This rant is brought to you by the trainwreck we had with the daycare lady earlier this week. (More on that later)
So, you're a parent. Congratulations! You have 18 years to turn that squalling bundle of work into a rational human being. You can't do that by spoiling them to death (err - this doesn't include infants. You simply can't spoil an infant. I'm referring to a child over 1 year of age. Just to clarify). The way society wants you to raise your child, however, will not produce this - it will produce a spoiled brat of an adult with an entitlement complex. What do I mean? Simple - children are not allowed to be children any more, and parents aren't allowed to be parents - we're supposed to be "best friends". eff that!
Children need discipline; they need firm limits. This does not mean that they can run wild - but they need to be allowed to - gasp - do things that might cause them to get hurt. They need to be allowed to - bigger gasp - fail sometimes, to drive the message home. When Herself (and Himself, as well) was just learning to crawl, I didn't forbid her any area of the house. We had done a decent job of child-proofing, so I let her go. (Supervised, of course). I can't count how many times I would say "Don't play with the cabinets!", only to have her smash her fingers in the door a few seconds later. Or "Don't pull on that!" only to have her pull a blanket (covered in soft toys) down on her head. You know what? She survived - and *usually* didn't repeat the action. Why? Because she got an immediate result that either hurt, or startled her.
I've let her climb trees - yes, she's fallen and skinned her knees. Know what? She's more careful now. She's knocked things down and broken them because she was running thru the house - and she had to work to pay off the damage. And, oh yes - she has chores she has to do. Unpaid chores, at that - she needs to learn that you don't always get rewarded for doing things. (No entitlement issues *here*)
It's not the parent's job to keep up with the child's stuff - they forget a homework assignment at home? Too bad - you'll take the "F" and maybe remember to put it in your folder next time. Forgot to tell me you needed 35 cupcakes for the class party today? Too bad - I'm not going to make myself late for work because you couldn't a)remember to tell me and b)remember to give me the note that the teacher passed out 2 weeks ago (instead, she stuffed it in the back of her desk. Oh, well!) Mean? Nope - my boss won't care that my child will be mocked all day because she didn't bring cupcakes - I'll still be docked because I got to work late.
Which brings me to the daycare lady. A little back-story: Herself is in an accelerated class (so, you know she's not slow, or stupid. This fact has no real bearing on the rest of this story.) Every Monday, the teacher passes out the list of 20 spelling words, plus 5 "extra point" words. Monday evening, we give a test on the words - each word she misses, she has to write 10 times.
(Oh - a digression here. Whoever thought phonics was the best way to teach spelling should be tied up, tossed in a pasture, gang-raped by a herd of rabid goats, then shot in the kneecaps and left to suffer in the Texas summer heat until they die a slow and painful death. Seriously - you *can't* learn to spell phonetically. Now, I realize that spelling isn't as important in the world my children are in as it was in the world I grew up in. Computers are common; spellcheck is *everywhere*. However, the teacher wants them to learn to spell, so....we learn to spell.)
Tuesday night, we repeat, but each missed word needs to be written 20x, etc the rest of the week. Test is on Friday, and each word she misses there has to be written 50x, to make sure she's got it.
Have I mentioned that my daughter is stubborn? And ADHD? A few weeks ago, she decided that she wasn't going to write the missed words, no way, no how. She didn't *have* to, after all. WRONG. It got so bad, she was up to 28 missed words.....250x each (It got added to every time she yelled at us or refused to do it. You'd think she'd have figured out she was shooting herself in the foot..but I guess not). :blink: We enforced it - sent her to daycare with a pad of paper and a supply of pencils.
The daycare lady informed me that I was "going backwards. You can't make her do that - it's not right!" WTF?
(Need I say that daycare lady is totally clueless in the parenting arena? AND she homeschools her 2 boys? I feel totally sorry for her boys - they are going to be so unprepared for the real world...they spend more time outside riding bikes or horses then they do in "class". She claims they are "advanced"....errrm, 2 months of age-appropriate work, then bouncing them up a year does not mean they have actually grasped the concept, y'know?) (Oh, and the words DID get written, and she has consistently made over 100 on each subsequent test.)
Also, it's not a parent's job to defend the child to the teachers. Stop and re-read that, and think about it for a minute. If the child is in danger of failing a class, it isn't the teacher's fault in most cases. (Yes, there are sucky teachers out there. They're pretty obvious, though, and not that common. Here, anyway.). Children LIE :gasp:, especially when it comes to homework ("No, Mom - I did all of it. And we didn't have Math homework tonight."). I let that one slide for 2 weeks, until I got a call from the math teacher (see, the kids' schools know that they can call me and I won't get defensive - in fact, I take the school's side 99 times out of 100) telling me that, y'know, she hadn't done her homework this week - again - , and she's gonna fail math. After we got thru with her, she's not failing now, but she's not gonna make the Honor Roll, either) It's not the teacher's fault that your precious darling isn't doing his/her work - it's your kid's fault. Or your fault, as a parent, because you don't enforce their work ethic. The teacher isn't targeting *you*, they are simply informing you of your child's lack of progress - don't go midieval on them because you're raising a lazy twit. Get home and make the kid do math problems everynight before bedtime. It won't kill them, and maybe they'll start doing their assignments like they're supposed to.
Don't think Herself is the only one pulling this stuff - we've had numerous meetings with Himself's school as well. In his case, he feels he's "too smart" to be doing this dinky 1st grade work......well, he's right, but he also *has* to do it. Just because he thinks he's smart, he can't refuse to do "boring" work, or work on 2nd-grade level stuff. (You know, there's that pesky entitlement complex again. I need to work on that!) We've set it up so that he can do the "hard" stuff as a reward - do your normal school work, get to play with the "big boy" work. We'll see how that goes...
As a parent, you also need to let your child just be a child. Don't try to re-live your childhood thru them, and don't try to make them grow up too fast. Give them a safe place to be themselves - the outside world will soon be knocking them for a loop, expecting them to be just like everyone else. They need to learn *who* they are, not who *you* want them to be. If that means your son takes ballet lessons instead of sports - then so be it. The world won't come to an end because your daughter has no desire to enter beauty pageants or cheerleading camp. Get over yourself, already.
And don't over-schedule them - they need time to just "be". This "different-activity-every-night-of-the-w
Do encourage them to try new things - you never know what will light the spark that will catch their interest and lead to a happy career.
Oh, and back to the entitlement thing - NOBODY is required to financially help you raise your child. You can't afford a baby? Then get off your lazy ass and get a job. Have a job, but it doesn't pay enough? Find another one. The government is NOT an ATM machine with unlimited funds. I don't appreciate my tax dollars going to pay you to sit at home and raise your brat of a child, who will then go out and have numerous welfare babies themselves - I was able to raise 2 children ON MY OWN, paying daycare all the while (and I went with *good* daycares - read expensive - my children weren't dropped in front of a TV for 8 hours a day.) Can't get a better job/any job because of extenuating circumstances? Well.....then maybe you should consider all your options. Adoption is always there, if you're not pro-choice. Seriously - we have enough welfare brats, and don't need any more.
Again, it's not the parent's job to be best friends with their kid. That's what *other* kids are for. Your job is to shepherd them to adulthood - an adulthood where they can survive without handouts, and without being a drain on the system. Yes, they can come back and ask for help - but it's not your job to support them once they hit adulthood. You need to equip them with the skills they will need to support themselves, and you need to encourage these traits NOW, while they're young enough to be willing to learn. It's awful hard to let go of the tit if you don't really have to feed yourself, y'know?
Wow - I feel better now! If you waded thru all that, go get yourself a cookie or something.