Hey, welcome back.
Now, where were we? Ah yes, in my last entry, The Incident, I was having a bit of a rant about ‘Modern Parenting’. Let’s do this.
There’s far too much micromanaging of our children’s upbringing.
We’re all up in their grillz- as the youth say- about pretty much everything, but especially school. Parents today are way more intimately involved in their kids’ education than our parents were. When I was a kid, I pretty much took my report card home, and either faced the music or got the praise.
Because of this ‘intimate involvement’, there are a lot more rules now than there were back in the day. Check it out, this is one of the most ridiculous ones that I’ve heard of-
At one of the local grammar schools where I live, there is NO RUNNING ALLOWED during recess. What?! The reason behind this rule is to avoid ‘falling injuries’. Really? We’re protecting our kids from falling now? Wow.
How are they supposed to learn to pick themselves up if they never fall? Not to mention the fact that kids just need to run because they’re kids and it’s good for them. Right? I’ve heard about this ‘no running’ rule in other parts of the country, so it’s not just because I live in Northern California (if you know what I’m saying), it’s happening in other places. Madness.
If I were a betting man, I’d put my money on ‘kid-has-bad-fall-on-playground-parents-sue-school-and-win-no-more-running’. Way to go ‘Merica.
On to the micromanaging. My 15 year old son- The Tall One- is a sophomore in High School. I get about 10 emails a day from his school. TEN! There are two different websites that you register on to track your kids homework that send out constant notifications about big projects, attendance, tests, grades, quizzes, and whatever else you can think of to track. The logic is this- if the student falls behind then it can be caught quickly and corrected. A higher success rate with less failure being the goal. However, I think it’s a bit too ‘NSA-spying-on-American-citizens’ for my taste. Way too hand-holdy.
In the first three weeks back after summer break, the High School hosted a Back to School Night, a Parent’s Night, and a seminar on the tracking websites. One of the emails about the seminar recommended that I sign up immediately ‘as space is limited and going fast’. Who are these people?! Also, why have a Parent’s Night the week after all the parent’s were there for Back to School Night? Dafuq?!
I’ve done the ‘micromanage your kids education’ thing, and it’s sucks.
You have to stay all over your kids nonstop. It made my son and I have an unhealthily adversarial edge to our relationship. And for what? Good grades? To help him ‘succeed’? In what? Being good at school? Hmmm. I don’t know.
I stopped micromanaging him when he started his freshman year. I set goals for him that were reachable and left him to it. It’s his education and his responsibility to see it through to the best of his abilities. He succeeded past my expectations, and I’m proud of him. No more hand holding, it’s up to him. As it should be.
Of course, I make sure he gets his homework done, and we talk about school everyday. But really, he knows he has to get his homework done without me reminding him, because if he starts skipping assignments, he’s off the American Football team, or won’t get to drive, or loses his phone. So he does his homework. I don’t need to track his grades, he does. What a novel idea! I’m teaching my son about his responsibilities instead of holding his hand all the time, or blaming the teachers if he gets a bad grade. He made the academic midseason cut for American Football on his own, and I’m wicked proud.
Doesn’t it make more sense to give our kids some room to fail and succeed on their own? How are they going to learn to overcome adversity if they never experience it?
Just so we’re clear, I’m not suggesting we step back and give the finger to our kids educations. I just think it’s all a bit too much. Too much handholding, too much information. But hey, a lot of parents must love that tracking shit, or else it wouldn’t exist.
They can go right ahead and ‘Modern Parent’ their arses off. I prefer to go with ‘Common Sense Parenting’ and not use their websites and tracking.
I set goals, offer help, get him what he needs to do his work, check in daily, and leave the rest up to him. Instead of tracking his work, I’m talking to him about it. Again, call me crazy.
Hey, anyone out there ever go to a preschool parent-teacher conference? Was it a completely pointless waste of your time and the teacher’s time? I’m asking because I’ve never been to any of the ‘conferences’ at my daughter’s preschool. Mrs. Huttsez and I talked about it when the first one reared it’s fatuous head-
Mrs. Huttsez- We have a parent -teacher conference tomorrow at 4:30 at the preschool. I forgot to tell you about it last week, sorry.
Huttsez- Wait... What? Did you just say ‘a parent-teacher conference at the preschool’? Are we talking about the preschool your daughter goes to?
Mrs. Huttsez- [rolls her eyes] Yes. And she’s our daughter, not just mine. So, if I have to go, so do you.
Huttsez- Right. I keep forgetting. Sorry.
[Mrs. H shakes her head and laughs a bit]
Mrs. Huttsez- So what do you think about going to the conference?
Huttsez- Well, they never had them when The Tall One was in preschool, so I don’t know what to think. However, it sounds like it could be a complete load of bollocks. I mean honestly, what’s the conversation gonna be like? “She paints well, she plays nicely most of the time, her crayon work needs to stay in the lines a little more, she’s got some friends, she’s good at putting her shoes on, and she doesn’t crap her pants hardly ever, which we teachers really appreciate.” To which I reply ‘“Yeah, we’re really pleased with the no-crapping-her-pants-thing too. Thanks for the heads up on the crayon application, I’ll get on her about that right away.” Think about it- what is there really to talk about?
Mrs. Huttsez- Scissor skills? Gluing technique?
[The Tall One moseys out of his room]
The Tall One- What about circle time participation and sharing skills? And... other... important... stuff... like that.
Huttsez- Exactly. Mrs. H, did you get an email suggesting you sign up immediately because space is running out?
Mrs. Huttsez- No, but Miss Diane told me to sign up as soon as possible. I see her everyday, and check in with how Obersturmführer Bällerinä is doing. We already have a mini conference every time I see her!
Huttsez- Ok, well I don’t really see the point. My vote is to not go. Mostly because the whole concept is completely absurd and I’ve got other things I need to get done in that time. We’ll let someone else have our slot.
Mrs. Huttsez- I agree. There’s plenty of parents that are super excited about the conferences- that spot’ll get snatched up.
Huttsez- Who are these people?!
We were vindicated in our decision when we heard from a friend that it was extremely close to the Huttsez family version- craft skills, sharing, playing nicely, friends, blah blah blah.
Call me a bad parent (and you’re welcome to try), but I’m glad I didn’t go. What a complete load of bollocks!
That’s it for now.
If you agree that we need more Common Sense Parenting, like Huttsez on the facebook. We need to stick together.
Thanks for reading. See you soon.
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