Are today's parents raising a mob of self-obsessed kids with no idea how to be part of civilised society?
A BRITISH teacher has blown the whistle on middle-class parents, blaming them for raising a generation of self-centred brats unable to cope in a world where they are not the most important person.
The warning, given at a UK teachers conference, comes after debate in Australia about whether teachers are being asked to take on too many tasks that once were the responsibility of parents.
The incoming president of a British teachers' union, Amanda Haehner, says that growing numbers of pupils in her nation's schools are so spoilt at home that they are unable to behave and accept rules in class.
These cosseted "little princesses and princes" blame others for their own failures and refuse to do anything difficult or boring because their parents have failed to set boundaries.
Ms Haehner said the children, often from middle-class families, struggled to cope in classes of 30 because they were used to being the centre of attention.
Ms Haehner's warning is the latest in a series from teachers' leaders implicating parents in school discipline problems.
The British National Union of Teachers —a rival group to Ms Haehner's organisation — produced research last week claiming that over-indulgent parents were creating a generation of children who thought nothing of throwing tantrums in class.
"The rise of 'the little prince' and, increasingly, his female sidekick is a cause for concern," Ms Haehner — who teaches at St Mary's High School in Croydon, South London — told the conference yesterday. "The little prince never has to do anything he finds difficult or boring. He does not have to take any responsibility for his actions.
"Anything negative that happens is someone else's responsibility and — if this right to a stress-free existence is questioned — then a doting relative will appear immediately to sort everything out.
"Creating boundaries takes time and effort but cannot remain the sole preserve of teachers and schools," Ms Haehner said.
With their parents bowing to every demand at home, she said, such children tend to believe they do not have to follow the same rules as others.
"If they are misbehaving, it is always someone else's fault — they don't take responsibility," Ms Haehner said. "If they don't get the grade they feel they deserve, it's the teacher's fault rather than their own."
She said a culture of instant gratification was partly to blame.
"Whilst good teaching is of the essence, the participation and responsibility of the learner, I believe, needs much greater reinforcement," she said.