Editor's Note: If the last couple of years were identified with teacher-bashing, I would say that it moves back and forth with parent-bashing (with some youth bashing thrown in), perhaps jump-started by Amy Chua's Tiger Mom book early last year, pitting Chinese parenting vs. American. (Or, maybe this topic was just moved to front and center rather than relegated to anonymous comments in blog posts and news articles, or maybe the teacher-parent-student triangle takes turns on blame every couple years. . . what do you think?)
This year, French parenting set another mini-fire-storm in the media-sphere indulging francophiles everywhere with how children should behave (aka tantrum-free), until disputed by those "in the know." A few examples of those countering the superiority of French parenting are linked below this post. Keeping this back story in mind, it's hard to resist this ironic post as to how our present day caught-between-a-rock-and-a-hard-place parenting culture plays right into parent-teacher-school relationships. Ultimately, this dynamic affects our childrens' experience in our schools. - C.J. Westerberg
I caught a tweet during a parent-teacher chat that expressed the following from one of the participants, "Can I tell my son's teacher how I feel about weekend homework? I am always hesitant because I don't want to be 'that' parent!" It's a concern I hear a lot - being labeled "that" parent. Later I realized that this person also "just" happens to be . . . a principal(!)
This concern is not limited to parents. So it all got me thinking some.
What is this really about? Why does education create a "that" parent thing? Are there
different kinds of "that" parent(s)? Is the concern about being "that" parent different if you
are also an educator?
How many good questions aren't asked about schools and education because of the apprehension of being "that" parent? I am not sure there is straight-forward list of things that would guide anyone in the attempt to never being "that" parent. What if the area of concern that we want to express, at the risk of being "that" parent, is actually a direct result of conditions created, whether knowing or unknowingly, by a decision-maker?
So I am left wondering about:
- How many good changes and supports for kids may have been missed because of the "that" parent concern?
- What happens to the unsaid questions and concerns of parents when they are no longer parents in the education system?
- Do they become "that" community member making a difference, or has some really great input been missed completely?
This post was modified for The Daily Riff with approval by Ms. Stewart. Original version appeared in her blog, Sheila Speaking.
I am Carla Bruni's Neighbor: French Children Don't Throw Food (When People are Watching)
The Truth about French Parenting (And I Should Know)
Schools and Parents: A Kabuki Dance? by C.J. Westerberg
Two Families. Two Different Paths to Academic Excellence. And the Winner is . . .
Conversations that Happen in the Middle - Between Parents and Teachers - by Lorna Constantini
Technology: The Parent Connection by Kim Cofino
What is the Right Kind of Parent? by Sheila Stewart
Teachers: Don't Leave Out the Parents by Mrs. Ripp
The Parent Trapped - Do Parents Want Parental Involvement or Parent Compliance?
by Cathy Buyrn