TEACHERS are urging parents to say no to their children more so they learn to take responsibility for their actions. This includes setting boundaries at an early age and refusing to drop everything to cater for a forgetful teenager.
In the latest newsletter from Methodist Ladies College, acting dean of middle school Jan Guilfoyle said parents should ‘‘say no and then not feel guilty about it.” ‘‘Teaching girls to be responsible is part of our brief and sometimes we have to say no to them,’’ she wrote. ‘‘The girls learn far more from facing the consequences of their forgetful behaviour than they do by having mum or dad drop everything to solve a problem for their daughter.
‘‘Encourage them to get organised at night and check what they need to take to school the next day. However, then allow them to be responsible for their actions. It’s not the end of the world if their homework is not at school and though they may feel uncomfortable about it, they will be much more likely to remember next time if you haven’t smoothed the path for them.’’
Scotch College headmaster Alec O’Connell, a father of two teenagers, said teaching children right from wrong from a young age ensured they were confident enough to resist peer pressure in their teens. ‘‘If we don’t draw the line in the sand for our children, whether it’s academically, pastorally or socially, then who will?’’ Dr O’Connell said.
‘‘And children, and young men in my case, want that. They actually like the boundaries in some way because they can actually fall back on those boundaries to explain why they’re not going to be involved in something.’’
Professor Bruce Robinson, director of The Fathering Project at the University of Western Australia, said parents must ‘‘say no, but do so lovingly and firmly. This is tough love, but it is love, because it helps kids develop into people who will succeed because they take responsibility and don’t blame others or expect others to fix things for them,’’ he said.
Playgroup WA Chief Executive David Zarb, a father of two young children, said it was ‘‘absolutely critical” that children learn boundaries. “It’s difficult,’’ he said, ‘‘but if you’re a parent, that’s your job. If you don’t, then everyone pays the price later on, most of all the kids.’’