Portuguese School Wants Parents to Step up and Take Responsibility for Their Child’s Behavior

Once again, the age-old issue of where responsibilities of the school begins and ends has been raised. The significance of this question might be to know who to blame or praise for the child’s behavior — the school or the parents. Well, let’s review…


The distinct lack of proper ‘manners’ in the society today 

Not just manners, but common courtesy. People walk around like they have zero sense of humanity. People won’t even slow down their cars for an elderly person to cross the road unless they are directed by the traffic official. 


Did these people get their driver’s license and suddenly turn into the Grinch? No, they’ve always been that way. It probably started from when they were kids and they were not given the appropriate training they required to grow up as well-adjusted members of society. 


The lack of modern manners is the “result of TV, video games, and two parents working,” said Melissa Leonard, mum and professional etiquette experts. 

While most parents would disagree with her to save their skin, her opinion stands to reason. They tend to “tolerate” their kids’ foul behavior at home just so they can avoid them throwing a tantrum. Then, they drop them off at school and leave them as the ‘teachers’ problems.’


The teachers, however, have their primary responsibilities of teaching the children academic knowledge, which is what they focus on. 


This results in children who are deficient in simple manners and thus, grow up unable to function adequately in the grown-up world. 

Eighty percent of preschool teachers believe parents are placing school education and academics over social development in their kids. 


According to Sheri Glucoft Wong, family therapist and parent educator, “The survey demonstrates that parents can have a more important influence on their young children’s eventual school success by supporting basic social and character development, and by providing them with opportunities to play and learn in cooperation with others.” 

Kids learn by examples

Even in school, children are taught arithmetic and a couple of examples are solved in class before the kids are given homework. So, why should responsibility be any different?


 Children spend only a limited amount of time with their teachers in schools. The bulk of their time is spent at home with their parents. That means they learn more from their parents. 


If a child swears, chances are, they learned it from their parents, perhaps during a bout of road rage. However, most parents want their kids to be responsible but don’t want to teach them. 


Every parent has to play the nurturing role and the executive role. The former has to do with just loving the children and treating them so, while the latter involves playing the authoritarian role and TEACHING them how to behave. Raising your kids with a loving but firm hand ensures that they grow up to be well-behaved adults. 

Reasons you should be more involved in your child’s education 

While school academics are part of the education in question here, it goes beyond that. Parents at the first teachers a child encounters. Imagine how your child will benefit if you supplemented the teacher’s education with yours. 

Children with parents who are actively involved in their education tend to get better grades in school. They also have good behavior. [1]

What should parents teach their children? 

“Manners and responsibilities” have been thrown around a few times here. But what exactly are parents expected to teach their kids? 

1.The golden words 

‘Please, sorry, and thank you’ are the golden words you should teach your child to always use. Nothing says ‘street urchin’ more than when a child grabs someone else’s property without so much as a ‘please, may I?’ or when they receive something and lack the decency to say ‘thank you.’

2. Greeting

Children should be able to respectfully greet adults, not just adults but even their peers. Being able to do it properly should be listed as a ‘life skill.’ 

3. Speaking to people

Teach your child to speak to people with respect. Being rude is not an option. 

4. Patience 

When getting on the bus, at the cafeteria line, or wherever they are, teach them to exercise patience and not complain or attempt to ‘cut the line.’ In the same vein, you should teach them not to interrupt conversations between other people unless it is necessary. [2] 

There are numerous other things parents should teach their kids, but these are just the basics. At least, start with them and work your way up to the ‘big’ stuff.

Just as children learn good behaviors from their parents, they also learn their aggressive behaviors from them

This is illustrated by the “Bobo doll” research where children watched as adults played with rubber toys. The research led by Albert Bandura showed that the children will play with their toys in a manner similar to how they witnessed the adults play with theirs. Thus, they would either play with it peacefully or aggressively. 

Therefore, according to Bandura’s Social Learning Theory, children are highly impressionable and learn how to behave from others in their environment. [3]

Administrators of different schools have different views on the subject of schools raising kids

With the increase in the number of 7 to 13-year-olds in boarding schools by almost 6%, proprietor of Kingsley School, Bideford, Devon, Andy Waters has acknowledged the fact that parents “expect schools to act as quote moral arbiters for children’s upbringing.” 

He, however, advises other school administrators not to criticize these parents. “If our role is not to support the children from such families, then what is it?” he said. [4]

However, a school in Portugal has an entirely different view. 

This Portuguese school chose to ignore subtlety and hit the nail on the head 

They too have noticed the lack of good manners on the part of youngsters, the lackadaisical attitudes their parents have towards it, and their penchant to blame the schools for their child’s bad character. The school addressed the matter via a written message or poster which they posted on their hallways. 

The message contained the key points which the school believes parents should handle at home. 

It read,

Dear parents’

We would like to remind you that magic words such as hello, please, you’re welcome, I’m sorry, and thank you, all begin to be learned at home

It’s also at home that children learn to be honest, to be on time, diligent, show friends their sympathy, as well as show the utmost respect for their elders and all teachers.

Home is where they learn to be clean, not talk with their mouths full, and how/where to properly dispose of garbage.

Home is also where they learn to be organized, to take good care of their belongings, and that it’s not ok to touch others.

Here at school, on the other hand, we teach language, math, history, geography, physics, sciences, and physical education. We only reinforce the education that children receive at home from their parents.”

The message which was shared on Facebook has gone viral with most people supporting it. [5]

All in all, each institution, school and home, have a huge part to play in raising a child, after all, ‘it takes a village.’ Regardless, each unit should do their separate parts to the best of their abilities. 

That way, society will be filled with well-behaved children who will go up to be well-behaved adults.


  1. Five reasons for Parents to get Involved in their Child’s Education. Education.gov. Editor. Accessed February 12, 2020.
  2. 25 Manners Kids Should Know. Parents. David Lowry, Ph.D.. Accessed February 12, 2020.
  3. Children Learn Aggression from Parents.” Psychology Today. Nathan A. Heflick.November 7, 2011.
  4. Moral Education of the Child Whose Responsibility?Research Gate. Samuel Ekundayo Oladipo. Accessed February 12, 2020.
  5. School wants parents to take responsibility – now their poster is spreading like wildfire online. Online eNewz. Admin. Accessed February 12, 2020.
Stacy Robertson
Writer and researcher
Stacy Robertson is a writer and researcher with a B.A and an M.A in English Studies, and a strong will to literally touch all areas of life. Stacy has authored several articles on a range of different.