This British nanny says I'm a crap parent. And you probably are, too.

This nanny says we’re ruining our kids. Do you agree?

Emma Jenner is a British nanny who says modern parenting is in crisis and we need to fix it, now. “I’ve worked with children and their parents across two continents and two decades, and what I’ve seen in recent years alarms me,” she writes in the Huffington Post today.

She says modern parents are raising a generation of “entitled, selfish, impatient and rude adults” and then goes on to say that it won’t be their fault, it will be their parents’.

We never taught them any differently, we never expected any more of them. We never wanted them to feel any discomfort, and so when they inevitably do, they are woefully unprepared for it. So please, parents and caregivers from London to Los Angeles, and all over the world, ask more. Expect more. Share your struggles. Give less. And let’s straighten these children out, together, and prepare them for what they need to be successful in the real world and not the sheltered one we’ve made for them.

I’m not sure why but I keep imagining her wagging her finger at me while she says all of this, because she goes on to list all the parenting mistakes she’s observed over the past 20 years during her work with families in the UK and the US and I’m guilty of pretty much all of them.

Here’s her ultimate parenting test. It’s called the “sippy cup test”.

I will observe a parent getting her toddler a cup of milk in the morning. If the child says, “I want the pink sippy cup, not the blue!” yet the mum has already poured the milk into the blue sippy cup, I watch carefully to see how the parent reacts. More often than not, the mum’s face whitens and she rushes to get the preferred sippy cup before the child has a tantrum. Fail! What are you afraid of, mum? Who is in charge here?

I’m not sure what kind of families she’s working with but I can’t help but think of a mother’s face actually whitening as a result of using the wrong colour sippy cup might be a bit of an exaggeration on her part. Is she sure it didn’t redden with annoyance/frustration, but in an effort to pick her battles, the mum just gave the child a pink cup instead so the complaining didn’t start so early in the day.

Emma then says that on top of the fact we are giving our children the sippy cup colour of their choice we are also committing the following errors, thus ruining our children forever:

* We don’t discipline our children enough:

You don’t think a child can sit through dinner at a restaurant? Rubbish. You don’t think a child can clear the table without being asked? Rubbish again! The only reason they don’t behave is because you haven’t shown them how and you haven’t expected it! It’s that simple. Raise the bar and your child shall rise to the occasion.

I took my son’s iPod off him for an entire night when he refused to turn it off during dinner. Does that count?

* We don’t allow others to parent our children:

It used to be that bus drivers, teachers, shopkeepers and other parents had carte blanche to correct an unruly child. They would act as the mum and dad’s eyes and ears when their children were out of sight, and everyone worked towards the same shared interest: raising proper boys and girls. This village was one of support. Now, when someone who is not the child’s parent dares to correct him, the mum and dad get upset.

My niece’s bus driver told she and her friends to “sit the f down” a couple of months ago and I didn’t call to the school to complain. Does that count?

* We rely too much on parenting shortcuts:

Children must still learn patience. They must still learn to entertain themselves. They must still learn that not all food comes out steaming hot and ready in three minutes or less, and ideally they will also learn to help prepare it. Babies must learn to self-soothe instead of sitting in a vibrating chair each time they’re fussy. Toddlers need to pick themselves up when they fall down instead of just raising their arms to mum and dad.

My daughter tripped over this week and I put my coffee cup down, careful not to spill it, before coming to her aid. Does that count?

* We put our children’s needs ahead of our own:


So often I see mums get up from bed again and again to fulfill the whims of their child. Or dads drop everything to run across the zoo to get their daughter a drink because she’s thirsty. There is nothing wrong with not going to your child when she wants yet another glass of water at night.

My son asked for a drink with his dinner last night after I’d forgotten to put their cups on the table, just after I’d taken my first bite of dinner, and I actually sighed before I got up to get their cups. Does that count?

Emma Jenner says modern parents are too easy on their kids.

The fact is that Emma Jenner has a book coming out that she is trying to promote which is behind her decision to crap all over what she sees as our failed attempts to parent and I for one, am not in the mood to hear it. Doesn't she know we are in the MIDDLE OF SCHOOL HOLIDAYS?

Couldn't she have written this next week when I was full of back-to-school positivity, vowing that this term I'd do better, be stricter, adhere to our schedule, pack them healthier lunches? Because I'm sure she's right, about all of it, I just don't have the energy to do any of it.

Her book is called, Keep Calm and Parent On. Well, that might be easier if we didn't have her peering over our shoulders judging us.

I'm sure Emma's heart is in the right place when she says we're stuffing up this whole parenting thing and ruining our children. I'll try to take some of her advice on board. I can totally handle sitting in a restaurant with no electronic devices whatsoever to help the time pass in between ordering and the food arriving. I can totally deflect the kids whining over how long it is taking. Then when the food has arrived I'll feel good about myself because I have taught them patience.

Of course I won't be able to eat my food due to the nauseating stress but, that's a small price to pay for calm, humble, well-behaved children and future adults.

Now, where is my cane?

Do you think Emma has a point about modern parenting or is she over-reacting?

Does Emma Jenner's parenting advice leave you feeling tired, oh so tired? Then click through these 10 parenting life-hacks to save your precious time:

Like this? Then try:

Stay At Home Mums are NOT Free babysitters.

The top 10 things kids want their mums to do with them.

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