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(Or at least not all 8 of them)
My friend shared this blog post the other day, Stop Doing These 8 Things For Your Teens This School Year. This post is my own
really long little response to that.
As I started reading I understood where she was coming from…kind of. There are so many styles of parenting, some of us take bits and pieces of different styles and make them our own. Do you hover or hang back? Are we helicopter parents, attachment parents (that is my style while my littles were young), tiger parents, is there any right way to parent your child/teen? Are we helping our kids or are we hindering them, placing road blocks in their way as they grow?
Let me start out the rest of this by saying, I am usually the last one who will judge parenting. Breast feeding, formula, stay at home mom, go to work mom, potato, potahto, love your kids, take care of them, and you do you boo. But when someone tells me and other parents to STOP doing things that I do with my kids because we aren’t raising competent adults, well that’s a different story.
The farther I got into the article I was a little blown away by her tone. I get it, I haven’t made breakfast before school in years either. My kids do their own. I don’t make school lunches, they either eat at school or as a group they usually make a school lunch for each of them.
This quote however rubbed me the wrong way when I first read the post, and then really irritated me as I went back over and read again.
School projects and homework are not any part of my existence.
Shouldn’t they be? I am the first one to encourage my kids to be independent as they age. I agree, I won’t run out at the last minute to get supplies for a project due the next day. That being said, I usually know about big stuff before hand and can check in with my teen and preteen.
Also, I will answer questions and work with my kids if they don’t understand something and ask for myself. Heck, I’m 41 and I STILL call my mom and ask questions or for help. Does she turn me away? No. She will take the time to explain something (usually the butter to flour to milk ratio in a white sauce because I always forget). I don’t care if it’s my junior in high school or my 2nd grader who needs my assistance. If they ask for me to help explain a concept, I will every.single.time. Will I do their homework? No. I will try to help them understand though.
School projects and homework are a part of my life because I am a parent.
That brings me to this comment:
These apps and websites, where parents can go in and see every detail of children’s school grades and homework, are not helping our overparenting epidemic.
I’m sorry. Powerschool is an amazing tool for me. Do I check it every single day and monitor all 4 kids progress all day long? No. I have it on my phone though and as soon as my 17 year old has a late assignment or his grade is falling I know and I can check in with him. Do parents whose kids don’t have ADHD like mine does not do this? Do they just say oh well, they knew. If they fail every class in high school it’s on them. My 7th grader doesn’t have ADHD like my junior does, but I still read emails, keep track of big due dates, etc. My oldest has a 504 plan that has helped a lot, but he still needs me, whether he knows it or not, to nudge him when there is late assignment out or ground him from electronics if he is falling farther behind. Powerschool is instrumental in me knowing these things.
Let’s just go back and start at the beginning. I am jumping all over this article and it would be simpler to start at the top.
Waking them up in the morning
Why yes, I do get my kids up every morning. All 4 of them, unless I have to be at work before the 7 and 9 year old get up. My 17 year old again has the hardest time getting up. Does he need to learn this skill? Absolutely. Do I still wake my husband up if his alarm is blaring and he doesn’t hear it? Absolutely.
Jordan only has 2 years of school left. In Iowa, he doesn’t have to go after 14. He will graduate, if it means I have to wake him up every morning from kindergarten to graduation. I chalk it up to his ADHD and inability to fall asleep easily. He’s overtired all the time and I will give him that nudge to get him up and off to school. I want him to finish school, not sleep in every day because he knows that he could drop out right now if he wanted to.
Do you wake up your kids? You do? That’s cool! Do your kids get up on their own with an alarm? They do? That’s cool too!
Making their breakfast and packing their lunch
I agree with this for ME. My kids have been either eating lunch at school or packing their lunches as a team the night before since before my youngest 2 were in school. There is always breakfast food available and I know my husband helps the youngest 2 with theirs after I leave for work, but the oldest 2 know if they want to eat they need to get it made before it’s time to leave. This is a great area to teach them responsibility in.
If you’re like me and don’t make lunches or you love making lunches for your kids, that’s awesome.
Filling out their paperwork
Typically when teachers send home students with paperwork for their parents to fill out, it is with the instructions that their PARENTS to fill out. I know this because I’m not only a parent, I work in the schools. I have heard explicit instructions to take this home and have your parents fill it out. If the students were supposed to fill it out it would either be done in school or sent home as HOMEWORK. Most of the paperwork I have to fill out is done at openhouse. Anything else the kids hand me as we go. Even with 4 kids it doesn’t take that long for me to answer a few questions and throw my signature on it. I’m not so lazy that following teacher’s directions regarding filling out paperwork that I can’t take a little bit of time to do it.
Delivering their forgotten items
I agree with this for the most part, depending on what it is and how stressful the day was. I’ve had my husband run me up stuff that I have forgotten if he has time before work. Heck, on Friday he brought me up a pillow to sit on because my sciatic nerve was giving me fits and the hard chairs were killing my leg up through my back. I didn’t think about that before I left. He didn’t give me any grief, he just brought it up.
It’s the same thing for me with my kids, if I’m not working and it’s something I feel they truly need, I’ll take it up. There have been many times that they have left work at home and they’ve had to explain to their teachers that they didn’t bring it. Friday again, my 7th grader texted me while I was working and said she forgot her social studies binder at home, could I run home on lunch to get it. Nope. I’m not using the precious little amount of time that I have for lunch to run home and grab something that she really should have remembered this morning. That same morning though I did offer to call the office and let them know my 17 year old could drive home and get his knee brace that he hates wearing but he needs to support his knee until the orthopedic surgeon decides what he is going to do with that lateral meniscus tear. Like I said, it depends on what was forgotten.
If you do feel it’s ok to bring up your kids’ stuff, that’s ok too. Their entire future as an adult does not rely on you bringing up their blue folder for band.
Making their failure to plan your emergency
I can agree with this one for MYSELF. It goes along with not running out to get last minute project supplies. If they didn’t get it started until the night before once they are in middle school, I won’t hurry up and grab things. This is where once again Powerschool and emails from the teachers come into play. I now know well in advance when a major project is due and can ask how they are coming along with it.
Are you like me? Or do you just happen to be one of my good friends who loves crafts and has everything on hand for a craft emergency? Either way, you do you.
Doing all of their laundry
Another thing I can agree with in a way. I stopped doing my 17 year old’s laundry for the most part when I got tired of hunting it down. It could be in his room on the floor, in the bathroom on the floor, on his bed, in the bathroom cupboards. If an item doesn’t make it into a basket and then walk it’s self to the laundry room, you can wash it. My 12 year old has started helping with her laundry now too. My 9 and 7 year olds both help with emptying the washer, throwing sorted laundry into the washer, and running/emptying the dryer. They just need supervision turning things on, and they more help us with the family laundry. I don’t expect them to do their own laundry at that age.
That being said is your student a straight A student, working a lot of hours, in every single chorus and band, plus they do sports, and volunteer for silver cord hours? Don’t let anyone make you feel guilty for washing their clothes.
Emailing and calling their teachers and coaches
Another thing I will sort of agree with. It depends on which child it is. I do still do a small amount of advocating for my oldest, I rarely need to for my girls, and I do for my youngest, but his teacher this year is amazing. My oldest has severe ADHD and my youngest is high functioning. There are extenuating circumstances and I will still advocate. I have had every teacher thank me for reaching out and they appreciate an involved parent. That being said, I have him advocate with his soccer coach if needed.
I think it’s great when kids feel they can talk to their teacher’s on their own, I don’t think we parents should be taking every allegation an upset student says to heart. I think we should listen, I think we should talk it out with them, help them problem solve ways they could approach a teacher or a coach on their own, but I don’t think there is anything wrong with you talking to a teacher for clarification or about something more serious. Again, as long as you aren’t walking in thinking that your child could never do any wrong and everything is the teacher’s fault or another child’s fault, I think teacher’s appreciate that communication from parents.
Meddling in their academics
I think I covered this earlier. My mama still helps me and I will sit down with my kids when they don’t understand something. As long as I’m not doing their homework for them, that’s not meddling, that’s parenting.
Even with my mom and dad’s help through life, I’m a competent adult, raising 4 amazing kids, working as a substitute in our district, and impacting other incredible kids. I would like to think I am kind and respectful and I would go out of my way to help anyone.
How do you feel? Am I too helicoptery with my kids? Or do you think there are times we need to step in and parent?
I say wake them up if you want to, make their lunch if you want to, help them do their laundry or don’t, YOU make the decisions when it comes to your children and don’t let someone tell you if you continue doing or not doing something that you are not going to raise good adults. Let them make and learn from their mistakes but also be there to help them up when they fall.
Have a wonderful day!