If “slacker parenting” crosses the pond the way the Beatles did, stories will soon surface here in the U.S. of parents who are either too lazy or too busy to teach their kids to properly use the toilet — leaving the dirty work instead to already harried teachers.
But guess what? The teachers didn’t sign up for this.
At one institution in the United Kingdom, an alarming number of school-age young children are being potty trained on site because their parents are too lazy to train them at home, the Daily Mirror reports. Even with pull-ups and singing toilets to entertain children while they do their business, some parents apparently still can’t get the job done.
Instead of teaching the 1,2,3s as they’d like to, teachers there are concentrating on just number 1 and 2 — fulfilling a duty that a guardian or other family member should have properly performed before the children arrived. The problem is so bad, according to the Family Nursing and Home Care charity, which oversees the school on the Channel Island of Jersey, that teachers are wasting a “large amount” of time on instructions about basic bathroom etiquette.
The school is even bringing in a potty-training specialist to help parents potty train their kids. The school raised concerns after teachers discovered that as many as six pupils in each kindergarten class had the problem.
As school nurse Jo Davies told the Mirror: “When I came into the post it quickly became apparent that there are a lot of children going into school, not just nursery class but reception class, that have toilet problems.”
How does potty training somehow does not make it on the “must-do” list of parenting goals? Are today’s parents so clueless that they are posting selfies while their kindergartner runs circles around them sporting a Hello Kitty backpack and a full pull-up diaper?
A Reddit user in the U.K. who goes by the handle Skyeyesnine posted a graphic story on this topic about two months ago, saying, in part, that she knew someone whose “8-year-old son won’t [properly clean] himself. He sits on the toilet and screams until one of his parents comes into the bathroom and [helps] him. Needless to say, I advised [the friend] to just let the kid sit there and scream. Once he misses a meal or his favorite TV show … he’ll learn,” wrote this person.
Though every child is different, most children are ready to start learning potty training when they are between 22 and 30 months of age, notes WebMD, the health and medical website. “Children must also be able to climb, talk, remove clothing, and have mastered other basic motor skills before they can use the toilet by themselves,” the site says. “Most children are physically ready to toilet train before they are emotionally ready.”
Mary McLaughlin, a young Boston mom, said of the issue, “I’m still learning parenting, like all of us, but I have found the more I show my kids to do, the more they want to do. Continuing dependence on adults and adults doing everything for kids shows a child that the parents have no confidence in their skills.”
She continued, “Years ago kids by age 5 were sewing, whittling by using a knife. They have the brains and motor skills to do way more than many people think. Surely parents today can work on potty training and tying shoes at or by this age!”
One Mirror reader noted, “Every school should insist on this. Why on earth should teachers have to clean up after someone else’s child? What is the point of having children if you can’t be bothered to bring them up properly but just leave it to a complete stranger? I despair.”
“Children have the brains and motor skills to do way more than many people think,” said one mom.
Some parents, sadly, may be giving up on follow-through when it comes to this most crucial of skills, assuming teachers will pick up their slack. Or perhaps some moms and dads no longer have the grit to even make their kids use the toilet regularly and reliably.
In her tongue-in-cheek post entitled “7 Highly Effective Ways to Raise Lazy and Entitled Children,” blogger Jennifer Schmidt wrote on her blog, balancingbeautyandbedlam.com: “When they [the kids] still don’t follow through, raise the bribe to something more enticing. If that doesn’t happen, just do it yourself because it’s so much easier than training responsibility into their daily habits.”
She added, “When a child makes a commitment, allow them to quit before that commitment is fulfilled. If they don’t like it, it’s OK — let them dictate their future, even if there is no good reason for not completing what they started.”
Let’s flush out this problem right now, America, before things get out of hand. A nation of kindergartners in diapers will be a nation whose kids won’t be educated, properly socialized — or anything else.
Because you just can’t pay teachers enough to deal with that much — stuff.