I wasn’t prepared for this particular moment, and well, I’m disappointed. So disappointed that I’ve been speechless. Parenting is hard, and I’ve encountered so many ups and downs along my path, but for some reason THIS is harder. One and a half credits- that’s all that was needed, but he’s come up short. I’ve watched as every other parent is celebrating the big day, and here I sit, with hopes and dreams of one more semester, and then we will get our chance at graduation. I know I’m not the only one out there, but I’ve yet to hear anyone else say they are in this boat.
So today, I feel like I’m sailing alone.
It’s very difficult to watch your children make decisions that you know have some bad consequences. It hurts your heart and makes you a whole lot of angry! But still, there’s nothing we can do about it.
I can’t fix this for him. I can’t make it happen. I can’t run him up to the school to turn something in late.
And there, my friends, is where I messed up.
I overdid SO MUCH through the years, that when it was time for him to do it on his own, he failed. And in that, I failed him. No, not as a parent in whole, but in the ‘teaching him some important life skills of responsibility, drive, determination, and dedication’. He was never as dedicated to his education as I was. I get it now. I’m hoping as he sees all his friends celebrating, that he is ready to go back one last time, and celebrate as well. Better late than never. It’s taken me a while to accept that, but it is what it is.
SO… here’s my words of advice.
Stop doing those projects FOR your kids! Help a little if you want, but it needs to be THEIR responsibility, and NOT the night before. I watch as parents post pictures of their child’s project, and I laugh, because there’s NO WAY your six year old erected this perfectly landscaped rainforest! I know parents who overdo the ‘helping’ thing way into middle school and even high school. I wasn’t that bad, but I was the ‘oh no, you forgot, let me run to the store at 8:00 pm parent’.
Stop managing their homework life. Set rules about when it gets done, enforce those rules from DAY ONE, and walk away. Always leave the door opened to help when needed, but don’t nag. If they can’t do that homework without you telling them to get it done every five minutes, then they need to lose those luxuries society now deems necessities. And there is no such thing as running them back to school to turn it in. Let them take the fail and learn a lesson!
Pay attention to their grades and demand ‘their’ best. God wants no less. Don’t accept anything else. Realize their best doesn’t always mean straight A’s people! It means true effort, 100%!
Don’t ever allow your little sports hero to get away with laziness because they know how to hit hard on the field. You teach them that they only have to work hard in one area, and not others. If their grades aren’t their priority, then sports can go. Along with that, and my biggest failure, was allowing him to wrap his ENTIRE identity in sports. It took one injury to end it all, and it left my son reeling in uncertainty. I totally own this, and so should many others.
I know it’s hard, but have those talks about sex, drugs, alcohol and anything else that peer pressure throws at them. The talk may not stop them from trying these things, but you’ll know you did what you needed to do. And I’m here to tell you, start talking before middle school, because all my four kids will tell you, middle school changes everything. Those innocent fifth graders experience a new life when sixth grade rolls around. They need to be prepared, and that is something you can help them with.
Here’s the hard one…for me and MANY parents out there.
Your child may seem like the cutest thing in the world to you. I’m sure they are adorable, but we’ve seemed to lose sight of what constitutes ‘brattiness’. If your child screams no at you at the age of three, you need to put a stop to it. They are doing it to their teacher at school, as well, and their friends. If crying gets your child their way, you’re doing it the wrong way! Your parenting habits move from the home to the classroom, and it’s NOT the teacher’s job to begin to teach your child how to behave and listen, they should enter school with a good idea of how to do these things.
(I know. I manage a church with a preschool, and I’m somewhat shocked by the behavior of what I see, so is my daughter when she is at functions with my granddaughter.)
It’s NOT ok that your child can’t follow a single direction. It’s not cute, it’s not acceptable, it’s not necessary, and I promise, you don’t need the headache! You will thank me later. Don’t fear hurting feelings over discipline. When it matters- your child will appreciate you for it (like when their 25!
Our kids are entering college and every day is a tornado of ‘feelings’- especially in the realm of politics and society. Life IS NOT about feelings. I’m not sure what happened over the last few decades, but we must stop this nonsense! Where did common sense go? It’s been buried by the ‘feelings’ generations.
My son struggled with behavior from preschool on- I HAD ONE OF THESE KIDS. So I’m not throwing stones here, I’m speaking from the heart of a mom who knows! We never made him understand he wasn’t the boss, he didn’t get to be rude or disrespectful. The same issues we suffered with at home, his teachers had to deal with. We lacked consistency, and suffered with the ‘he’s so cute’ parenting syndrome. I see it every day. I literally just watched a parent hand his preschool daughter a lollipop so she would stop crying! And he’s asked her about 10 times why she’s crying, with no answer! Yes I just used double exclamation points because my point is proven to me while I type!! (triple!!!)
When I say, “I see it everyday”, I really do. So I know I’m not alone in screwing up.
While we are so busy coddling our children, they are growing and learning, or not learning, what they need to function as teenagers and young adults. They’ll figure out adulthood at some point, whether or not we teach them, and I hate to say it, but some don’t learn adulting at all…(guess where they end up living???)
Not every situation is the same. Not every child is the same. But having respect, being responsible and having boundaries can’t be rewritten to accommodate the delusional parent. I saw years ago where I went wrong, but I waited way too long to do what I should have been doing as a parent. Is my son’s inability to cross the finish line all on me, absolutely NOT. But I am willing to own up to my short comings as a parent. That’s my responsibility, and should be yours too.
Only we can change the course of the future, and it begins with raising able minded young adults. Yes, we can only do what we can do in raising them, but we must be doing at least that!