Have kids and parents lost respect for teachers and school?


REKINDLE Therapy counselling psychologist Cathie Wu says multiple factors contribute to the feelings that teachers have about being disrespected in their job.

“As the public is increasingly more educated, teachers are no longer seen as sole experts in educating children. They are not seen as true professionals, rather oftentimes, as ‘glorified’ babysitters in the absence of parents.

“Some parents erroneously feel that they have a better understanding of their children from their own parenting, and further diminish the role of the teacher instead of teaching their kids about respect.

“Children, in turn, can model after their parents and exhibit disrespectful behaviour in the classroom.”

Wu said parents needed to be mindful that children could learn from others.

“They learn through what they observe.

“When parents conduct themselves in ways that lack respect, fairness and justice, they increase the likelihood that the same dysfunctional behaviours will be displayed by their children.”

Are Malaysian parents mollycoddling their kids to their detriment?

“Many parents unintentionally do so without being aware of the long-term effects.

“A parenting code based on mutual respect, fairness, and ethical values should be the basis of parental teaching.”

She also cautioned against bringing up children in a sheltered environment.

“Lack of exposure to real-life stress experiences by sheltering the child prevents him from learning about coping skills, persistence and resilience.

“As life stressors are inevitable, a sheltered child will feel anxious, fearful and helpless when encountering such events.

“Parents can use measured exposure across different areas of life to continuously teach their children about the existence, and also the overcoming, of these challenges.”

Effective way of disciplining students begins with teaching them what is unacceptable behaviour and why it is unacceptable, and the consequence the behaviour may bring.

“This will also help parents understand why such behaviours occur and to stop them from repeating.

“The disciplinarian should be mindful of not shaming or belittling the child, publicly or privately. Research in this area shows that shame-based discipline can have long-lasting negative consequences on the self-esteem and confidence of the child as they age into adulthood,” said Wu.