I agree that all kids are brats.
I completely disagree with that statement. The child is molded more by his environment and by the expectations of those adults with whom he spends his first formative years than he is from any other influential aspect in his life. Children repeat what they see and hear..they are very good at learning those lessons taught by their parents, whether the lessons are good or bad.
lefty is on the right track.
If a parent allows himself to be a doormat, that's what his kids will make of him. If a parent wants to be a dictator, that's what his kids will see him as being and they will rebel eventually, in one form or another. If a parent wants to be an active parent, sitting boundaries and expecting his child to be free within those boundaries,
then that's what the child will do. Sitting a good example requires committment, effort, and consistency. Perhaps for most parents, it's the consistency that is the most difficult to maintain.
But, if a parent doesn't set a good example for his or her child, that parent has nobody but himself or herself to blame when the kid turns out bad.
My own stepson could've followed the example of his mother...lazing about, making nothing of herself, sitting no expectations for him. When he was in the home his father and I made after our marriage, things were opposite. We set boundaries for him. We expected him to maintain good grades, to obey his teachers, to practice good table manners, to tell the truth, and to believe in himself. He's 24 now, in the Coast Guard, and intends to make it his career. He told me on the day of his graduation from Coast Guard basic training that if it hadn't been for the expectations his dad and I had set for him, he would never have gotten away from his mother and her way of life.
Sadie, one of the best things I ever did for myself and for my students was to put into practice the teaching methods of Dr. Harry Wong, one of the foremost educators of our time. They might help you have a better year. If you've not read his book The First Days of School
or seen his videos that are available for inservice training, please do so asap.
http://www.lecturemanagement.com/speake ... _harry.htm
There might be a set of the videos at your central office or wherever professional materials are kept. Check with the person who is in charge of professional development within your school system. Those videos are worth their price, and so is the book. Dr. Wong's book is also available from online bookstores, new and used. I gave my daughter a copy when she began teaching high school English. Now, four years into her career, she tells me she refers to it almost everyday.