24 Modern Parenting Trends That Are Doing More Harm Than Good, According To Teachers

24 Modern Parenting Trends That Are Doing More Harm Than Good, According To Teachers

As millennials become parents, parenting trends have naturally shifted, and there's been nooo shortage of opinions.

A collage of article headlines discussing various parenting topics, including "gentle parenting," Montessori parenting, and critiques on modern parenting styles
The New Yorker / BuzzFeed / The Atlantic / The Cut / Slate

Naturally, critics, previous generations, and other parents have weighed in on the topic, but I thought I'd turn the attention over to those who sometimes face the results of today's controversial parenting methods—teachers.

So, I asked teachers of the BuzzFeed Community to share with me the modern parenting methods they disagree with that affect the classroom. Here's everything they had to say:

1."First, we had helicopter parents, but now they are lawn mower parents. Their goal is to remove any and all obstacles in the way of their child's happiness and success. They try to 'mow down' anyone who poses a threat to their children not being first. We had to keep all the ballots for class officers, homecoming court, etc., in case parents wanted to recount them (like teachers care who the kids elect)."

Person in a plaid shirt mowing a green lawn with a red lawnmower, with trees and a house in the background

"One former student almost got kicked out of college because his parents kept calling the school and professors (at home) to argue about grades and dorm assignments ad nauseum."


Artmarie / Getty Images/iStockphoto

2."I teach kindergarten in a western state, and we have seen huge changes. We blamed them first on the pandemic, but now my colleagues and I are beginning to think it's a cultural shift in parenting. We spend huge percentages of our time managing these problems instead of supporting academics, but there is no change without parental support. The three largest are..."

Mother and child engaging in a tense discussion, with the child looking upset and the mother gesturing with frustration at a kitchen table with a laptop and notebooks

3."I've been teaching in elementary schools for 20 years. Parents today shield their children from any kind of disappointment. Managing disappointment and other difficult emotions is an important life skill. But some parents can't handle seeing their child sad."

"So they sabotage their child's healthy development by making sure they don't experience disappointment or unhappiness whenever possible. This backfires when the inevitable happens, and something doesn't go their child's way."


4."Parents getting defensive every time you mention their kid needs extra help at home with something. I am not your enemy! We are on the same team. I am trying to help your child to be a successful person."

A man and a woman sit on a couch, speaking with a professional across a table with a laptop. The woman appears distressed

5."Two words. LEARNED. HELPLESS. If your child needs a pencil to complete their homework but is sitting there doing nothing, TELL THEM to GET a pencil. The number of times I've pulled a kid's side to ask why they're not attempting their work, and I get a variation of, 'I don't have a pencil,' or, 'I didn't know what to do' is alarming."


Similarly, "Parents do everything for their kids, from tying their shoes to getting them snacks to cleaning up after them, and more. Kids need to learn (and I have found that they want to learn) how to be more self-sufficient."


6."I've been a university teacher for close to 20 years. The current students have not been taught by their parents to take any responsibility for their actions. They make poor decisions and then expect everyone else to get them on track (i.e., missing class for a trip or a night out and doing nothing to turn in their work that is due). They take it personally when there are consequences instead of understanding that it's objective that if they don't do work, they will get a zero."

Woman sitting at a desk, looking confused and frustrated at her laptop with hands raised in questioning gesture

(Cont'd) "Skill levels are lower than they used to be. High school teachers are exhausted by being blamed and just pass kids not to have to deal with parents. Kids need to be taught to take responsibility and be held accountable. It doesn't mean they are bad if they make mistakes; it just means they must learn and grow. Parents are not teaching this."


7."I've been teaching in the NYC public schools for 27 years. This year, parents are sending their 4th graders to school with cans of Arizona iced tea and Takis for breakfast."

Two photos: One shows the nutrition facts on Arizona Green Tea cans, the other shows a hand holding a bag of Takis Fuego chips

8."I'm a middle school teacher, 20 years in. When my mom would get a call from the school, she'd answer it with, 'What did my child do?' Now, when you call a parent, it's 'What did you do to my child?' The automatic assumption is that the child is telling the truth and the teacher is lying or making something up, that the teacher has something against the child or is just mean or lazy."

"It's demoralizing to us, completely undermines our relationship with the kid, and puts all the control in the hands of the child, not the teacher or the parent. Kids' brains haven't developed enough to make those choices and decisions; that's why we have school. Teachers are here to help kids learn from mistakes, and parents refuse to acknowledge that kids are making them."


9."I teach 6th grade at an elementary school. For me, it would have to be how much parents let their children be on social media. It is absolutely wild. We had an assembly once where the speaker asked students how often they are on their phones at night. The majority said over 10+ hours. I ask all my students what they do when they go home, and 80% say they go on their phones. It's mostly TikTok."

A person holding a smartphone, opening the TikTok app

10."I called home for a failing student and the parent asked me what I would do. I told the parent I would take the kid's phone away until their grades increased. The parent said, 'Oh no, I'd never do that. How would I text them at school?' Says about all you need to say."


"High school teacher, teaching 18 years. People complain about kids texting their parents, but I want the parents to respect their kids' learning time and stop texting them throughout the school day. Mom, news of your promotion can be celebrated when the kids get home!!!"


11."The 'gentle parenting' trend. Really, the parents aren't 'gentle parenting,' but 'absent parenting,' and their kid's needs aren't met. No discipline or accountability. No, thank you."


"First grade (soon to be ex) teacher: this will probably be really common, but gentle parenting and allowing everything to be a negotiation. Sometimes you have to do sh*t you don't want to do because it's for the good of society and helps your community. I'm not saying kids shouldn't be validated, and their voices aren't important, but sometimes we just have to go! I have a curriculum to follow and learning targets to hit. Social and emotional learning is so important, and seeing your community's needs before your wants is an undervalued skill."


12."Bargaining. So many children automatically go for an 'I'll stop this if you do this for me' approach because that's how they are raised. The authority as the teacher is called into question as children will display inappropriate behaviors in the classroom and will only stop IF you can provide them some sort of 'want.'"

<div><p>"If the kids are taking a test and one is constantly talking and disrupting, the whole 'I am the teacher of this room, and you will complete this test in an appropriate fashion' no longer works. What works is 'I'll let you eat lunch with me if you can be super, duper quiet for 15 minutes. How does that sound?' It doesn't sound all that bad, but when you have an entire classroom full of this entitled behavior, where a student both expects and demands compromise to gratify them, it leads to a lot of stress."</p><p>—Anonymous</p></div><span> G. Baden / Getty Images</span>

13."The recent parenting trend of avoiding the word 'no' is ridiculous. Kids need to learn to hear and use 'no' in various contexts (and be able to understand the difference). For example, many parenting accounts say to save 'no' for emergencies like running into traffic. Yes, that is obviously a time you need kids to listen immediately, but tone and context are already enough for them to understand that it is different than saying no in other situations."

"When they get to school, we want students to say no as a boundary to their peers, not only in an emergency. They need to be able to respond to a no from a student or teacher without it being an emergency. Practicing with normal language at home is the only way for them to learn that skill. 'No' isn't a bad thing!"


14."I am a substitute teacher who is booked every day. I teach K- 5 and see every grade level. I cannot understand the complete lack of basic manners and respect I see in classrooms. It is easily two-thirds of each class I'm in where students have ZERO manners or respect, not just for the teacher but for other students. They think it's all about them, that they're the only one in class, the most important person on planet Earth."

"It's disgusting and sad, especially for the small number of kids who DO have manners. And it's a complete reflection of parenting. Kids are sponges; they mimic exactly what they see, hear, and feel from the people they live with. Parents need to do better for the future of their children."


15."Not punishing or correcting children when they misbehave. I've got so many friends who have a hands-off approach to correcting their children, and it makes my skin crawl. Instead of the children learning to behave in civilized society, the parents let every moment and choice be dictated by what their child wants. Parents are meant to be in charge for a reason; they have the logical reasoning skills children are still developing."

Kim Kardashian and Kris Jenner with children North, Saint, Chicago West, and Dream Kardashian sit on a talk show couch. Ellen DeGeneres smiles from her chair


Warner Bros. Television / Via youtube.com

16."I own two large preschools, so I see A LOT. Most recently, one student hit his friends, then his teacher, and then destroyed the director's office after not getting to go outside when he wanted to. When asked to pick him up when we could not calm him down, the parent walked into the destroyed office and said... 'Do you need a hug?' Hugged him and bought him a new book at the book fair on the way out."

"Speechless. This is the very definition of rewarding bad behavior. If you really want to show your child that you love them, teach them to be people who can function in the world. There is no better gift you can give."


17."Not setting boundaries and allowing your child to walk all over you. Setting boundaries for your child, even at 15 months old, along with the simple teaching of social skills, is essential to social-emotional development, understanding empathy, and other skills. It's also important to teach your child how to handle emotional regulation when they don't get their way."

"It's ok to allow your child to have a tantrum. Bribing your child during toddlerhood will negatively affect self-regulation and social development, as they will expect everyone to give in to them all the time."


18."[The idea] that keeping your kids 'busy' prevents them from doing anything bad or keeps them out of trouble. I see these poor kids bogged down by so many activities, and very few are willing participants. I feel like their childhood is being hijacked. And inevitably I see rebellion go from zero to sixty, and most get burned out by high school, forget college. Let them be bored! Or still! Or just hang out with their friends doing NOTHING."

A young girl with red hair sits at a wooden table, arms crossed, looking at a violin and sheet music on the table in front of her

19."I've noticed a huge uptick in the lack of focus, ability to concentrate and think critically. My students Google EVERYTHING, even opinion questions. If they are provided with a passage and subsequent comprehension questions, I frequently have to redirect them back to the text and tell them copying and pasting from Google is not allowed. I try to mitigate this by giving paper copies, which is always met with groans. And no one ever has a writing utensil, even if I just gave them one last period."

"There's a lack of accountability from both students AND their parents. Students are consistently unprepared for class, and I frequently have to use internet monitoring software to ensure they stay on the assignment and not just ignore the work and play games. Parents frequently don't respond to emails, pick up or return calls, or follow up with behavior issues at home; if I give a student a detention, the parent says no because they don't want to pick their kid up."


20."I've been a teacher and principal for 31 years. Lack of sleep is one of the biggest changes I've noticed. Using devices, going to bed with devices, and late-night video gaming contribute to children being exhausted. Parents establishing age-appropriate, consistent bedtimes (without exposure to a device at least an hour before bedtime) is a solution. I teach 5th grade, and there wasn't one day this year when I didn't have at least one student sound asleep in class."

Person lying in bed using a smartphone, with patterned bedding around them


Elva Etienne / Getty Images

21."4th grade teacher here. One modern parenting trend I've noticed but 100% disagree with is how some parents handle their children's school responsibilities. Specifically, I see parents helping their children avoid school simply because they did not complete assignments or projects. This isn't even due to a family emergency."

"The number of emails and phone calls I get from parents asking their child to be excused from turning in work is astounding. When I respond that they may not be excused, the parent often just allows the child to miss school entirely. This approach undermines the importance of responsibility and accountability in education."


22."I've been teaching for 10 years. What gets me has been the escalation of parents pulling their kids out of school for extra holidays, early pick-ups, and to get them out of things they don't want to do. Anytime a kid says 'it's not fun' or 'it's hard,' they get pulled out. They'll drive hours to rent a hotel room near where camp is happening so they can pick their kid up... The kids never learn resilience or to confront challenge, or get an opportunity to grow; they are being infantilized and leave school with little ability to do anything for themselves (which schools get blamed for…)."

An adult and a child, wearing a backpack, walk hand in hand on an outdoor path surrounded by trees

23."This is my 7th year teaching at a homeschool parent partnership program. I am starting to see more and more new families wanting to enroll their kids yet have no idea what true homeschooling requires... [A lot of people are] 'unschooling' but phrasing it as 'homeschooling.' There is a difference between focusing and infusing students' specific interests related to certain content and just straightup saying playing Monopoly is the equivalent of doing math."

"Homeschooling, co-op farm life (whatever you want to call it) has become a fantasy on social media, yet parents don't stop to think about how much work and dedication it actually takes. Your child's education is not an 'aesthetic.'"


24."I've been a middle school teacher for over 25 years, and parents don't act like parents anymore. They use phones and tablets to raise their kids and try to be 'friends' with them instead of being parents. They don't teach their kids basic manners, social skills, or that actions have consequences. Nothing is ever the kid's fault. These kids are so apathetic, unmotivated, and entitled. It's wild."

Four children sit closely together on a couch, each engrossed in their own electronic device. They are casually dressed and focused on screens

If you work with kids, or simply have an opinion, what's a parenting method you disagree with? What do you agree with instead? Tell us in the comments or by using this anonymous Google form.

Note: Some responses have been edited for length and/or clarity.