My mom is a teacher in 1st grade and has been for a while.

Occasionally, I volunteer in her classroom and get to see how she is treated by her students. Most of them are wonderful, and admittedly distracted, but eager to learn.

However, I have seen the disrespect she has endured. It is not a pretty sight.

Michaela Helean

Ever since the “Don’t say no” movement happened with parents, the boundaries and respect between student and teacher has dwindled significantly.

This was a movement that said parents shouldn’t say no to their kids because it is “too negative and doesn’t explain anything.” The claim is that kids take the word no as unfair because it has no attachment to explain whether it is fair.

But the power of “no” is much more than that.

When a student wants something they can’t have, my mom says no. But because they are allowed to argue with their parents about it at home, they start doing one of five things.

  • The first and most common is the whining approach. The child will throw a fit and cross their arms and whine saying something like, “But why?” My mom always explains to be fair. For example, “No. You can’t have a sticker if you didn’t do something to earn it first.”
  • The second most common is the pouting in silence move. This one is particularly annoying because the child will throw themselves on their desk (or the floor). They will then faux cry and be dramatic enough to try to convince my mom that she did a bad thing.
  • The third, which I have encountered as a camp counselor, is when the child calls you names. I have been called every name in the book, not all of them made sense. My mom has been called much worse though. It is always so demeaning and makes you feel just awful.
  • The fourth is when the kid starts to play the blame game. For example, “But John got a sticker. Why can’t I get one?” They try to validate their poor behavior by making someone else look bad.
  • The fifth and worst one is violence. My mother has had to deal with this on several occasions. Some were so violent they had to be put in another class. They would try to stab her with scissors, throw chairs at her, kick, punch and bite. I have seen some of this and it is so hard to get out of that situation because, legally, you can’t touch them. All you can do is shield yourself and call security.

Do I blame the kids for these behaviors? Sometimes. But most of the time they are copying what they see at home. It might be a parent, guardian or sometimes a sibling who uses these behaviors at home.

It is important to remember that children learn by observing. They idolize their parents more than anything. So those behaviors will stick around more so than with a stranger.

So please, make it okay to say no at home so my mom doesn’t have to be abused by a first-grader.

Teach your kid that “no” isn’t unfair, it just means they didn’t get their way and that is okay. Life doesn’t give you what you want.

Where it stops is when parents hold their kids accountable  But most aren’t doing that anymore. They believe the kid over the teacher.

Why? Is it because you don’t want a fight with your kid?