Just Heather
Wasn’t Me

Stacia is in 3rd grade now, and there is a huge shift in behavior, responsibility and expectations both at school and at home. I’m even seeing a shift in what she watches on television. Last year she would have flipped straight past any live action shows in favor of Sponge Bob or whatever random cartoon she could find. Now she actually watches shows like The Suite Life of Zach and Cody or That’s So Raven.

The responsibility part is something I’m finding difficult. I have always taught my children to make their own decisions on certain things. I take the whole “pick your battles” to an extreme my mom cannot stand. I pretty much save my arguing energy for health and safety issues—food is a big one for me. Clothing? Not so much. They dress themselves every day and I don’t give much thought to how horribly they match other than to hope their teachers get it.

Her third grade teachers have instructed parents not to direct homework. We are allowed to help if they ask, but it is not our job to check and correct their homework, unload their backpacks or make sure it gets back to school. All of that is their job, including getting parental signatures on certain pieces of homework and their daily assignment notebook. They lose recess time and points if it is not returned properly. I struggle so much with not correcting things I see wrong and I have to force myself not to pickup her notebook and sign it on my own.

I have tried to set her up for success the best way I can—I helped her create a schedule of things to do each day and a list of things to pack, as well as asking her each evening and morning if she is packed for school. A couple weeks ago I knew no one had signed her assignment notebook, so I must have asked her 4 times if she was sure she had everything. Yes, yes, yes, yes! She gets home from school and the first words out of her mouth are “Mom! You forgot to sign my assignment notebook!”

“Did you ask me to sign your notebook?” No, so how is that my fault? We added “get parent signatures” to her afternoon list of things to do. Yesterday, she returned her notebook to school sans signature again. Today it sits, along with her unsigned spelling homework, on the kitchen table. I asked last night if she was ready, and again twice this morning. She said yes every time, but as soon as the bus left I found them sitting on the kitchen table. She got as far as opening them in preparation, but never asked me to sign them. It was all I could do to keep from rushing them straight to school.

I think one of the hardest things about being a parent is letting them fail. Even harder is letting them fail without feeling like a failure yourself.

2 Responses to “Wasn’t Me”

  1. You are doing it right. Allowing your children to fail because of their own lack of responsibility is NOT the same thing as setting them up for failure because of YOUR own lack of responsibility.

    Let the consequences fall now, while they are still not that big a deal, so that when the child is older, and the consequences are far more serious, there might not be as many because she will have learned to deal with them now.

    You’re doing it right. Hard, isn’t it.

  2. I’m struggling with this too. It’s made worse by the fact that different teachers in the same grade expect different amounts of parental involvement. For example yesterday I received the phone call that Em hadn’t turned in her math homework on Friday. She also forgot her spelling (different teacher) but she received a note addressed to her about that. I get in trouble for math, off the hook for spelling. lol

    Most days I direct the run down of the “did you remember” list. I can’t help it. I wish someone else would do one for me before I left the house. “Did you remember your car keys? Cell phone? Wallet?”