What makes a parent Bad?

Discussion in 'Teacher Time Out' started by John Lee, Jul 31, 2015.

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  1. John Lee

    John Lee Groupie

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    Jul 31, 2015

    If you take these things at face-value:
    -eat fast food regularly (practically daily)
    -don't exercise
    -never read to child
    -don't unplug from technology (on iPad for probably > 4 hours daily)
    -don't provide activities: join no sports teams, club (boy/girl scouts), or community group of any kind

    If you take these things as truths, does that make you a bad parent? Like, if you did all these things for your child (i.e. to your child) but were kind to them, does that negate all the harm you potentially cause them?

    Edit: BTW, I'm not judging anyone here. I certainly do all of these things "in moderation" :blush: myself. Some maybe more, some much less. When I list these things, I'm doing so from personal observation.
     
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  3. Ms. I

    Ms. I Maven

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    Yes, there are lots of parents out there who don't give the mental stimulation that a child truly needs nor is more of a part of their lives than they should be. So, yes, I think it's considered bad or neglectful/lazy parenting. Doing those list of things you listed on a CONSTANT, OVERABUNDANT basis isn't considered good. Even the Bible says, "do all things in moderation."

    A good parent should want to provide as great a childhood and/or life in general as humanly possible for their child: Giving them a well-rounded life by exposing them to the riches in life (arts, culture, education, contentment, joy, stability, safety, etc.), so that they're hopefully positive members of society as adults.
     
  4. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    It depends. I don't think fast food or exercise define good or bad parenting. Technology. ... Hmmm, kind of depends. Is the tech being used by the parent to inform themselves/relax/unwind without impacting quality time with kiddos? Signing kids up for clubs and teams can get expensive. There are other ways to engage with your kids and provide enriching experiences. I wouldn't judge a parent by your list 'at face value'. :2cents:
     
  5. msrosie

    msrosie Rookie

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    Sometimes, parents just have to work to make sure their children have the things they need, food, a roof over their head, clothing, all that fun stuff. So sometimes, the things that you've labeled as making a parent a bad parent are just the norm in the house. Does that make the parent bad? I don't think so.

    I know that my mom worked a lot. We didn't really do a ton of exercising because our neighborhood was bad and it wasn't always safe to be outside without an adult and we ate a lot of fast food because it's what she could get for free from work. The TV was our babysitter. After my dad passed, there wasn't much reading to us because she didn't have time and she was exhausted. We definitely didn't join activities because they were expensive and that money could be spent on better things.

    Do I think my mom was a bad parent? Absolutely not. I think she did what she had to do as a single parent. I don't resent that. She loved my sister and I and we knew that.
     
  6. teacherintexas

    teacherintexas Maven

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    I would need more information. I'd need to know about the parent/child interactions. If the parent never has conversations with the child and doesn't spend time with the kid other than barking orders, then that I'd say that person isn't parenting well.
     
  7. John Lee

    John Lee Groupie

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    Well I can certainly see that. Again, I don't mean to say that if you ever give your kid fast food, you suck. Obviously, circumstances like that do play a role. And the hypotheticals I gave, are obviously notly hypothetical.

    Let me offer a parallel of the same person (as a dog owner), and with the same dynamics:

    The dog loves her, and actually every dog she's ever had, has seemed to really love her (e.g. very attached). She always has pitbulls.

    So, she:
    -feeds them your standard variety kibble every day
    -she never exercises them. They don't walk (at all), they don't play fetch, they don't go places, etc.
    -her standard way of occupying her dog is to give them a rawhide...

    And that's pretty much it.

    Is that a "bad" owner? They don't eat a varied diet at all, they don't get the vigorous exercise that (as pitbulls) you know they want. And in the end, they all die by euthanasia and the big C (cancer). But as I said, they love her. Is she a bad dog-owner?

    *Your counter-argument to me might be, "how can you know all that she does". All I can say is that I know, believe me.
     
  8. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Phenom

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    Jul 31, 2015

    Interesting question.

    However, many factors should be taken into consideration. For example, when I was growing up, cell phones and Internet didn't exist. My brother, sister, and I spent our free time outside riding bikes, skateboards, roller skates, or scooters. We unintentionally got lots and lots of exercise.

    Nowadays, considering we're in the age of technology--things are much, much different (I won't even begin to list the innumerable ways).
     
  9. lucybelle

    lucybelle Connoisseur

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    I think number one thing of a bad parent (I have no kids so I really shouldn't even respond) is rewarding poor behavior. (This is assuming all necessities are provided- shelter, food, love, etc)
     
  10. 3Sons

    3Sons Connoisseur

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    I agree, you shouldn't.

    ;) I'm (mostly) kidding. But, as you obviously realize, it's one thing to criticize from outside and entirely different when you're actually a parent.

    One thing you learn as a parent is that it's hard. No, I mean really hard. Any decision you make may or may not have lasting consequences, and it's difficult to predict what those will be. And they vary from child to child. One child will be completely fine with no (or little) exercise, and another would be bouncing off the walls. And one may get the exercise themselves and another may not.

    And that's every child, every decision, every day.

    And taking the "reward bad behavior" example (which sounds good in theory), sometimes you'll be put in a position of rewarding one kid by punishing another. Maybe both were bad. Maybe not. Maybe one doesn't care much about the punishment and seeing the other one punished is more than enough of a reward. Maybe one is especially sensitive and even a light scolding sends them into paroxysms of sobbing, to the point where you can no longer communicate with them.

    So, all parents are bound to make mistakes. Some of those mistakes would have been avoidable, maybe, and some were probably completely unavoidable.
     
  11. scmom

    scmom Enthusiast

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    I think it is too simplistic to think any of these are the judge of a good parent. You can do all of these things and be a great parent or none of these things and be a lousy one.

    Being a good parent is all about building a relationship with a child, providing a nurturing environment, providing consistent, calm, caring guidance and as much stability, life skills and experiences as possible. It has very little to do with how much money or education one has. It has everything to do with the willingness to learn and grow as a person and a parent. Imo, it is the hardest job most people will every do, and it is impossible to really know it until you do it.
     
  12. bros

    bros Phenom

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    If the kid doesn't want to join a club, a parent shouldn't force them into it.
     
  13. John Lee

    John Lee Groupie

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    Do you really think that if someone DID all those things I listed, they could still be a "great parent"?

    In my example, she seems to have a fine relationship with her child in terms of "caring" and being nurturing... my niece LOVES her mom. What I'm saying is (as the smart adult): shouldn't you see that you are building a little butterball (poor diet/fitness) with average grades leading to a mediocre academic career (no emphasis on education) with ordinary skills (not building skills early on)?
     
  14. John Lee

    John Lee Groupie

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    I made the analogy to dogs too, because I happen to have a dog. I know that kibble is the fast-food of the dog world... and that is probably a primary cause of dog deaths from cancer and other diseases. As a result, my dog eats a simple homemade diet. Will it work? (i.e. will she avoid a death by injection?) Who knows, but at least I'm trying.

    Dogs also die of heart disease largely brought on by lack of exercise. Also (of course), it is a dog's nature to roam/walk. To deny that, you are denying a dog's nature. So I take my dog on daily walks, hoping to fulfill her needs.

    I know that there are factors (single parent, income) that affect a parent's ability to do what they'd ideally like to do. But absent of those conditions, I just don't understand.
     
  15. 4815162342

    4815162342 Companion

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    I think the age of the child plays a bit into this, imo.

    Personally, I think bad parents are the ones who "forget" their child in a 1000 degree car or beat them over potty training mishaps.
    What you described is just a parent who might not realize social interaction is valuable, or a busy parent who sees drive thrus as convenient (and thanks to pinterest, i wouldn't say cooking at home is always healthier. Hello you delicious fried pizza eggrolls)
     
  16. WarriorPrncss

    WarriorPrncss Companion

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    I don't think that any of those examples by themselves mean a person is a bad parent. When I think "bad parent" I think:

    - Neglect (no food, only junk), no time spent together
    - Abuse (verbal, physical, emotional)
    - Exposing the child(ren) to inappropriate things or things that are bad for them all together, (graphic tv/movies, drugs, etc)
    - Not being present and/or letting the child "run the show" because they are too passive to speak up
    - No discipline

    I currently work in Juvenile Probation and the youth we have at our facility are always a combination of those things. And what's worse is that a majority are the way they are because their parents grew up that way--gangs, drugs, violence, and the list goes on. Another small group are the kids whose parents either turn a blind eye and maintain that their child is innocent and wrongly accused or the parent who is too passive to parent.

    I think A LOT of factors go into it and unless it's abuse, it's not just one factor.
     
  17. John Lee

    John Lee Groupie

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    I must say that I'm a bit surprised. I guess I was expecting more confirmation than anything else. It still dumbfounds me... I think we project our own 1980s, 1970s, 1960s expectations in upbringing into today's modern world. In the 80s, it was OK to drive around with your kids unbuckled in the car... heck, my mom used to have a regular dinner chair in the center console of our van, where my brother used to sit on road trips! Today I suppose, people would say that is bad parenting. Pregnant women would have cocktails and smoke casually back then... today, they'd be considered very irresponsible.

    So you can't project that stuff to today. Maybe your mom fed you lots of fast food back in the day or let watch LOTS of TV... it was harder to know any better back then. But today, it simply isn't the case. And yes--I get that there are life circumstances that dictate certain choices. That's not who I'm talking about.
     
  18. RainStorm

    RainStorm Aficionado

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    John Lee,
    Here's my list of what makes a parent bad:

    -Coming to school for a conference while high on crack... Eyes dilated and acting nutzy-cuckoo.

    -Mom gets arrested. The cops leave the 10 year old with her father. Different cops come for the father. The ten year old hides in the closet. They don't notice her. She goes to school for her free breakfast and lunch. Goes home after school, finds that there is a lock on the door and her folks have been evicted. She lives in the hallway for 3 days before she starts to smell so bad at school that we question her and find out what happened. She only comes to school for the free food -- she hates school. She goes with CPS, and is fostered in our district, so she keeps coming to school, but both parents stay in jail for over a year. Foster mom doesn't care what she does, she just wants the money. Child wears the same clothes everyday. Same problem with the smell. CPS says they have no place else to put her, because the child is violent. Eventually, child ends up in the youth mental health facility.

    -Having Dad come to school to meet -- running into another father at school -- they are in rival gangs, and start screaming obscenities at each other in front of all the children. One of them pulls out a knife, the other motions toward the gun in his waistband, and just then the police arrive -- all with children within sight and in danger.

    -Calling a parent at home to discuss a discipline issue, only to hear the parent drop the phone, grab the kid, and start wailing away on them, while the child screams in the background. Call CPS, they say call the police immediately. Call the police and they go to the house and break it up. Say there is nothing they can do because the parent "was only" hitting the child on the backside and back of legs with a shoe bottom.

    -Having a parent come in during instruction with a small baby in arms.. having a schizophrenic break, have her blocking the door (with you, the principal, and a room full of 7 year olds including her daughter) and screaming obscenities and swearing she was going to "kill you all" because the voices said we where hurting her child. (She held us hostage for over 2 hours, until finally the police broke the door down, and she was committed and received help. Children went to CPS, and we never saw the child in the class again.)

    All of these are true stories from my years teaching in the inner city. I would call all of these parents "bad parents." The whole "junk food" thing does not even begin to make the list.
     
  19. John Lee

    John Lee Groupie

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    That is a LOW standard. Thats like saying the only bad cooks are the ones who spit on food, or the only bad teachers are those who cuss on the job or have sex with their students. It discounts actual the poor practices in teaching, and just places a premium on extraordinary behavior.

    Teaching is probably a proper analogy. I guess I can see hesitating to call someone a "bad teacher", just because they aren't good at their job. I don't think I know a bad teacher; I know plenty of teachers who aren't good at their job.
     
  20. WarriorPrncss

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    I don't think that's a low standard if you consider your demographic. I also believe that there isn't one level to "bad parenting". It can be as extreme as some of RainStorm's examples or as "mild" as a parent who is lazy and ONLY feeds their kid junk and fast food.

    I feel like you're trying to fit all "bad" parents into one box and it's not a "one action defines all" kind of thing.

    The dog example, for example, some people think giving their pet people food is a great treat and shows their animal they love them--- while well meaning, dog's cannot process many human foods and can easily end of with pancreatitis, which can kill them. It doesn't make them bad pet parents, it makes them uninformed. I don't make my dogs food, but I buy a good quality kibble. I make sure they always have fresh food and water and that they all have busy rawhides and toys for when I'm not home. Do I take them for a walk and throw the ball everyday? No. Do I make sure I treat them well, including but not limited to proper diet, toys, bathing, etc? Yes. Am I a bad dog parent because I don't walk and play fetch every night? No.

    What it comes down to is your outlook. RainStorm has seen some bad things, that put things in perspective. Some work in more affluent areas where they don't see things and simple things come off as a much bigger problem than it is.

    It's all about perspective.
     
  21. mrachelle87

    mrachelle87 Fanatic

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    John, if the things listed make you a bad parent, then at times I have been. I love my children. I try to support them without enabling them. I have two children that love showing, music, and hunting. My son plays golf and weight lifts. He played football. My daughter has played soccer, softball, and basketball. Only one season each. She hates sports and to her exercise is a dirty word. I bought her a fitbit and challenged her to walk. This is her only real form of exercise besides working with her sheep...which she has seven and it takes two hours to walk and exercise them. I allow some pop and chip in my home. I don't force vegetables down their throats. I am from the Paula Dean school of cooking. Most meals are homemade.

    I have had students whose parents had them on every sports team. They ate healthy, and had stimulation. But I still felt they were a bad parent. They treated their children like possessions and only wanted them to show off. If they weren't the best one on the team, the child was degraded and shamed. So even if they provide the things you listed, they could still be a bad parent in my opinion.
     
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