'Dear entitled parents: No, your primary school child is not a misunderstood genius.'

As told to Ann DeGrey

As a Year Four primary school teacher, I pour my heart into my work every single day. I love my students and I love seeing them grow and learn. It has always been my dream job. However, there is one aspect of my work that I find increasingly unbearable: dealing with overbearing, entitled parents who believe their child is either a misunderstood genius or an innocent victim, even when the reality is far from it.

Let’s discuss "Mrs Johnson." She’s convinced that her son, Jake, is destined for greatness in maths. Jake is a bright boy, but he struggles with some of the more complex concepts. When he failed his last math test, Mrs Johnson refused to accept the results. She stormed into my classroom, convinced there was a mistake. 

"My son is a genius. He doesn’t fail tests," she said. After several attempts to explain that Jake simply needs more practice, she finally left, but not before lecturing me about how the school — and me — are failing her "gifted" child. 

Another parent, "Mr Daniels" insists his daughter, Chloe, is being bullied by her classmates. Chloe is a gorgeous 11-year-old but she can also be quite the troublemaker. Several incidents of her bullying others have been documented. When I brought this to Mr Daniels' attention, he exploded. "My Chloe would never do such a thing! You've got no idea! She is the victim here." No matter how much evidence I presented — including my witness statement that I saw her kick another girl repeatedly during an argument —  he still refused to believe me. 

Then there was the incident with "Ms Black" whose involvement in her daughter's friendships went to an extreme level. Her daughter, Jenny, had a falling out with her best friend, Sarah. Instead of allowing the girls to resolve their issues, Ms Black showed up at the playground and yelled at Sarah, telling her to be nice to her daughter. She also demanded Sarah tell her exactly why she has stopped being her daughter's friend. This was very difficult for myself and another teacher to referee. It left both Jenny and Sarah in tears. 


Watch: Translated: Teachers. Post continues after video.

Video via Mamamia.

These parents don't realise the damage they're causing. Their refusal to accept their children's imperfections, or to allow them to navigate social challenges on their own, actually stunts their development. It also strains the teacher-parent relationship to a point where I dread seeing these parents. 

Another parent, "Ms Evans" has a lovely boy, Max, who is talented in art, but he struggles academically. His mother is convinced he's a misunderstood genius, particularly in science. After he scored poorly on a science project, she accused me of not appreciating his "innovative thinking." She demanded he be given another chance, convinced that my marking was biased. I tried to explain that Max hadn't met the basic requirements of the project, but his mum refused to accept this. 

I am always walking on eggshells, trying to teach and guide these young minds while being second-guessed by their parents.

I remember another case, where "Ms Peters" believed her son, Rex, should be in advanced reading classes. Rex's reading skills are below average for his age. When I suggested extra help to improve his reading, Ms Peters was furious. "How dare you underestimate him!” she yelled. "He needs to be challenged, not held back." Despite the clear evidence of Rex’s struggles, she insisted he be placed in the advanced class, where he continued to fall behind, becoming more frustrated and discouraged. I had to move him back to another class within two days as he was struggling so much in the advanced class, he was disrupting the other kids.


Why can't the parents just trust us? Parents like these create an environment of unrealistic expectations and entitlement. They simply refuse to see their kids as they really are and want to impose their own aspirations onto them. This not only affects their children's academic performance but also their emotional well-being.

I'm often told by parents, when their child gets a low mark in a subject, that I am "picking on her because she's smarter than the other kids." This is just ridiculous! Kids need to learn from their mistakes, understand their limitations, and develop resilience. Shielding them from failure or conflict does nothing for them in the long run. 

To all the parents out there: your involvement in your child's education is crucial, but it needs to be balanced. Trust the teachers who are dedicated to helping your child grow. Allow your children to face challenges and learn from them. Encourage their strengths, but also acknowledge their weaknesses. No person can be good at everything. And not every kid is a genius. In fact, I'm yet to meet a true genius! 

 Feature Image: Canva.

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