A look at the blurring line between parents and teachers

by Brett Henebery27 Jan 2015

The advice to consume alcohol responsibly might be something you’d expect children to receive from their parents - not schools.

In a similar fashion, an issue like schoolyard bullying is a matter that schools have traditionally tackled as an in-house problem, but this responsibility is now shifting to parents.

One might say that the parent-teacher line is becoming increasingly blurred, and it prompts the question: where does a parent’s participation end and a teacher’s begin?

Is the complexity of these issues encouraging parents and teachers to swap certain responsibilities with one another?

Youth Action (YA) has recently started lobbying for the NSW Government to offer school children practical advice on how to handle alcohol responsibly.

“With classes, they could say, ‘Maybe if you are going to drink, have light or mid-strength beer instead of downing a neck of vodka,’” says Eamon Waterford, YA policy director.

While parents are unlikely to oppose such advice in general, others might feel that the issue is more of a parent-child one.

However, when approaching the matter of schoolyard bullying, we begin to see how a thorny issue like this might be best left in the hands of schools.

Nonetheless, a new book titled Families coping: Effective strategies for you and your child was released today by the Australian Council for Educational Research to help parents guide their children through the issue of schoolyard bullying.

An article published by Pauline Lysaght on The Conversation’s website provided this interesting insight.

“While parents may be responsible for establishing a knowledge base in these and other areas, and encouraging related behaviours, teachers are influential in reinforcing and extending these behaviours within the school context.”

When asked about the Youth Action’s responsible drinking proposal, NSW Education Minister, Adrian Piccoli, said he had no plans to change the current policy.

“I support the current mandatory approach to drug and alcohol education which provides age-appropriate information for students,” Piccoli said.

“Parents too have an important role to play in educating their children about the risks and consequences of drugs and alcohol.”
 

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