'Defeated' teacher's open letter to parents about disciplining their children

An “exhausted” school teacher has penned an emotional open letter to parents about their “bizarrely lenient” approach to discipline – and how it is creating a generation of spoilt, self-entitled children.

In a lengthy message posted to her Facebook account on May 26, Erin Axson, a teacher at Orangeburg Preparatory Schools in South Carolina, made a heartfelt plea to parents to instil some “boundaries” for their children.

In the post, which has since gone viral on social media, Ms Axson argues that too many good teachers are leaving the education system because they are being worn down by pampered children lacking in empathy or any sense of responsibility.

Erin Axson, right, is a married teacher with three children living in South Carolina, US. Source: Facebook/Erin Axson

“I stared at myself in the mirror one morning, wondering if I should look and feel THIS exhausted,” the teacher wrote.

“I am a mother of three, we are a farming family, and I am a middle school teacher. Most would say that right there is a sure-fire recipe for exhaustion.

“But this goes deeper than simply being tired. This school year has left me feeling depleted, defeated, and unsure of my place in my little corner of the world.”

Part of the teacher’s Facebook post. Source: Facebook/Erin Axson

Ms Axson said she spoke to other teachers who were feeling similarly exhausted and thinking about quitting their jobs, and it left her feeling “fear for our society’s future”.

“Lately, it seems that many parents have adopted a bizarrely lenient attitude towards disciplining their children as well as bending over backwards to accommodate their children’s every demand,” she said.

“It’s unclear what’s causing these parents to believe that children should be subject to no limits, no discipline, and no stringent requirements at school.

“Whatever the cause, these parents are, in fact, doing a terrible disservice to today’s young people and to society as a whole.”

The post has gone viral on social media. Source: Facebook/Erin Axson

She goes on to say that modern parenting is creating a generation of children who do not understand the meaning of “empathy, responsibility, hard work and self-discipline”, before making a few suggestions about how parents can set boundaries for their children without feeling that it is bad parenting or unloving to do so.

She cites “helicopter parenting, excuse-making, spoiling, and over-defensiveness” as major factors in causing behavioural problems in children.

“Your child’s bad choice isn’t a direct reflection on you as a person,” she wrote.

“The way you choose to handle it – IS.

“For the love of Pete, please quit with all the excuses. If you really want to help your children be successful, stop making excuses for them.

“We don’t have it out for your child. We don’t hate your kid … We want what you want – for them to rise to the occasion and be the best version of themselves they can be.”

Ms Axson said teachers were daily walking “on a sea of eggshells … in a watered down education system where teachers lack the courage to correct or redirect a child without fear of being summoned to the office to explain ourselves”.

“Administration is overwhelmed trying to please parents … It’s a cycle that, if not broken, will have truly devastating effects.”

The post has more than 2600 shares and nearly 800 comments, most of which are in agreement with Ms Axson’s observations.

BRAVO I AGREE WHOLE HEARTILY WITH THIS TEACHER!” one person wrote.

“OMG! You are like my teachers in the 60s….. Loving and caring,” wrote another.  

A fellow teacher said they were tired of being sworn at and being interrupted.

Not everyone was as enthusiastic, however.

OMG Another teacher thinking she understands parenting because she works with kids,” one observer wrote

“Stop! You probably feel comfortable diagnosing kids with all kinds of stuff.”