August 14, 2022

Kelly Treleaven: The Jackhammer Parents Are Here and They’re Destroying School

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There were helicopter parents and lawnmower parents, but now, at We Are Teachers, Kelly Treleaven explains jackhammer parents, and how they are destroying school. She tells of how she first came to realize what she was dealing with when she returned from maternity leave.

Similar to the helicopter and lawnmower parents before them, jackhammer parents scrutinize both their children’s opportunities and challenges, intervening in schooling, grades, and friendships. But born during the added pressures of a pandemic and divisive political climate, jackhammer parents take their intensive parenting to new heights. Dialogue is fruitless. Compromise is a non-option. They’re not just interested in getting their way; they need anyone who gets in their way obliterated.

The jackhammer parent has a few defining characteristics:

1. They are relentless.

Unlike the jackhammer parents’ patient and sensible parent counterparts, there is no reasoning with a JP. Once a jackhammer parent has latched on to a particular issue (e.g., Noah should be in the advanced math class, or Maya’s teacher has it out for her), there is no dialogue unless that dialogue involves them getting their way. (By the way, some issues deserve our relentless attention, like things that threaten the health and safety of our kids.)

2. They are loud.

Somehow, the jackhammer parent has both the time and energy to communicate around the clock. Near-daily emails—usually to the principal and school board members before the teacher. Phone calls. In-person meetings. Hogging the microphone at school board meetings. Trashing teachers and schools on social media. Ironically, many jackhammer parents are proud of this loudness, touting their refusal to meet with or listen to experts as “advocacy.”

There are two more traits she addresses. Read the full piece here. 


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