I often read personal and professional views surrounding the cause of poor classroom behaviour. More recently I notice that there is much written about the direct relationship to the behaviour of the parents (good or bad) and the behaviour of the child. Not that this is ‘new’ news!

This is a fairly obvious connection to make, but one which divides opinion in many ways and can also divide the social ‘classes’.

In particular, one article in a national newspaper blames over-parenting or poor boundary-setting. In other words, parents who do everything for their children and fail to give them responsibilities around the house. This (so the theory goes) explains why children arrive at school or college with an ‘I’m important’ attitude.

In addition, parents are blamed for ‘entertaining’ their children by subjecting them to lots of activities from a young age – swimming, cinema, parties, holidays – and therefore making them unable to entertain themselves.

I discussed these theories with a group of students in the age range 16 – 19 and they had different responses to this.


“Surely,” said one student, “..if your mum is at home during the day it’s because her job is to look after the home and the family”. It’s hard to argue this point, although I believe that this is a rare scenario.

‘Working parents’

Another student said that his mum was out at work and that they often had takeaway pizza for tea when she got back late. His mum does everything at home (in addition to being a lone parent with a full time job). He said that he didn’t consider it to be his job to learn how to make a meal for when his mum returned from work.

(A third student said that she makes the evening meal when her parents are both working past 6pm but prefers not to. )

‘We’re children!’

The other two students felt that they were hard done-by if they had to do more than tidy their own rooms. Their view is that while they are children they should let their parents do the lion’s share of the housework etc which includes being driven to, and collected from, friends’ houses and sociable events. They also expected to receive pocket money, even though they hadn’t contributed domestically.



What I forgot to say was that this group of students are all in the category of almost NEET, ie they cause disruption in the classroom and their general behaviour has meant that they are at risk of losing their places at college. So although it’s only a little cross-section, there is a common theme. The theme is that on the whole these teenagers have little or no commitment to helping out around the home, expect transport to be provided for their social entertainment, and feel that this is of the utmost importance.

So does this mean that their lack of commitment to rules, routines and responsibilities at home transfers to their attitude in the classroom? What do you think?