BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Tuesday, 25 March 2008, 10:23 GMT
Teachers warn of spoilt children
child drawing
Little princes could grow up to be big bullies, the union leader said
Growing numbers of spoilt children are misbehaving in class because they are used to doing only what they want to, another teachers' leader has said.

"Little princes and princesses" are being brought up in a culture of instant gratification, according to NASUWT president Amanda Haehner.

But they were often "desperately unhappy" and wanted rules, she told a conference in Birmingham.

She said parents, the media and teachers should set all good examples.

Separate research for the other big classroom union, the National Union of Teachers (NUT) has suggested that a minority of children throw tantrums, swear and are physically aggressive.

NUT boss Steve Sinnott called on Saturday for more advice for parents who struggled to say "no" to their children.

At the NASUWT conference on Monday Ms Haehner said schools should not be expected to take sole responsibility for giving children "boundaries".

"The rise of 'the little prince' and, increasingly, his female sidekick is a cause for concern," delegates heard.

"The little prince never has to do anything he finds difficult or boring, he does not have to take any responsibility for his actions.

"Anything negative that happens is someone else's responsibility and if this right to a stress-free existence is questioned, a doting relative will appear immediately to sort everything out.

A materialistic society... makes the concept of deferred gratification inherent in education anathema to many
Amanda Haehner, president, NASUWT

"Or at least they will until the little prince stops being cute, turns into the household bully and the protector turns up at school, wringing their hands and begging for help."

Such youngsters often wanted someone to lay down some rules to "make them feel secure", Ms Haehner said.

"A materialistic society which so readily promotes a culture of immediacy through new media and technology makes the concept of deferred gratification inherent in education anathema to many."

Good teaching was essential, she said, but learners have responsibilities too.

Teachers were being ground down by "low-level bad behaviour" such as shouting out in class, refusal to follow basic classroom rules and "temper tantrums that would shame a toddler".

Spoilt children 'disrupt schools'
22 Mar 08 |  Education
'Toxic cycle' of family breakdown
18 Mar 08 |  Education
'Tweenagers' need more support
19 Nov 07 |  Education

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific