I came across this article 8 Things Kids Need to Do By Themselves Before They’re 13. The premise is this: “How do we raise competent adults if we’re always doing everything for our kids? Walk away from doing these 8 things for your teen this school year.”
How did the Daughter’s parents do?
1. Waking them up in the morning
Guilty, and it’s usually me. I think it’s a function of the fact that I HATE waking up to the alarm clock, which I hear every weekday morning, not for MY sake, but for my wife’s. The Daughter DOES wake up occasionally on her own.
It’s been a real change from sixth grade, when she could literally wake up 20 minutes before school started, still getting there before the late bell, and now, which involves taking the bus, which sometimes comes early.
I HAVE stopped repeatedly nudging her, though, because that was too exhausting for ME!
2. Making their breakfast and packing their lunch
She usually gets lunch at school, and she could get breakfast if necessary. Still, I’d rather make breakfast, because the cleanup afterwards is much less for me. And left to her own devices, she might just ea that pizza for breakfast that I was planning for lunch.
3. Filling out their paperwork
The only really complicated one involves names and phone numbers of our friends and relatives as emergency contacts. I’m just happy she brings out the paperwork in a more timely fashion, usually.
4. Delivering their forgotten items
I have done that once recently, before a field trip when she needed money to eat lunch on a field trip. I delivered her cash just in time, and I received a rare public hug. OK, I’ll try to do better.
5. Making their failure to plan your emergency
This tends to be more her mother’s failing, getting stuff for her she needs at the last minute, but the Daughter has gotten much better over the school year.
6. Doing all of their laundry
Her mother does do most of the laundry, period. But the summer will be a good opportunity for Clothes Washing 101.
7. Emailing and calling their teachers and coaches
Interesting, a couple teachers have contacted US, saying the Daughter is doing well.
8. Meddling in their academics
In the first marking period, she was doing less well in her favorite subject, probably because she hadn’t handed in some homework she had actually completed. I know this because I’ve sat with her when she did it. But I never got involved with her teachers, mostly because keeping track of her 12 classes in 8 periods was too complicated for ME. And she’s come to do more of her school work on her own.
I’ll admit, though, that I like knowing what she’s learning. 7th grade math that I wasn’t doing until 9th grade. Manifest Destiny, NOT as a given good. And there’s the occasional exercise I find annoying, such as finding words in a puzzle across, down and diagonally, the learning value of which I found dubious; both her parents helped her find those backwards diagonals.
Boy, are we the terrible parents or what? To be fair, she has learned a lot about self-reliance this year, and I’m guessing next year will be more of the same.
The year after that, she’ll be going to high school, and she’ll be able to walk there, which I am looking forward to, a lot.