Discipline and Morality: Collective Lessons through Parenting and Teaching

I had been to the School PTM last weekend. And this is what I had scribbled as the young faces occupied my heart and mind almost all day long.

“All it takes for a dull moody me to jump up all excited is to attend the school PTM. The keywords to take away: silent star, hard-working, talkative, naughty, distracted, quick learner, shines bright, lacks initiative, speaks less, under-confident, committed, disciplined.

A teacher must be respected for she/he knows your child much better than you. They know their strengths and weaknesses and can help focus on the need areas. Felt bad watching some parents who literally gheraoed the teacher for a typo error in the question paper of grade I. How is the child going to respect the teacher when the parents exhibit this behaviour in front of them?

I love to listen to their complaints more than the academic performance. Actually, it is not the complaints but the expressions on those not-so-innocent baby faces worrying about what the teachers are going to disclose today. While most parents looked stressed, upset, angry and dissatisfied, the children had lit up faces meeting their friends, shaking hands and winking to each other in the school corridors.

Marks or less marks or no marks, these carefree days must be cherished. It’s their right. We owe it to them. Those little secrets. Those silly gossips. Those crazy friendships. Those cold stares. Those adolescent glances. All of them.”

But there is also something that has been bothering me since then.

I noticed that almost all the parents had some complaint or the other regarding one teacher or the other. Instead of interacting with the teacher to assess your child’s development, most of them were spending longer periods of time in pinpointing the mistakes of the teacher. Interesting thing is most of the mistakes that were being highlighted sounded really silly and sometimes made up. And in almost all cases, those parents were more interested in humiliating the teacher.

It is natural that we want the best for our children because we spend half of our hard-earned money on the school fees which keeps on getting inflated year after year. Teaching good manners, kindness and compassion for others is not only a teacher’s job. It starts from day one. Right from the time you hold your baby for the first time. It is our responsibility. I heard a parent tell the teacher proudly, “I told him to give five-six punches if anyone troubles him and I’ll take care of the rest.

Is that what you must teach a class three student?

The other day Li’l Love ran up to me at ‘home time’ crying. Upon asking she revealed that two boys from her class stepped on a small butterfly that was sitting on the floor. When I told her that they must not have seen it she said that they did it deliberately even after she told them not to harm it.

She is over-sensitive when it comes to tiny insects, except lizards. She wouldn’t allow us to use Hit or Baygon. Instead she wants us to chase the mosquitoes away. A cockroach she says never bites and so must not be harmed. I still remember how her three-year old self had spoiled our holiday in Munnar after she found a beetle she had admired one evening lying dead the very next morning. We tried to tell her that death is a natural process.

I repeated the same lesson on the butterfly day. But she said that this is not death but murder. She is not wrong. Any death that is not natural and is inflicted by others is a murder. A definition that WE taught her. I finally told her that may be their parents forgot to tell them that hurting others is wrong and killing a live being is a murder. Her father too had a separate session with her.

  • Why are young children showing signs of aggression?
  • Why are they so disrespectful?
  • Why are they so indifferent?
  • Why are they apathetic towards others?
  • Why can’t they feel the pain of others?
  • Is it because of lack of time from parents?
  • Is it lack of moral education at home and at school?
  • Is it because of excessive exposure to violence and crime through newspapers, television and other medium?

I feel there is something grossly wrong with the way children are being brought up these days. Parents I have noticed are encouraging improper language used for fellow students as well as teachers by their ward. In the name of being more understanding and accepting, we are sometimes being supportive for all the wrong reasons.

Excess of anything is poison. Love. Neglect. Trust. Criticism. Discipline. Sympathy. Punishment.  Learnt it the hard way.

But the point is how do we tackle this problem that is consuming our future generation? I believe only a collective effort from parents and teachers can solve the problem. Instead of finding faults with each other we must learn to find solutions to behavioral issues in children and provide timely counselling to the child to help him/her escape from major wrongdoings. They must focus on teaching the child the principles concerning the distinction between right and wrong or good and bad behaviour.

Together we can.

Parent-Teacher-meeting

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14 thoughts on “Discipline and Morality: Collective Lessons through Parenting and Teaching

  1. Absolutely spot on… let parents stop pampering their children and change to bring in discipline and morality for good.

  2. Yes Rekha.. Have seen the same thing.. But I have seen the reverse too.. One teacher told me lot of things about my son saying that he wasn’t interested in a particular subject and some demeaning things etc etc.. Right in front of him.. How can the child truly develop if both the parents and teachers just go on a blaming mode and scant regard is paid to actually make the subject interesting in a collaborative manner.

    • I know if such teachers. I have had a few myself. Luckily, all teachers the girls have had have been fairly good. But sharing demeaning things right in front of the child is uncalled for. That’s not a sign of a mature teacher. A teacher must know how to balance in order to help the child improve. She could have spoken to you separately. That’s what firstborn’s Maths teacher did with us because she scored less in Maths last time. It is because of her inputs that I spent extra time with her on that particular subject. She was confused and we could solve it without hurting or humiliating her.

  3. Rekha, I think that the Information Society plays its role. Children are too young for dealing with the burden of social information effectively, they need the time for creating their own voice and perspective.

    • Well said! Even I have felt the same. Too much, too early. That is what needs to be filtered. Parental controls that many of these mediums boast of are of no use. Physical monitoring and filtering is what helps. Our government needs to lay out stringent rules about what they broadcast during prime time. While browsing channels I find such annoying programs which are live during day time. In the name of spreading awareness some programs are actually showing animated versions of crimes. And some parents proudly show it to the children claiming that they are helping them understand the larger threats that are looming around. Young minds are impressionable and we need to be very careful about what they see and how they perceive.

  4. This is a great post and a great topic. I love that you point out the positive nature we should all be striving for in our classrooms and our homes and that really resonates within my heart!

    When I present a problem to the parents, I first start with improvements or positive efforts they’ve used in the classroom, then I ask if they’ve noticed these types of improvements at home themselves, it starts to help the parent really pay attention to their student, focusing on their attitudes at home. When I begin into some problem areas, I like to have very specific instances where the child has had a problem, and what we’ve done up to this point to handle it.

    Of course nothing works 100%, but it has helped to calm some parents who might have otherwise started into a heavy discussion with me!

    Continue spreading the love! Have a great rest of the week
    Kat

    • Hi Kat,

      First of all, thank you so much for stopping by and providing us with a teacher’s point of view. I can talk personally that 95% of the time, the teacher’s feedback has been correct and has helped us focus on the need areas of our child. My mother has been a high school teacher for over three and a half decades and I have always wondered about how she remembers anecdotes about a certain child who she had taught in her probation period. A teacher I believe is the one who spends much more quality time with the children and their inputs must be valued at all times. None of us are perfect and so a mistake here and there must be spoken about and forgotten. The primary focus must be on helping the child improve.

      Much love,
      Rekha

  5. If parents start thinking of teachers as valuable partners in brining up their child and teachers stand up to the challenge of being part-time parents to the children things will fall into place. Both want the same thing for each child. Teachers need to feel a sense of ownership/affection/responsibility towards the child. Which is why teaching should be a vocation and not just a job.

  6. I totally agree with you… instead of finding faulth with the teachers we must listen to teacher and see how one can correct the problem in one’s child, maybe through counselling… there should not be excess of anything we give to our kids(: love, discipline, punishment, neglect, pocessiveness etc(:

  7. I have noticed that many parents are only interested in their child’s academic or sports performance but not their overall growth as a human being. It’s sad and frustrating for parents who actually want our kids to be compassionate.

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