Wednesday, November 16, 2005
ADVENTURES IN PARENTING
If you're constantly protecting your child from the consequences of their choices, how in the world will your child ever learn to stand on his/her own two feet?
Example: When Sparkle was in 8th grade, she decided that she didn't need to do homework anymore. Her grades dipped dramatically. Yeah, I bitched and moaned and gave her plenty of lectures.... but that was it. I could have marched over to that school and demanded her homework assignments be emailed to me daily and really enforced the law. But.....how would she ever learn to organize her own life if I started organizing everything for her? So I continued my lectures about doing homework = good grades = good job in the future....but otherwise Sparkle was on her own.
One of her teachers called informing me that Sparkle was in grave danger of flunking her class for the year. I replied to the teacher that Sparkle was well aware of what was expected of her and that if she wasn't going to do those things, then maybe flunking a grade was the best thing for her. I ended the conversation by telling the teacher that she had my blessing to go ahead and do whatever she felt she needed to do, that she had my total support. Ol' Teacher didn't quite know what to make of all this and I think she was glad to get off the phone.
And Sparkle just about flunked. Who knows what was the final dawning moment for her? But somehow it dawned on her..."Hey, maybe I need to get my lazy ass in gear!" And now I have a kick-ass student on my hands. 4.0 GPA. I have no idea if she has homework tonight or not. Its none of my freaking business....that's her deal. She knows what happens if she doesn't do it.
It was the hardest thing I've ever done....just to sit back and watch my daughter train-wreckin' like that. It would have been so easy to step in and command obedience. But if she depends on me controlling her life, she'll never be able to leave home and be sucessful. And then not only will I have failed as a parent, but I will never get to enjoy my old age in peace and quiet. No thanks.
And before you say it, I realize this approach would not have worked for every single child in the nation. But I don't see a whole lot of parent trying this kind of approach.
Posted by firstname.lastname@example.org @ 8:08 AM