Monday, January 6, 2014
I read a status on Facebook this morning from a mother who stated that her child had homework over the Christmas break and she forgot about it. She wrote that the teacher better give her child another chance or this teacher's day was going to go south really quickly.
I had to read it three times to be sure I wasn't imagining it. What is going on with some parents today? We don't encourage our children to do what they are supposed to do. Why would the 11-year-old remind his mom that he had this assignment due? I'm sure he knew he could just not do it over the break and his mother would be rude to the teacher and get him more time. When I was a child we did our work or we got a bad grade. If I got a bad grade I was punished because it was my fault for not turning in my work, or not studying for a test. In our house, our two boys know that they have to do their homework when they get home. Starting today Alex's class has a new rule--if you don't turn in your homework you get a zero instead of an extension. I can honestly say that we predict some zeros in Alex's future--he has a habit of shoving his homework in his desk and never bringing it home. Alex is 9. He knows the rules and we have reminded him again and again that if he doesn't turn in his homework he gets a failing grade--and with failing grades he loses privileges. He sighs and says, "I know." Should this happen and Alex starts receiving failing grades because he isn't doing his work we will not harass the teacher. We will, instead, punish our son and encourage him to do the things that are expected of him. He will learn far more from receiving zeros from incomplete work than he ever will from not doing it and being told it's okay.
It doesn't end with school work. My boys take out the trash every day. If they don't take it out when they get home from school they get to take it out in the dark and much cooler temperatures. We are not going to say, "Well, it's dark out so don't worry about it, but please try to remember tomorrow." Children are not fools. Why would they remember when they could just not do it and then when it's dark be told not to worry about it? I remember telling the boys to take out the trash one evening and it was already dark. Logan said, "But it's dark outside." I said, "Well, maybe tomorrow you will remember to take out the trash before it gets dark." He sighed and said, "Okay," and then took out the trash. The next day when he got home from school, he put his back pack and coat away and then reminded Alex that they needed to take out the trash before it got dark. I hate to say it but a lot of parents are raising lazy children. We baby them and if they don't want to do something, then we don't make them. What kind of adults will we have if we don't demand our children do the work that is required of them? How can we expect them to keep jobs and actually function as adults if we, as parents, are constantly coming to their rescue, babying them, and telling them they don't have to do things they don't want to do? The mother I mentioned above was ready to be rude to the teacher because her child didn't want to do the work over Christmas break. A teacher assigns something and the students don't care because if they don't want to do it, they don't have to do it. I really don't understand this.
I am not saying that I am a perfect mother. I am far from perfect. I adore my children! I find myself hugging them, kissing their heads, telling them how cute they are, how much I love them and how happy they make me. I also make them put their folded laundry away, clean their rooms, make their beds, put their dishes away and take out the trash. I make them sit and do their homework (if they bring it home) and I make my eldest attend his therapy sessions even when he protests. If I don't think they brushed their teeth long enough or well enough I make them go back to the bathroom and do it again. Sure, they complain and I use the age old line, "You should have done it right the first time." It works. Life is full of things that are less than fun; things that we don't want to do. How can we expect to raise independent, hard working children when we tell them they don't have to do what is expected if they don't want to?
Parenting isn't easy, but neither is life--I want my children to be prepared! They won't be children forever. Here is to all of the awesome parents out there who adore their children and still make them do what is expected of them!