Teacher’s Corner: I hate parents

Obligatory #not all parents, but if you’re one of those I don’t hate, we probably hate the same people.

I basically have two types of special needs kids: kids with learning difficulties and kids with socio-emotional difficulties. The later group can basically be divided into three groups: kids whose issues stem from their environment and past, kids whose issues are medical (ADHS, autism spectrum, …) and both. Which is why I hate parents.

With this new system of inclusive teaching we can do a lot for these kids. We can give them leeway in a way that wasn’t possible, often with me acting as a calming influence, taking them out of the context that is causing the conflict, spending the time somewhere else. Some kids write their tests alone with me in a room because for them it’s important to keep talking. That way they don’t disturb their classmates and don’t have to waste their energy on keeping quiet.

Those things are great, but they are only ONE part of a complex issue. I am not a psychiatrist, I cannot prescribe drugs. I’m not a therapist, I cannot do behavioural therapies or talk therapies or whatever*. And most importantly, I cannot change their homes. Some parents will simply refuse to see how big their kid’s issues are. We’ve got one mother who is convinced that her son is a little genius. He scored 122 points in one subtest of an IQ test! Sure, he refused the parts where he was expecting to perform poorly, and even if you believe in IQ tests, 122 isn’t exactly a genius, especially not when it’s that one peak. She therefore firmly believes that her son isn’t actually a kid with the emotional development of a three year old who is still suffering from the abuse that happened to him as a three year old. Her son is just way too smart for us and plays with us. She also believes that she can tell us how to run the school. Charming.

Another mother’s hobby is to threaten the teacher, because her darling innocent boy whom I saw chasing another kid through the school building and had to physically prevent from hurting that kid badly is being unfairly picked on.

And then there are the ones who simply don’t care. You implement checklists, systems with rewards, you write into their homework notebooks like every day and they will simply ignore it. The kid hasn’t had a pen to write with for 3 weeks? Who cares?**

All of this makes me very angry. Not because it’s exhausting to deal with those kids. It is, but I get paid for it and in the afternoon I go home. I’m angry because when those kids go home nothing has changed for them. Their chances are getting smaller with every day they’re not getting the support they need and that their parents are denying them, and our hands are bound because without the parents we can’t even get the school psychologist to talk to the kid. And it makes me even more angry when I see how their peers are doing who are getting that support. Surprisingly, often those kids do best who are in group homes because their responsible adults can deal with all of that without having their own lives and decisions challenged. I just wished that parents would leave their own vanity at the door and work for the good of their kids as well.

*Though a big part is actually listening.


**Yes, I know many parents in our school are poor. But just giving the kid a bottle of water to drink instead of a soda would both free enough money for a dozen pens a month and do the kid some good.


  1. johnson catman says

    I am not a teacher. By choice (and my wife’s choice), I do not have kids. I wish that more people made the same choice as me. My wife and I regularly go out for Sunday brunch then do our weekly grocery shopping. I am appalled at how many parents allow their “little darlings” to ruin the experience of so many people. A week ago, there was a family that allowed their ~2 year-old girl to wallow around on the floor and their slightly older boy to continually run circles around the table while yelling. The parents were oblivious to the irritation that their children were causing other patrons as well as the staff having to keep from tripping on them. These types of people just shouldn’t have children.

    Agreed that it is not all parents. When I see a family with well-behaved children, given the opportunity I may try to complement them. I hope that your positive experiences outweigh your negative ones.

  2. says

    You have my deepest sympathy. Long ago I decided to become self employed and the only people I have to deal with are the occasional customers, who go away once the job is done to our mutual satisfaction. I always have a good reason up front when I refuse to do a job for someone, just it’s not always the reason I give them. The worst ones turn up, open their car doors to vomit out a horde of uncontrollable children, and act mildly surprised when I proclaim to not have the technical tools to help them. Life’s much better when not surrounded by idiots.

  3. voyager says

    I was badly parented by 2 people who didn’t know how to be good parents and didn’t really care. I quit school at 16, got a job and moved out at 17. I was lucky because I met good people who helped me develop some self esteem and confidence. Eventually I chose to educate myself as an adult and I was lucky enough to live in Canada where that was possible.
    As a Home Care nurse I often saw the other end of the story with frail or older people in need who couldn’t understand why their kids weren’t more supportive. I could almost always understand and had to bite my tongue because I wanted to say “what goes around, comes around.”
    Hang in there Giliell, because you might be that one person who helps a kid like me.

  4. says

    Oh, I love being a teacher and a parent.
    Johnson Catman
    The parents you describe are the ones I hate privately. The ones described I hate professionally. There#s probably a big overlap. But heavens forbid you mention that kids need boundaries. Then you get a big lecture about children’s freedom and how such boundaries never benefit the children.
    I recently got into a short discussion about this on Twitter. In Germany, two kids scratched doodles into the rusty side of an art gallery, which has recently gotten a prize for that rusty side, while apparently their parents were watching. Now, you may talk about what counts as art and gets prizes, but I only became aware of the incident because somebody tweeted “where children’s creativity meets sterile art, there is no damage!” into my timeline.
    I could only shake my head. When are those kids (primary school age) supposed to learn that you cannot just pick up stones and make things “prettier”? Would the person who tweeted that still be happy if the kids had decided to use their car* or house as a canvas?
    I’ve had childfree people ask me about whether some behaviours are normal and they’re just too critical because they’re not used to kids, because they objected to a kid showing a certain behaviour, like jumping on a couch with their dirty shoes on while visiting, because those parents were offended when the unhappy couch owner asked them to stop.
    Seriously, I’m not very authoritarian. Much at home here is laissez faire. But there#s some hard limits and my kids know them and they accept them. I can take them pretty much anywhere, from a fast food restaurant to the theatre.
    Packing something for them to play with also works wonders.
    Last Saturday we went to celebrate Mr’s birthday. While we were waiting for the food, they were outside chasing Pokemon. Everybody had a great time and no other dinner guests were disturbed.

    *That’s actually something our little one once did in an unsupervised moment, though she was only 4 or so at that time. Thankfully it was our own car and we could polish it out. She also painted on our walls. Twice. The first time she got told that this is not ok, the second time she tried to hide her crime by tearing off the wallpaper. Thus ended her short career as a wall and car artist. She can blame me.

    I’m doing my best. I’m glad you met good people and I’m happy to be “good people” to somebody else.

    The worst ones turn up, open their car doors to vomit out a horde of uncontrollable children, and act mildly surprised when I proclaim to not have the technical tools to help them. Life’s much better when not surrounded by idiots.

    Yeah, but my perspective is always to look at the children and I am genuinely sorry. They’re not getting the tools and skills they need in life and they don’t have Trump’s rich daddy to make sure they succeed.

  5. jazzlet says

    Sorry Giliell, I can not imagine how frustrating it must be to have the skills to help these kids, but to be stymied by their own parents. How very sad for those kids to have parents whose own self image is more important than their childs needs :-(

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