Children are suffering because ‘hollowed out’ and fragmented families are failing to properly teach them about right and wrong, Ofsted’s chief inspector has warned.
Society is “pussyfooting around” and “making excuses” for poor parenting, Sir Michael Wilshaw added.
He said kids “lack more than money” – they are being afflicted by a lack of discipline and parents who aren’t taking responsibility for teaching them well.
Sir Michael commented: “Some people will tell you that social breakdown is the result of material poverty – it’s more than this”.
He said: “These children lack more than money: They lack parents who take responsibility for seeing them raised well. It is this poverty of accountability which costs them.
“These children suffer because they are not given clear rules or boundaries, have few secure or safe attachments at home, and little understanding of the difference between right and wrong behaviour.
“If we believe that the family is the great educator – and I certainly do believe that – and the community the great support system, then we as a society should worry deeply about the hollowing out and fragmentation of both.”
Sir Michael made the comments as Ofsted launched its annual report on social care across England.
In 2011 a leading psychologist warned that parents are facing increasing violence and abuse from their children who do not get their own way.
The “little emperors” of this “spoilt generation” not only have violent outbursts at home but also at school, and even nursery.
Dr Aric Sigman, a fellow of the Royal Society of Medicine, said the age at which children were violent and disrespectful towards their teachers “is coming down to nursery level”.
He added: “They’re swearing and throwing chairs at their teachers at younger and younger ages. It isn’t surprising this is happening in a domestic setting.
“Parent abuse and parent battery appear to be on the rise and what seems to underlie this is to do with parenting, the lack of boundaries and the reversal of authority.”