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|Just Call Me Radar...
|Okay. So once again it appears that I am swimming upstream alone. I used to watch the television show M.A.S.H. It was a family favorite. Remember how Radar O'Reilly would stand oh so still in the midst of chaos and with a stoic look on his face say, "Choppers..."
There is alot of information circulating about the term "helicopter parenting." I have been inundated with it since Son #1 and Son #2 went to middle school. I have to admit, this whole thing is bizarre to me.
My children were and are homeschooled. Did you know that I don't sit next to them all day while they do their work? Nope, I don't. The manuals are written to them. They read the directions and instructions and make an attempt. If it is something that is difficult, new, or confusing to them I go over it with them until they feel comfortable. But my children, sit by themselves and work diligently - except for when the mail comes, then there is a mad race to get to the mailbox first.
When I was in school I would come home and Mom said, "Do you have any homework?" Inevitably the answer was yes. Later that night, when she would find me flapping my gums on the phone she would say, "Did you finish your homework?" I would answer that I had.
For the most part, I did do my homework unprompted. I wasn't watched over. There wasn't a designated homework spot or time. I wasn't rewarded with something for doing homework. It was my responsibility to do it. It was my job. If I didn't do it, there were consequences. (No - it wasn't being grounded.) Guess what happened when I didn't do my homework? I got a ZERO! That's right, a failing grade. If you get enough of those, your overall grade reflects it. Voila! There is the consequence to your behavior. Don't do the work - you fail.
Isn't this how life is? If I don't turn in my blog - I DON'T GET PAID! Do it enough - I DON'T HAVE A JOB! Cause and Effect in it's most simplistic form.
Even with my kids in high school and all of the technological things that they have to show you every assignment your child will receive all year long...I am not going to sit over top of them every night to oversee it. As a parent, I check on that computer. I see what they haven't turned in. What was late. What quiz was obviously not studied for. My husband and I have an ongoing dialogue with them. But they are making their own choices at this point. If they don't do it - their grades will reflect it. Then when they can't get into the college of their dreams because their grade point average wasn't what it should have been - they have learned a lesson at a hefty price. If there are things that are important to you - work for them. You get out of something what you put into it.
I hear the stories of parents doing science projects, setting up homework routines and rules. I read blogs and websites with all of these ideas and efforts that parents have. Schedules, calendars, grids and outlines organizing homework time. Encouragements and rewards - like extra video game time and ice cream. Really? Why do parents have to bribe their kids to do homework?
Homework is an expectation. Homework has been around forever. No one enjoys it, but it is as old as Methuselah. We all pay our dues. We've all been there and done that. How many of us as children, had an organized homework time schedule to be rewarded by our parents for completion? I bet if parents didn't micromanage homework time - that they would be surprised what would happen. There may be a few bumps at first - maybe even a missed assignment or two. But I bet they would see that their children can be responsible, intelligent children that will build self esteem when they do well and feel disappointed when they don't without parental interference. Wouldn't this promote a healthy motivation from within the child? Just a thought.
My kids certainly don't work up to their potential. What average teen does? Think back to when you were in school. Were you thinking at 15 years old that you needed to study for a week ahead of a test and get the very best possible grade that you could? Doubt it. I know I was thinking that I'd study the night before and hope for the best and between now and then I'd go to the football game, shopping at the mall and hang with my friends. If I got a B - that was great. Never occurred to me that if I worked harder it would have been an A. Yet, think about how we parent our kids and the expectations we place on them.
One of the points of argument that you will hear from parents is that the kids are so busy - there is no time to get the homework completed so they need to organize the time. Hmm. Priorities there are interesting. I'm pretty sure those kids are playing a sport in every season, involved in Girl/Boy Scouts, music lessons, and church activities. As a dance teacher, I have parents repeatedly telling me about their time constraints. They are going to be late because they have a girl scout meeting first and then they have to leave early because she has soccer game afterward.
The bottom line is this. I went to school and I am finished. It is now my child's turn. My pastor once said to me regarding my children and their faith, "They've got to get their own. You can't get it for them." I can take them to church. I can teach them what I believe to be right and wrong, but ultimately what they believe is theirs to find and own. I can't force it. My kids will learn this about their education too. It is their path not mine. I have to let them make their decisions and build their own character. To learn about what is important because there will be a consequence to every choice.
It is the very essence of parenting. We teach. We warn. We wait. We watch. From the beginning of telling little hands not to touch hot things - if they don't listen, they will get burned. Then we warn again - "Slow down you're going too fast." Bike crashes. Knees are skinned. As they get older the warnings are greater because the stakes are higher. We warn if you don't do well in high school you will have trouble getting into that university. Guess you will be commuting to community college now. As adults, our children will need to be diligent about their finances. If they aren't, there is a consequence - and all of my kids have been warned, "Live within your means and be smart because when you leave this house after college graduation, there is no more room at the Inn." Though it is a standing joke between family, there is some truth to that.
My mother still warns me of things when I am 40 years old. I still don't listen. I am usually sorry that I didn't.
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