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I Don't Like Your Kid

by Nicole Correia 5 months ago in student
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And it's not their fault

I Don't Like Your Kid
Photo by Kenny Eliason on Unsplash

“I’ve asked you three times to put your phone away. You’re late everyday, and you generally feel entitled enough to speak to me like I’m dirt.”

I’m a teacher.

I have always wondered if I am too harsh as a teacher, too strict or if my expectations are too high. Long before I was pregnant, I used to wonder if becoming a parent would soften me or force me to see my student’s through a different lens. If anything, becoming a parent reinforced my tough convictions as a teacher.

There is no way to explain how difficult parenting really is. You have this little, best friend who is basically a leech on all your resources. Parenting is really just a euphemism for Stockholm Syndrome. There is the constant bathing, giving them clean clothing, making sure they aren’t walking around smelling like a urine shroud. Then, there is feeding them. Three times a day times infinity. Plus, snacks. That’s all just the physical care. I haven’t even gotten to the really hard part of parenting, which is teaching kindness, instilling discipline, providing structure and cultivating accountability.

I can say without guilt or doubt that parenting is an art, one that I believe we are struggling with. Or it is at least one that I hope is in a state of limbo and returns with newfound millennial parenting. Children are coming to school less and less prepared for everything really. I’m not talking about expectations of knowing their alphabet and being able to draw DaVinci’s Vitruvian Man. I’m talking about knowing the world does not revolve around them. You can blame it on screen time, the processed foods we eat, the fact that in most households, both parents work, but I don’t buy that. Effective parenting doesn’t stem from your income level or your level of education as a parent. Those factors are critical, absolutely, but they don’t have to define you as a parent. What it really comes down to is instilling respect and knowing that your kid is not perfect, and that perfect parenting doesn’t exist either. My in-laws and my grandparents are all testaments to that. They were all immigrants who came to Canada in their thirties. They lived with family upon arrival, worked hard, saved to buy a home for their children and, the whole time, managed to raise children who would become functioning adults. If they could do that with no understanding of English, just dedication and hard work, there’s no excuse for the rest of us.

Your kid will screw up and so will we as parents. The severity of the screw-up will differ drastically, but your kid might cheat on a test or take a picture of someone else that they are not supposed to and post it somewhere it is not supposed to be. Your child may skip class repeatedly and lie to you about it.

It used to be that parents and teachers worked together, and when an adult from school called to say your child had done something, you generally believed them and held your child accountable to it because you were trying to teach your kid that the world does not stop when they are inconvenienced. What I find more and more every year is the complete lack of distress threshold that kids have. I even had one particularly bright student talk about the bubble. The bubble is about how everything in their lives center around them, down to the fact that every list they see, the music they listen to, the devices they carry and so forth are customizable to them, and whenever someone from the outside comes in to attack this niche, they just crumble because they don’t know what to do with the abrupt inconvenience. I know kids were dealt major blows during the pandemic, I see it in my own son, but maybe there is value in the lessons they learned here. Children learned that not everything is going to happen instantaneously when you want it simply because you want it. They learned to wait in line. They learned that their decisions and actions have consequences for other people. They learned how to wash their hands on repeat (generally a good thing).

Instilling respect and accountability in my son is my primary objective as a parent, because I know what the alternative is more than most professions. I also know how completely exhausting and frustrating that is going to be. When my husband and I are sitting at the dinner table, we are talking to one another. We are not staring at screens. I say “thank you” and “please” to strangers when I order my coffee. And when my son chooses to have a meltdown in the middle of the grocery store, I stop what I am doing, lean in close to his face and whisper “are you kidding me right now?” If you ever see a mom doing that at a store, just leave the aisle. Give her the privacy she deserves to deal with her toddler who is being a peach.

It is not all the fault of parenting. The Ministry of Education simply cares too much about data, how high the percentage is at graduation or how low the percentage is for suspensions. They have forgotten that we are not an institution of numbers. Education is not hell-bent on profit or outcomes in a quarterly end because we are making people, not products. Education is failing miserably, and that sad truth, along with the fact that we have had a few generations of parents who have taught their children that entitlement is a birthright, is proving to have devastating societal consequences. This is unadulterated ignorance, and it is a heavy price we are all paying.

An education system that protects that ignorance, by preventing students from failing when they deserve to, from cowering to bullish parents and belittling teachers and education workers is creating tomorrow’s ignorant minority. What happens though if they are no longer the minority?

The two worlds that I tread of teaching and parenting are not ones that can be taken lightly. I know that when a student arrives at my class who is polite, works hard and questions the world around them, such is what an investment in good parenting looks like. More of these students are out there who I pray will become the norm again with parents that are raising their children to be globally conscious, kind and demanding of equal opportunities regardless of gender, circumstance, age, creed and sexual orientation, among others.

Just remind your kids that even though they are special to you, as they should be, the world will not put them on a pedestal for breathing. Even if they are a one-in-a-million kid, that means that there are still at least another 7,800 other people like your kid on the planet. Let’s make sure they’re ready for that.


About the author

Nicole Correia

Between being a parent and a teacher, I see things that thrill and terrify me on a daily basis. So, I decided to start writing them down. This resulted in two self-published books and a random assortment of ideas I started saying out loud.

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