Contributed by Domenick J. Maglio PhD Traditional Realist
Parental blindness of the child’s misbehavior and the unwillingness to listen to and respect the teacher’s word has made it taboo for schools to confront inappropriate acts. This parents supporting of the child over the teacher has led to acceptability of antisocial behavior in our schools.
Schools prefer to keep parents content under the illusion their child is close to perfect. It is easier. From the school’s perspective it is much smarter to avoid a lose-lose bruhaha with parents and their children by overlooking lying, cheating, stealing and being lazy. The most efficient way to achieve this goal is to create a low stress and high enjoyment environment for students.
Entertaining students, not expecting much effort from them academically has become acceptable. Permitting them to socialize with peers however, whenever and wherever they desire is the norm. This permissive atmosphere reduces student gripes and attitude problems towards teachers, administrators and most importantly to parents.
Too many parents lie to themselves especially about their children’s school achievements. They put bumper stickers on their cars saying their child is “the student of the month” even though he shows poor academic ability at home. The parents bragging about their child’s questionable skills and achievements is more about boosting their reputation as good parents. They rationalize this promoting behavior by telling others they are increasing the self-confidence of their child. Really they are creating a false reality for a less than competent student/youngster. This is not a protective act as it is setting up the child for future failure.
Modern parents want to be close friends who are able to share intimate feelings with their children well into adulthood. They believe their close relationship insures their child’s telling them the truth. This is not the case. Children are not perfect: they lie. The trust level the modern parent has for his child is dangerously high.
This power of trust granted to children by their parents is foolish. Modern media culture through the Internet, social networks and targeted advertising along with increased peer freedom is a hazardous world for today’s students. It is crammed with life and death temptations.
In a student run asylum (school) the temptation to attempt forbidden behavior for peer acceptance is greater than ever before. Resorting to lying to cover up cheating, stealing and laziness is applauded by their peers as cool. In our present culture this is the most influential audience for the majority of youngsters.
This behavior of not being forthright even when caught red handed has become commonplace. Many students compete to be the “slickest con artist” rather than be as the openly defiant rebel that was fashionable in the past. The popularity of passing as an obedient student with authority figures while living a double life, as a devious troublemaker amongst peers is an attractive status creating many converts.
The lack of close supervision of student behavior and the built in policies to minimize any confrontation with parents has led to avoiding serious investigation of school incidents. By not determining the facts of the incident there is no need to identify the perpetrator or the victim. The difference between right and wrong is diluted.
It makes political sense from the school’s viewpoint to ignore and when necessary to downplay any student problem by giving all participants the same non-serious consequences. In the short run no one involved suffers enough pain to raise a stink with his parents. The long-term result of this approach is horrendous. The moral climate of the school is drastically decreased. The worst and sneakiest students thrive while the good, naive youngsters withdraw and become perennial victims.
The unintentional lesson being taught at our facilities is immoral behavior works. The epidemic of cheating on SAT tests and school officials lying to protect their involvement is only the tip of the iceberg. Lying and cheating have not only become acceptable but a good cheater and liar has become revered in our schools. Studies of student’s cheating have shown a drastic increase over the past 50 years. 80% of the country’s best students cheated to get to the top of their class. Our society is not only ignoring the cheating but is rewarding it.
It is the parent’s responsibility to teach their children that they will punish them wherever they are. Parents should appreciate other authority figures taking time and effort to teach their child that lying and cheating do not pay, not condemn them.
Everyday we fight to protect our children from the consequences of their poor decisions. It is another lost opportunity to develop a strong moral foundation in our children. By parents joining hands with conscientious community leaders to support appropriate consequences for misbehavior. This would bring meaning to the expression “crime does not pay.”
Creating a solid moral foundation in our children is the most important legacy parents can leave them to insure their success. Parents should be the leaders in their child’s moral development, not their personal apologists.
Dr. Domenick J. Maglio
PhD Traditional Realist