How children are the victims of their parents' lost values
By Graeme Paton, Education Editor, The Daily Telegraph of Nov. 21, 2011
Parents are dressing up their children in provocative* clothes and allowing them to wear make-up and high heels because they lack traditional values, according to a leading headmistress.
Dr Helen Wright, the president of the Girls' Schools Association, suggests there is something "intensely wrong" with society if some mothers and fathers saw no problem with allowing their daughters to wear provocative clothing.
In a speech to the association's annual conference in Bristol today, she will raise concerns that many parents were failed by the education system at a young age by being brought up with no respect for their elders* and little idea of how to raise a child.
Dr Wright, the headmistress of St Mary's Calne, a private girls' boarding school in Wiltshire, also suggests many adults struggle to resist commercial pressures, meaning they overindulge* children.
Her comments come weeks after Sir Michael Wilshaw, the incoming head of Ofsted, the education watchdog*, warned that schools were being forced to act as "surrogate families*" to some children because mothers and fathers lacked decent parenting skills.
Ministers have announced plans to provide parenting classes for around 50,000 people next year as part of a national trial. Families in Middlesbrough, Camden and the High Peak in Derbyshire will be given tuition in areas such as communication and listening, managing conflict, discipline and setting boundaries for children.
In her speech, Dr Wright will say: "I have a deep worry that some parents have been so deprived* in their own lives of education and values, that they no longer know right from wrong and that they are as a result unwittingly 'indulging'* children in some parallel universe where it is acceptable to let young children wear make-up and provocative clothing.
"If parents can't see anything wrong in dressing up their children in 'Future WAG' T-shirts* and letting them wear make-up, high heels and 'mini-me' sexy clothing, then something is intensely wrong in our society.
"I have no doubt that these are the parents who have been failed by the education system themselves. These are the parents without support, experience or networks. They have grown up without any respect for their elders or any idea of how to bring up a child.
"But how do we break the cycle? Education, of course – and the support of schools embedded in their communities."
Speaking ahead of the conference, Dr Wright insisted that parents were not to blame and said many were unable to resist commercial pressures from advertisers and television.
"There are all these images in magazines and TV [and] if you're bombarded with that, you're going to think its normal, and actually it's not," she said. Dr Wright said she was not suggesting that mothers and fathers needed parenting classes but insisted schools had a key role to play in providing guidance.
The GSA* has created a website, My Daughter, to provide information and advice on all aspects of educating and raising girls.
"We need to take away the stigma for parents that they have to know everything," she said. "I think there's lots of good advice out there, but people are afraid to be seen to be taking it.
"This notion is that we should know what it is to be a parent, we should know instinctively. We don't always know instinctively, we learn."
* provocative - provozierend
* elders - die Älteren
* overindulge - jdm. zuviel durchgehen lassen, mit jdm. zu nachsichtig sein
* education watchdog - Aufsichtsbeamter im Schulwesen
* surrogate families - Ersatzfamilie
* deprived - benachteiligt
* indulge - nachgeben, verwöhnen
* 'Future WAG' T-shirt - a shirt for children as young as two featuring the words ‘Future WAG’ which means Wives and Girlfriends of Professional Football Players
* GSA - Girls’ Schools Association
1. Describe the vicious circle between value-deprived parents and their young children.
2. Do you think that those parents have been failed by the education systen? Substantiate your view.
3. Will parenting classes solve the problem of too permissive parents?
4. What do you think lies at the core of parents lacking values and being unable to raise their children properly?