SmileTutor Blog General Others Comparing the Roles of Teachers and Parents in Disciplining a Child

Comparing the Roles of Teachers and Parents in Disciplining a Child

We all know that raising a child is no easy feat as there are many aspects that are crucial in their development — their academics, interpersonal skills, behaviour, etc. 

Teachers and parents work closely together as a child can go to school as early as 2 months old for infant care.

Parents rely on teachers to take care of and educate their children when they’re away, while teachers need parents to complement their efforts by taking charge of the child’s behaviour and discipline.

However, the line of boundary then gets blurred. As a tutor or parent, you may be wondering — should the responsibility in disciplining a child lies more on you?

Let’s first look at the issues at hand.

Teachers work long hours

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Just as students have long hours in school, teachers do too. A teacher is at school from about 7 A.M to about 6 P.M daily, depending on the meetings and consultations that they have after their lessons. Compared to a usual nine-to-five job, these are very long hours. 

Furthermore, their work does not stop at school. Outside of their working hours, they also have to mark their students’ work, prepare lesson plans and materials, do up report cards, assess students’ conduct, etc. A teacher’s time and energy are spread thin in their line of work.

If not more taxing, teaching is a profession just like any other. Their work-life balance and time off of work are extremely important for them just like for everyone else. 

Responsibilities and expectations pinned on teachers

A teacher’s main responsibility is to impart knowledge to their students. However, the role of a teacher has evolved over the years.

In the past, teachers would do whatever it takes to get their students to pay attention and do their work, even if it means corporal punishment.

However, teachers today have to think of tactical methods to discipline their students while giving consideration to the emotional and psychological growth of the students. They are even required to teach Character & Citizenship Education (CCE) lessons as part of the school curriculum.

Many teachers are very caring and would go out of their way to show concern for the child beyond their academic performance, such as their behaviour, mental and physical health, etc.

Limitations of teachers

As much as teachers are really stretched out, there are still aspects that are not within their control.

A teacher can put in a lot of effort into planning their lessons, but their students can be reluctant to do their homework, not pay attention in class, or forget to bring their required materials. This is especially so for younger students who are more hyperactive or need more guidance.

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These are matters related to the discipline of the student that a teacher will need, in order to carry out their job to educate them.

However, a teacher is not able to micro-manage the discipline of every single student. They might have many other students to take care of, sometimes even multiple classes of students.

A teacher’s responsibility is to teach, but how do they also ensure that the child learns?

In order for the child to flourish, the responsibility of disciplining them partially lies on their parents as well. However, it is of course easier said than done.

Here’s why:

Parenthood is getting increasingly difficult

While teachers have stressful and demanding jobs, parents are also dealing with the stresses of their own jobs. 

It is now common for both parents to work round the clock to provide for their children amidst the high cost of living in Singapore.

Singapore is known to be one of the most overworked cities in the world with a poor work-life balance. It is no surprise that parents struggle to spend time with their children to teach, guide, and ensure that they are disciplined and do their homework.

Parents have more expectations

Because they have no time to be there with their children physically, parents fork out their hard-earned money to send their children to school, playgroups, enrichment classes, tuitions, etc., so that their children can spend their time meaningfully improving themselves.

Some of these can cost parents an arm and a leg because they want the best for their child, and that is why parents often pin high expectations for the teachers to take good care of their children and educate them efficiently.

However, there is a need for parents to reconsider the type of expectations that they have and whether they are reasonable expectations for the teachers.

Working hand-in-hand

We can see that both parents and teachers have it hard and disciplining a child would be more effective as a combined effort.

It is important for parents to build a solid foundation for the child’s development so that teachers can leverage it to fuel the child’s learning. Parents can communicate with their child’s teacher to understand how their child is doing in school so that they can better help their child at home.

Teachers can be responsible for ensuring that students do not put on bad behaviour in school. But outside of school, the child has to have their own discipline to complete their assigned work, study hard and have respect for their teachers and peers. These have to be taught and controlled by their parents.


Parents are struggling to devote time and attention to their children, while teachers nowadays are tied with a lot of pressure to take on multiple roles.

It is difficult for both ends, hence both need to try to communicate and work together to allow the child to thrive academically through discipline.

Teachers can take responsibility for imparting their knowledge to the students and ensuring their safety in school, while parents can take responsibility for nurturing the child in terms of their morals.

What do you think about the teachers’ and parents’ responsibility in the discipline of a child? Let us know in the comments below!

Rum Tan

Rum Tan is the founder of SmileTutor and he believes that every child deserves a smile. Motivated by this belief and passion, he works hard day & night with his team to maintain the most trustworthy source of home tutors in Singapore. In his free time, he writes articles hoping to educate, enlighten, and empower parents, students, and tutors. You may try out his free home tutoring services via or by calling 6266 4475 directly today.