I know that I am far from a great parent. I’ve made mistakes. I’ve made A LOT of mistakes. That is because no one is ever given a “How to be a parent” manual when they leave the hospital with their infant. You are just handed an itty bitty innocent life and a simple “Good Luck”, or so it would seem.
We survived the baby years, and I think we did OK making our way through childhood. Now my kids are teenagers. Suddenly those 3 AM feedings and explosive diapers seem like a piece of cake compared to the final years when your child is learning to fly with their new found wings in preparation to fly away from the nest.
I have always did what I could to make sure that my kids did well in school. I was in constant contact with their teachers, I made arrangements for them to get extra help when they needed it, and I did what I could at home to make sure they were getting their homework done and studying for their tests.
Our son started school a year before he really should have. We were warned by my daughter’s Kindergarten teacher not to enroll him in Pre-K, even if we felt he was ready. She told us to wait another year. We didn’t heed her warning and we’ve been regretting it ever since. Our son has always struggled at school. Even in first grade his teacher tried to help us get him left back but the Principal would not go for it and she moved him on to second grade. We wanted him left back ASAP because the older he got the harder it would be. Kids can be so cruel. Our son is quiet and shy to begin with. If his classmates knew he was left back they would make his life miserable. That is why we were hoping to do so in first grade.
Sadly our son WANTS to be left back, but not right now. Not at his current school. We’re doing what we can to sell our condo and buy a house upstate where the kids would have to go to a new school district. My son actually said to me that if we move and he starts at a new school to put him back a grade. He’s currently in 8th grade and he should be in 7th.
It’s not that he doesn’t understand what is being taught, it’s just that it takes him a bit longer to get it then his peers.
Our daughter used to always be on the honor roll so I never really had to stay on top of her about things. She would study for tests, do her homework right away and would freak out if she DIDN’T do good in school. Of course that all changed when she became a teenager. Now I have to constantly tell her to do her homework and study.
I am guilty of always trying to make thing right for my kids. If they did poorly on a test I would contact the teacher and find out if my child could retake it or do something for extra credit. I used to meet with teachers and the Guidance Counselor to discuss my son and what we can do to help him so he doesn’t struggle as much.
My kids both received their progress reports for the second quarter. My son is FAILING three of his classes.
Math – Current grade range 80-89
Science – Current grade range 80-69
Social Studies – Current grade range 60-69
English – Current grade range 50-64
Italian – Current grade range below 50
These grades do not include physical education and electives.
To pass a class you need at least 65+. As you can see he’s not exactly doing well in three of his major classes.
He hates his Italian teacher, and frankly I’m not overly keen on her either. I only met her once but that one meeting left a “bad taste in my mouth”.
It’s clear that he’s not going to pass Italian. He needs to get out of that class and take another language. I’m thinking Sign Language would be best since he’s shy and hates to talk.
In the past I would be on the phone with the Guidance Counselor right away and discuss this to see what can be done. But this time I didn’t. I told him that he’s old enough now to know what he needs to do. He knows he needs to go to the Guidance Office and talk to his counselor and figure out what he can do about his Italian class. He can’t change now. And sadly if he starts a language next year he’ll be a year behind his peers. Also, the place we are hoping to move to does not offer Sign Language. So we’re in a bit of a pickle.
We told him the entire holiday break that he needs to make the effort to talk to his teachers about how he can improve his grades and ask them if there is a way he can get help or extra credit. He has yet to speak to his teachers or Guidance Counselor.
I’m afraid he’s waiting for Mom (me!) to come to the rescue and take care of everything like I normally do. I keep telling him that he’s old enough to take some responsibility for himself, but apparently he’s not taking me seriously.
I don’t know if I should put on my super hero cape and rush to school and make it all right again – or do I leave it up to him to be responsible and be accountable for his actions and have him do what he needs to do to make things right?
As a parent, when do we let go and let our kids learn to do things on their own?
Clearly I DON’T want him to fail. The last thing I want is for him to get left behind NOW. Not when his peers are going to make his life a living hell (there are a few kids I KNOW will make fun of him). At the same time I have to teach him that he needs to be responsible for his own actions. He NEVER studies for tests, even if we encourage him to or offer to help him study. He will tell us he’s done his homework, even going so far as to show us “fake” homework to prove that he did something. Even in his Italian class he knows every Friday they need to bring in a current event from Italy and since school has started he’s only done it twice, and both times he did it the night before it was due. He needs to learn that if he doesn’t do his work he will get a bad grade. It’s not rocket science. Do the work, apply yourself, study and you’ll get good grades. Don’t do your homework, don’t study and don’t give school a bit of effort and you will fail.
He has to learn to stand on his own two feet. How is he going to make it in the real world if he accepts no responsibility for his actions and his mom always comes to save the day?
If I leave it up to him to do the right thing and he ends up failing the 8th grade, does that give me the Worst Mother of the Year award?
I have search high and low through used book stores for a copy of the How to be a Parent manual. Until I find the elusive book I have to “wing it” and hope that I am doing the right thing.
What would you do? Would you come to the rescue again, or let your child learn to take some responsibility for their actions and make the effort to do the responsible thing?