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Sweet but Overbearing Mothers Bully Teachers
Domenick J. Maglio, Ph.D. Neo-Traditionalist
The media has shown many irate parents storming onto the playing field of their children’s sport to trash a referee or another parent or even the child’s opponent. Usually they are men using their brawn to intimidate.
In school another more subtle form of bullying is done by mothers. This has not received any recognition in the media. Parents are invading the sanctity of the classroom to intimidate teachers into making special accommodations for their child. They are aggressively bulldozing right over their child’s teachers.
Although this form of teacher bullying is generally psychological, the negative impact on the child can be just as debilitating. The offending parent, often the mother, sends the pathetic message to the child that the child can never show she is less than perfect.
The inevitable happens when the child shows she is merely a developing child and not perfect. The parent rushes in to maintain the illusion there is no need for improvement. The mother believes she needs to bail the child out of any of the child’s mistakes in the attempt to maintain the myth that the child is as infallible as the mother.
Any difficulty her child experiences the mother feels is a direct reflection on her. These parents do not permit their children to compensate for their weaknesses. The child is forced to fake being perfect.
These children of bullying mothers are under immense pressure. Often they are the only child. Their mothers have all their dreams invested in the one child. The child obediently follows the sweet but over bearing mother’s demands and witnesses her manipulate authority figures to do exactly what she wants.
When these children enter school their mothers attempt to micro manage the child’s classroom. “My child told me her hand was raised and you picked another child.” The not so hidden message is “my child from now on must be chosen first.” All proceeding communication with the teacher starts out, “today this or that happened in school” as if the mother was sitting in the classroom. Upon questioning by the teacher it becomes clear her only source of information necessary is her own child’s supposedly accurate perceptions.
These mothers frequently demand schoolwork ahead of time in order to tutor their children at home. This curriculum knowledge in advance with the parent’s effort will insure the child an A. They even will do the child’s written work using adult language and expect to get a superior grade even though it is obvious the child had little to do with it. When the child cannot read what is supposed to be his own paper, the teacher is expected to disregard this glaring fact. Anything less than an A results in an immediate meeting called by the parent to lecture the teacher and demonstrate her incompetence.
The teacher gets the message that this child will be treated as special or the teacher will pay a heavy price. The teacher’s reputation will be mangled through the whisper campaign with other parents in the parking lot and by disparaging remarks to other teachers about this less than accommodating teacher.
These bullying mothers live through their children to such an extent that they will expect other parents to make their child special. At social events the sweet bullying mother will direct other parents to allow her child to be first in all situations. Her child has to win every silly game regardless of how well he did. Any parent that does not join the bandwagon can be assured they will suffer reprisal. Their children will not be invited to special after school social events. The sole purpose is to punish other parents and children to keep them in line.
The mission of these subtle bullying mothers is to create in the minds of others an image of a superior child to confirm she is a superior parent. These pushy mothers are obnoxious to other children and their parents although they are most destructive to their own child’s development.
Schools need to take the lead in curbing bully parent’s negative behavior. These bullies like any bully have to be confronted by the teacher along with the administration to establish the parental parameters in the classroom and the school. The following are ways of setting boundaries for this type of parent.
For education to be effective all forms of bullying need to be eliminated. Bullying parents have to be exposed like any other bully or they will become a cancer to the entire school community.