'Don't baby them.' A teacher's stern warning to parents about 'coddling' behaviour.

OK, I confess. I still carry my kids’ schoolbags for them.

Every morning we somehow end up running slightly late, so after I’ve parked the car near the school, I grab their bags, tell them, “Run!” and we all race towards the school gates so we can get there just as the bell rings.

It’s not that I think my kids are incapable of carrying their bags. It’s just that I don’t want to give them any excuse to move slowly. (I know, I know. Make their lunches the night before, blah blah blah.)

Anyhow, I started to question myself when I saw that a Year 3/4 teacher was bagging out parents like me online.

The teacher, posting on the website Mumsnet, took a swipe at parents who carried their children’s bags for them, handed in notes and money, put their reading diaries and spelling books in the right places, and more.

“For goodness sake, MAKE YOUR CHILD LOOK AFTER THEIR STUFF!” the teacher wrote. “Seven- to nine-year-olds can carry bags and remember books. Don’t baby them. Even three-year-olds can carry their bags. Don’t be that parent who mollycoddles their children.”

There are two types of mums when it comes to the school list. Which one are you? Post continues after video…

Plenty of parents, who clearly don’t mollycoddle their children, agreed.


“A hundred years ago, these kids would have been in the mill/down the pit/doing housework whilst looking after 17 siblings,” one person pointed out. “Now, I’m not saying that is a good thing, but they had the capacity to actually do things for themselves! I think they can carry their own bags.”

Others explained how they’d taught their children to be independent.

“When mine forgot their coat they were sent in the next day without it, even in the snow,” a mother wrote. “They would remember it then.”

But there were also parents who felt that children that age still did need help.

“I don’t want my money going missing so would probably check they hand money in, and I carry his bag because he moves quicker when I do,” said one. “I am also intrigued as to why it bothers you so much.”

“My son is seven and quite independent,” another added. “However, he struggles opening bananas and doing up school shirt buttons. I’d be very disappointed if his teacher was moaning about helping her pupils now and then with things.”

Then there were the out-and-proud mollycoddlers.

“Just because they can doesn’t mean they should,” one mother pointed out. “I can make my own cup of tea but it’s lovely when someone offers to make one for me. My child can carry her book bag but it’s nice for me to carry it for her. In terms of teaching life lessons, I’m going to stick with, ‘It’s nice to be kind to others.’”

I have to agree. If a parent is carrying nothing and a child has one or more bags, surely that parent shouldn’t be criticised for helping out. Seven-year-old kids have a lot of school ahead of them – years and years where they’ll be lugging around their own stuff without any help.

Do we really need to bag out parents for being kind to their young kids?

Do you carry your children’s bags? Why or why not? Let us know in the comments. 

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