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Poor Parenting, and How to Fix It

24 May 2012 120 Comments

Poor parenting is regularly being cited as a cause of bad behaviour in schools and wider society, and was reported to be one of the main factors leading to last year’s riots. Ben Wakeling from our Parent Panel takes a look at this hotly debated subject and wonders how we can fix the problem.

The riots which broke out across England last summer are etched into the minds of thousands of people: the burning buildings, the masked youths carrying loot, and streets littered with debris and burnt-out cars.

A report on the causes of the riots was published earlier this year by the Riots, Communities and Victims Panel, which listed ‘poor parenting’ as one of the reasons such widespread devastation broke out. Mothers and fathers who had lost control of their children were partly to blame for the violence that began in London and spread to other cities.

The Sun reported on this subject, saying ‘Parents shirking their responsibilities have been blamed for the horrific violence and loss of life witnessed during last year’s London riots in a leaked report.’ But what does the phrase ‘poor parenting’ actually mean? And what are the responsibilities that these parents have shirked?

Familyresource.com lists eight basic responsibilities of a parent, from providing a safe environment to involvement in a child’s education. But, nestled in the middle, are a few responsibilities which were sadly lacking in the parents whose children spread terror in the streets of London. (It should be added at this point that all parents of rioting yobs cannot be tarred with the same brush: some even frogmarched their child to the police.)

These responsibilities deal with teaching your child morals and values, as well as providing discipline. The youths who rioted had broken away from their parents – and the parents had lost control of their children. This lack of morals was evident as shops burned to the ground.

So how can poor parenting be remedied? Unfortunately, there is no quick-fix solution. A child who is old enough to run onto the streets unattended and carry out violent acts cannot be taught morals and discipline in a few days – remedy requires a long process entered into fully by parent and child, both of whom are fully committed to repairing relationships and learning how to be a better person. This may require counselling and professional help.

Being a good parent is about gaining respect from your child, and giving respect to them. It is never too late to begin.