Beware the ‘Ugly Parent’

The way you measure a society’s soul is by the way that it treats its children.
Nelson Mandela

Kidz Newz #167 – 16 March 2018

Welcome to Kidz Newz, especially all new subscribers. Kidz Newz is a regular newsletter with information and teaching tips for anyone involved with young children. You are receiving this because you have attended one of my workshops, purchased a book, or you have requested to be on the mailing list. Thank you. Please forward this to anyone you feel it may be of interest to. Feedback is welcome. Don’t forget to stay in touch on our Facebook Page and watch out for our exclusive fan page competitions.

Beware the ‘Ugly Parent’

We have all seen them, unfortunately. These are the misguided souls who think that by berating their children or other children on the sporting field, or even the umpires, that somehow that constitutes good parenting and support of their children. They need to be educated about good sportsmanship, but that’s another matter.

They don’t necessarily leave their behaviour on the sporting field either. In my ongoing research into Music and the Brain (in capitals because that’s the title of my research paper), I came across a great little book called The Little Book of Music for the Classroom by Nina Jackson, first published by Crown House Publishing Ltd UK in 2009 and republished in 2015 (you may recognize the name because these are my publishers). In the Foreword by Ian Gilbert, he tells an appalling story which I reproduce here, as a cautionary tale.

In a nutshell, a primary school teacher in the UK was implementing the sorts of things that Gilbert and Jackson talk about in terms of using music strategically in the classroom.

‘… not only did the quality and quantity of learning improve but also behaviour was much better. … One parent, one sole parent, one middle class, middle-England, Daily Mail reading narrow minded, bigoted, opinionated, … ignorant, close-minded, selfish, uninformed parent … was on the phone [ to the Head Teacher] complaining about the use of music in their child’s classroom and how it was getting in the way of their child’s learning. The teacher was called to see the Head where he explained the findings of his “musical experiment” and how the children loved having music in the classroom and learning and behaviour was improving across the board, including, ironically, for the child of the whinging parent.

Fortified by this the Head teacher explained to the parent what was going on and stood by his innovative teacher, allowing and encouraging the work to continue.
Then came the second phone call. Unhappy with the fact that their prejudices had been rejected in favour of the evidence, the parent had been on the phone to the Director of Children’s Services in the local authority. Now it was that Head teacher’s turn to be summoned.

And that was that.’ (Jackson, 2015: v-vi)

What would you do in this situation? I am still reeling from this story. I can understand the person in the higher authority deciding it was not worth causing a major incident but I am still appalled by the decision, nevertheless. Parents do have to be handled diplomatically and respectfully even when they persist with their astonishing ignorance and prejudice in the face of facts. I cannot imagine what the parent was objecting to. We could speculate forever and you know as much about the story as I do. So, what would you do in this situation? I welcome your comments.

Quote of the Week

Serenity Prayer – Lord grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

It’s easy to make a buck. It’s a lot tougher to make a difference. Tom Brokaw

Your life is either a warning or an example. Unknown.

You may have to fight a battle more than once to win it. Unknown

For every obstacle there is a solution – over, under, around or through. Dan Zadra

Management is doing things right. Leadership is doing the right thing. Unknown


Thank you for the kind words – we are having so much fun with your CD’s in the classroom. I do use a lot of Disc 1 already, but I love the relaxation music and they constantly ask for the Goblin Song. My ATP Prac student has enjoyed using your resources too. 

Rosie Baker , Classroom Teacher – Early Childhood
Edney Primary School

Most useful – Relaxation and stretching. [Gained] some more ideas to add to the music and movement collection. M. Cherry, kindy, St. Mark’s Anglican Community School

Most useful – use tapping sticks/scarves more often. It was useful and could be implemented by anyone! Anne Rose, Edgewater Kindy.

I love using Kidz Fiz Biz for Intro and Outro parts of my lower and middle primary lessons.
Warm regards,
Dorothy Helfgott, Music Specialist, Perth WA

Excellent way to incorporate other learning areas in music. Beautifully explained session into how music education develops fine-motor skills and how other learning areas can be incorporated. Also time management ideas in Early Childhood. Madeleine Wheeler, Ashdale Primary School – Pre-primary Music.

As a sports coach outside of work, I value the importance of FMS, co-ordination and body movement skills. Gemma Hadley, Floreat Park PS P-6.


The Parrot
The parrot was a present from a friend, fully grown, with a bad attitude and worse vocabulary. Every other word was an expletive, and those that weren’t were rude. The new owner tried hard to change the bird’s attitude and was constantly saying polite words, playing soft music, anything he could think of to try and set a good example. Nothing worked. He yelled at the bird and the bird yelled back. He shook the bird and the bird just got ruder.

Finally, in a moment of desperation, he put the parrot in the freezer. For a few moments he heard the bird squawk and kick and scream. Then suddenly there was quiet. Not a sound for half a minute. Frightened that he might have hurt the bird, he quickly opened the freezer door. The parrot calmly stepped out and said:

“I believe I may have offended you with my rude language and actions. I will endeavour at once to correct my behaviour. I really am truly sorry and beg your forgiveness…”

Astonished at the bird’s change in attitude, the owner was about to ask what had made such a dramatic change when the parrot continued…

“May I ask what the chicken did?”

[Now just don’t go putting your ugly parents in the freezer!]

About The Author

Marlene Rattigan B.A., Dip. Ed. (ECS), CELTA

Marlene Rattigan is an Early Childhood teacher, a teacher of English as a Second Language, and from 1987-2000 was a nationally accredited fitness leader. Her background is in music education. A keen interest in motor development in children led to the creation of Kidz-Fiz-Biz which she taught successfully for 13 years. Marlene also conducts workshops for children, teachers and parents at schools, in the community and at festivals. She has produced teaching manuals complete with audio CDs which are an extension of her ‘Kidz-Fiz-Biz’ program.

PO Box 6894, East Perth WA 6892 Australia
T: +61 8 9355 4890 M: +61 (0) 410 64 2781 E:

Enjoying Kidz Newz?

Perhaps a friend or colleague would enjoy it too! Add their contact address and click “Forward”. (Be sure to include this entire message, including the subscription details) By doing this you will help us grow.

Looking for lots of ideas? Visit the Kidz Newz archive where you will find back issues of Kidz Newz.

Like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, subscribe to our blog for more interesting information, articles and discussions or connect with Marlene on Linked In.


Until next time … continue being a legend in your classroom.

Marlene Rattigan, Editor
Kidz Newz

{tag_subscribe} if you would like to stop receiving these advices.

Item added to cart.
0 items - $0.00