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Kindergarten Teacher Says There's A 'Big Shift' In Children And 'Gentle Parenting' Is To Blame For Ruining Our Kids

Photo: ranplett / Canva Pro
teacher struggling to manage misbehaving students

As teachers from every side of the country have urgently taken to social media to express their deep concerns for the future of Generation Alpha, one kindergarten teacher joined the conversation to share her “unpopular opinion” regarding how “gentle parenting” is “ruining” these young kids.

The teacher took to TikTok to emphasize the massive challenge teachers are facing with their attempts to teach young children.

The teacher, Cassie Martinez, explained she has taught kindergarten for 10 years and has noticed a striking shift in the behavior of her students, and she believes it is due to changes in parenting styles.

“I feel like 10 years ago, kids were very manageable,” Martinez explained. “They understood that you have to be respectful to adults, to teachers. They understood what school was and how to behave appropriately.”

“Now, in today’s society, gentle parenting is ruining our children,” she added.

   

   

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Martinez suggested that this parenting style is not always beneficial to every child, and some require a more authoritative approach.

In fact, research has shown that gentle parenting strategies are not always effective when it comes to managing kids’ aggressive and oppositional behavior. According to Simply Working Mama, “The emphasis on emotional validation and the lack of firm boundaries can lead to a lack of structure and discipline for children.”

Gentle parenting can offer an alternative method to the problematic nature of certain authoritative approaches.

According to The New Yorker, gentle parenting has gained popularity because of its approach to helping children recognize and understand their “feelings and the motivations behind challenging behavior, as opposed to correcting the behavior itself.” 

The psychology behind this parenting style suggests respecting boundaries, offering choices rather than orders, and avoiding the use of rewards or punishments.

   

   

Eventually, when utilized properly, gentle parenting allows the child to become self-aware and emotionally intelligent so they can better manage their emotions. “The kid becomes a person who is self-regulating, kind, and conscientious because she wants to be, not because it will result in ice cream,” The New Yorker suggested.

However, it seems this parenting style has become misconstrued by many, and it’s getting out of hand. 

TikTokers in the comments suggested clarifications between gentle parenting and ‘passive’ or ‘absent’ parenting.

While the prospect of teaching our children to embrace and understand their emotions is undoubtedly necessary, some parents have taken a flawed approach to the parenting style, enabling their children to frequently misbehave with no repercussions or disciplinary action taken.

People have characterized this approach as "passive" or "absent" parenting, which involves parents letting children do what they want with little to no direction or guidance, for the sake of pleasing their children and avoiding conflict. "I think gentle parenting gets confused with passive parenting. True gentle parenting is authoritative with emotional awareness," a teacher of 10 years explained in the comments of Martinez's TikTok.

   

   

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"I think the issue is those trying gentle parenting don’t understand it, and what is really happening is absent parenting," another person added in the comments.

It is because of this lack of parental guidance that so many children are running amok in the classroom, and teachers are spending most of their time attempting to regain control, rather than actually teaching their students. 

“Our hands are tied, we can’t do much when students misbehave, when they’re yelling, when they’re cursing, when they’re throwing chairs. They’re trying to hit teachers with their jackets, they are stomping on their feet,” Martinez expressed with concern. “That is not okay, that is when gentle parenting has not benefited that child.”

“My children are not receiving the education they deserve because teachers are preoccupied dealing with the ‘bad’ kids. It's not fair,” one parent commented on the TikTok.

A root cause of this issue likely has much to do with the rising lack of respect for teachers from parents and administration.

With the mental toll excessive technology use has taken on children, in addition to the primary focus of public education on standardized tests, there is a massive decline in the genuine enjoyment of learning.

Kindergarten Teacher Says Gentle Parenting Is To Blame For Ruining Our KidsPhoto: Pixelshot / Canva Pro

Due to the lack of support and respect teachers are facing from not only their students, but the parents and academic community, they are quitting their jobs in droves.

According to a data report by the Bureau of Labor Statistics and reported by the Wall Street Journal, a whopping 300,000 teachers in the U.S. chose to leave their profession between February 2020 and May 2022.

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Many teachers believe a crisis in Gen Alpha is imminent if this gentle parenting continues.

While, under appropriate circumstances, there are many benefits to the correct implementation of gentle parenting, in reality, due to a myriad of contributing factors, children are being led to believe they are immune to consequences, and teachers are deeply worried for their future.

Teachers are at the receiving end of Gen Alpha’s instability, and they are urgently suggesting a balance between gentle and authoritative parenting before it’s too late.

   

   

Once a child reaches their teen years, their behavior will become much more dramatic and difficult to regulate if they haven’t been taught any form of respect or limits. By then, it’ll be too late to assert any kind of authority, and their behavior will get worse

No parenting style is perfect, but there is an urgency for balance when it comes to raising children.

Parenting is no easy task, but if countless teachers around the country are raising concerns about the future of Gen Alpha due to their immoderate behavior, it signifies a priority to regain control before things escalate.

“You have to teach your kids right from wrong. If your kids don’t know right from wrong, they will end up in jail,” Martinez emphasized. “Teachers are not out to get kids, teachers are there to do a job, and your child is preventing that teacher from doing a job. Your child is preventing other students in the classroom from learning.”

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Francesca Duarte is a writer on YourTango's news and entertainment team based in Orlando, FL. She covers lifestyle, human-interest, adventure, and spirituality topics.