Parents Need to Take Responsibility For Their Children's Behavior

The debate is an age old one: should parents take the brunt of the responsibility for their children’s behavior or should teachers and the school? Many argue that parents are the ones who are responsible for shaping their children and must play a vital role during their formative years to teach them what is right and what is wrong.

Conversely, some people believe that teachers and the school play an important role in molding children’s behavior. They argue that since most children start school at a very young age and spend a considerable amount of time there, this environment is conducive for them to learn a variety of behaviors.

Whatever the merits of the debate, most people seem to lean toward placing more of the responsibility on parents. Let’s explore why that is.

Your Child, Your Responsibility

When a child starts going to school, they begin interacting with other students and teachers on a daily basis. These interactions showcase what that particular child’s behavior patterns are. It is often at school that the question of who bears the brunt of the responsibility for a child’s behavior becomes important. Are teachers responsible for molding children or does that training begin at home by their parents?

In Portugal, one school decided to take a definitive stance on the matter. In their opinion, the responsibility for shaping a child’s behavioral patterns fell squarely on the parents.  The notice that they put up in the halls of their school immediately started making the rounds on social media and ignited the fierce debate once again.

Here’s what the bulletin said:

"Dear parents

We would like to remind you that magic words such as hello, please, you’re welcome, I’m sorry, and thank you, all begin to be learned at home.

It’s also at home that children learn to be honest, to be on time, diligent, show friends their sympathy, as well as show utmost respect for their elders and all teachers.

Home is where they learn to be clean, not talk with their mouths full, and how/where to properly dispose of garbage.

Home is also where they learn to be organized, to take good care of their belongings, and that it’s not ok to touch others.

Here at school, on the other hand, we teach language, math, history, geography, physics, sciences, and physical education. We only reinforce the education that children receive at home from their parents.

What Parents have to Say

To get a better understanding of where parents stood on this debate, they were asked of their opinion on the matter – Should parents take more responsibility when it comes to their children’s behavior? 

Danny Zoucha

‘I would say if you want to take credit for your child's successes later in life, you need to take responsibility for their lackluster performances now.’

Troy Dvorak

There is a simple behavioral principle all parents should heed: “The more you do, the less kids have to.

Of course, that must take into consideration the developmental level of the child while respecting diversity in cultural values.’

Tara L Paige

‘Where do I begin? I'm a mother of an 8 year old and I was an educator for 16 years. This topic was always hotly debated: should parents take more of a responsibility for their child’s behavior or should the school? Parents have become dependent upon teachers to take on the role of parenting. Parents today focus on friendships and not building a successful and productive citizen. Teachers have their own lives and quite frankly aren't supposed to be a co-parent. It is time parents stop considering school a babysitting resource and realize that their children are a DIRECT result of their parenting.’

While most parents who were interviewed seemed to agree with the opinions of the school that parents were solely responsible for their child’s behavior, there were some who held a different opinion.

William Young

‘Yes. We parents need to set behavior boundaries and positively reinforce our children’s behavior when it stays within those set boundaries.

However, when children are in school with a professional teacher it is completely the teacher's responsibility not the parents. If the school complains, the teacher's teaching tools should be questioned. It is not our responsibility for the classroom behavior of our children. If a teacher is having a problem they need to be sent back to school to learn how to lead children to acceptable normalized behavior in the classroom.’

Final Thoughts

This is one of those debates which have the ability to sharply divide people. Oftentimes, it is noticed that the debate comes to the forefront when a child misbehaves and teachers and parents are confronted with the dilemma of where to place the blame.

There’s no denying that parents do in fact have a major responsibility in molding their child’s behaviors. Most behaviors and mannerisms are learned first at home. They are then applied and exercised when a child goes out into the real world and has to interact with others.

While it is true that parents bear the bulk of the responsibility with regards to a child’s behavior, the school and teachers also have a role to play. In instances when a child is acting inappropriately or misbehaves, teachers are in the best position to identify the behavior and try to talk to the student in question. If that doesn’t work, they can call their parents in and have a meeting to discuss the best way to address this behavioral problem.

In conclusion, while parents are primarily responsible for their children’s behavior, teachers can collaborate with parents and supplement the learning process for children. Together, parents and teachers can be far more effective in grooming children and ensuring that they have no behavioral issues.


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