Our bedtime rituals have become one of my favorite parts of the day. I get to have one on one time with each of my four children. We have three questions that give me insight about their day. “Tell me your favorite part of the day?” “What are you grateful for?” “What did you do good today in school (or on the field)?” I get to listen about what stuck out for them while at school. It allows me to hear what excites them or if they are having any problems. I love having these chats with them to see things from their perspective.
Checking Up Constantly On Our Kids
The other day my third grader handed me a paper about a school program he could use from home. I thought it was an app but it turns out it is a website for both he and I to see his reading grades. As soon as I read the paper, I threw it away. I get that parents want to be involved in their kids’ education but this is where I draw the line.
I don’t need to know what my kid got on a quiz before he tells me. If he tells me. Talking about his day is a big part of our after school conversation. But if I know what he’s going to tell me before he says anything than the magic of our communication is gone. I can’t ask any real probing questions because I already know the answers. On top of that, I want to see how he reacts to a grade he got in class and not how what my perception of it is. Who knows? He might have had a bad day and I don’t want to jump down his throat without having any context.
Then my daughter pulls out a piece of paper for me to sign. This was for a website where I could go see what her assignments are for the week. I rolled my eyes and reluctantly signed it. I looked her straight in the eye and said I’m never going to check this. Homework is your responsibility not mine. She completely agreed me and understood that the paper needed to be sign so her teachers knew I saw it.
I wanted to write a note on the form about how I am signing this but I will not be checking the site because she is the one doing the homework not me. And if she forgets, it is her problem.
Where Do You Draw The Line?
It’s sites like these that tell us daily grades or knowing what they got on a test before they do are doing more harm than good. Do kids forget to do their homework? Sure, but it’s not the end of the world. In fact, it teaches them responsibility to keep track of what they need to do. If I am always reminding them then what lessons are learned here. My eyes and ears don’t need to be on my kids’ school work all the time.
I’m all about helping my kids out to an extent. My kids have the drive to do well in school on their own merit. I understand that some kids have an IEP and need extra guidance. For most parents, it’s about realizing that we need to let our kids make mistakes, forget homework, get questions wrong and fail a bit.
Sure straight A’s might get them into an Ivy League school but what life lessons are they learning? Will they be able to take care of themselves as an adult if you are constantly spoon feeding them?
Preparing Them For Life Decisions
Your children should want to move out after high school because you have prepared them enough for life. They should be excited but scared to try things on their own, but now it’s become easy to move back when something goes off course. I know I could have moved back into my mom’s house if I wanted to because she loves me. But that wasn’t the point. I was an adult and I made mistakes. I wracked up huge debt, didn’t have a job in my field but was to make money to pay my bills. In my 20’s, I had two jobs to pay for the things I wanted. I got out and made a life for myself that didn’t include my mom doing things for me.
When it came to making important life decisions, I figured things out on my own trusting my gut. Because as a kid, my mom let me forge my own path. I always thought it was my mom’s fault for not teaching me how to study as a kid. I was a horrible test taker in subjects I didn’t like.
She recently brought me a box of old projects and report cards (which my minimalist self looked at then promptly threw away). It was very telling which classes I liked and which I had to take. And man, those exam grades in Chemistry and Statistics were a joke. But the grades were all on me and not my mom. I chose to spend my free time in the theatre, working on plays and musicals. I probably should be been studying more, but I wasn’t.
And do I regret it now? Absolutely not!
Take Responsibility For Your Actions
Do I blame my mom for my grades? I don’t now but I did as a kid because it was easier to put the blame on someone else. She knew I had a planner and was responsible to handle the tasks in front of me. If I didn’t do them I would suffer the consequences. And sometimes I did. But because she let work through it on my own, I figured out how to make things better. I taught myself how I needed to study and succeed in life.
To that I say thank you. Now I am able to instill those same qualities in my children by letting them know they are capable. Sure, they might miss an assignment (or two). They might get a poor test grade because they didn’t study enough. They will learn from these mistakes because they want to do well in school. If I hover over them and harp about every test and assignment, school becomes a chore and not a place to learn.