My 15 year old daughter is a freshman in high school. In one of her classes she has to rewrite and memorize a “slam poem” (don’t ask me, I have no clue what it is and I haven’t gotten around to Googling it yet).
She has to make a presentation in front of the entire class on Thursday, but one of the other students who was supposed to go before her, “made up some excuse to get out of it” and now my daughter has to do hers on Wednesday, a day earlier.
Tonight is Tuesday. I’m in my bedroom winding down for the evening when I get a text message from my daughter:
Several things go through my mind when I get the first text.
- Did she spend her time wisely this past weekend, knowing this was due on Thursday? (Probably not, we adopted a new kitten Friday evening.)
- Or did she procrastinate until the night before and suddenly she lost a day so is even more ill-prepared?
- Why do I have to email her? Why can’t you ask her yourself?
- If you want to ask a favor of this magnitude you’re going to text me instead of walking the 15 feet from your room to my room and discuss this in person??
(I did feel a tiny pang of protectiveness, wanting to do anything to keep my child from hurting, but it was so minimal I was able to squash it without even a pinch of guilt left over.)
I am NOT one of those parents. I know the best I can do for my children is to let them experience the world as it’s presented to them – not play Life Goalie and interfere in all the challenges they face just so their life doesn’t seem overwhelming for them. Let them be overwhelmed! There should NOT be trophies for participation. If they don’t do their best by putting in the time and effort then you bet they deserve that F they got on their test!
(This reminds me of when both my kids were young – probably five and four years old – and we were visiting a friend who was single and without kids. She spent half of our visit correcting my children. “Don’t take that toy away from her….Play nice with your brother…Don’t toss those in the air, you could hit your sister and hurt her…”
After an hour she turned to me and said, “How are you not exhausted every day?”
I said, “Have you heard me open my mouth once? If they don’t like something they’ll learn to correct it themselves. As long as there’s no blood why should I get in there and make corrections? They have to learn these skills without my constant involvement and they’ll learn them a lot faster by their own experience rather then me telling them over and over again a thousand times.”)
Would I allow my kids to do something truly stupid just to teach them a lesson? No – like any good parent I will step in before they cause damage or break the law or something truly horrible. But will I step in on every issue my kids feel are “not fair”? Nope. That’s life baby, deal with it. Either prepare yourself as best you can and learn from every experience, good or bad, or get ready to constantly feel like a victim.
I think I’m parenting just right. 🙂