allow my child or other children to dictate to me. I am a parent not a friend. Children abide by my rules and all other adults. My child is well behaved away from home and acts like a lady. I have not conformed into what society and the media has deemed appropriate for my child. I buy her what I want her to have and she dresses the way I perceive a young lady should dress. Models are paid to wear clothing that look inappropriate in my view. My child will not look that way. In my household, if you do not do as I say and respect yourself, you can leave the premises. So call me mean, if you want! I am a single mom trying to raise a respectful, honest, and obedient young lady. I will not encourage or help her to fit into certain stereotypes.

catlady

October 11th, 2010
12:09 pm

We had no TV at all for 5 years while my kids were at very formative periods in their lives. It about killed me but they did fine. Only thing was, they didn’t know about some of the things on TV: Thought that show with Tim the repair man was a show about home repair, for example. Didn’t know who some of the “stars” were that everyone talked about. Two still don’t have TVs (they are 30 and 25) and the other one’s husband watches a LOT of sports.

I know people who park the BABIES in front of the TV.

Too much tobacco, not enough filter.

catlady

October 11th, 2010
12:14 pm

One thing on “disobedient” I will comment on. My youngest is very strong willed. Always has been. I was apologising to her VBS teacher when she was 5 about how difficult she could sometimes be and she said, “(She) doesn’t grant authority very easily.” What a nice way to say she is stubborn and opinionated. She continued, “When she is 14 or 15, you won’t WANT her to grant authority easily. You will want her to speak up and tell her friends, ‘No, I won’t go with you. No, I don’t want to smoke. No, alcohol is not for me.’” And she was right. It was tough at times but the rough edges have been smoothed off over the years and I have been glad she doesn’t grant authority easily.

There is a difference between that and spoiled, rude, self-centered behavior, however.

catlady

October 11th, 2010
12:18 pm

Before and after the “tv blackout” my kids were severely restricted in their tv watching. There were too many more important things to do than sit and watch passively.

I can tell you there IS a correlation between TV/nintendo useage and school achievement. SOME high achieving kids watch a lot, but the VAST MAJORITY of low achieving kids are spending hours on TV, video games, and computer/cell games. In my experience, that is.

Cheryl

October 11th, 2010
12:18 pm

Oh, other parents tell me that I need to allow my child to have a social life. That she will run away. I am keeping a tight rein on her. Well, my child can have a social life once she is out of my house, finish college and successful. If she runs away, then she better not look back. Oh, and leave the way you came into this world, naked. Yes, I ropes are tight! Why? I was once a sneaky little teen. I know what may be going through her mind. And I see nothing wrong with sitting next to her while she is on the computer and facebook. I have no life anyways. She is my life. Yes, I enjoy reading the stupid text messages that come on her phone. And yes, I will inform other parents of inappropriate behavior. It doesn’t make a difference because other kids have their parents trained into believing them. Oh, and do not believe that woman, she is crazy! I will tell any parent, you only know what your child will do in your presence. You do not know or can 100% vouche for what they will do away from you.

Maureen Downey

October 11th, 2010
12:18 pm

@jan, I posted the video and a link to a story. What we don’t know is how much the teacher said before the video — I would think that he was probably losing it beforehand and that is what caused the student to start filming. I can’t judge the laughter as I don’t know what preceded the start of the video. We are catching this performance midstream, I would bet.
But it had to be something unusual as the student would not have whipped out her/his camera unless there were extraordinary events unfolding.
Maureen

catlady

October 11th, 2010
12:22 pm

NOT saying watching a lot of TV etc makes you stupid. Maybe less than average people choose to watch a lot of tv etc frequently. Just a correlation. (AND THIS DOES NOT APPLY ACROSS THE BOARD, so don’t give me your “but my child watches….” This is a generalization based on decades of teaching.

Ole Guy

October 11th, 2010
12:26 pm

36 Years, as far as I’m concerned, the great majority of parents are just as screwed up as their kids are headed. Those parents, who, themselves, are old enough to be MY kids, have, as a generation, never been taxed…never been challenged…in any appreciable way. Now THEIR kids are being challenged…faced with decisions which they, and they alone, must make. Unfortunately, their parents, by and large, never quite grew up in terms of acquiring the courage to make the right, though painful decisions. So their kids are faced with having to grow up with no appreciable guidance. Parents, in that sense, are “basket cases”, while teachers’ collective hands are tied by the bonds of political correctness.

As a semi-retiree, who realizes that some day, in the not-too distant future, I’m going to have to completely relinquish the reins of leadership to the current crop of kids…I AM EXTREMELY UNEASY!