Teacher of 21+ years and parent of a sophomore & senior talks with a parent of an 8th grader & freshman about various struggles in parenting, encouraging other humans as we all do the best that we can, and partnering with teachers to rally a team of support for our future generations.
This is one part of my candid conversation with a friend who is also a teacher. I've typed out a few memorable sentences (with a few slight edits for readability) from our time together shared here and broke up our talk into 4 sections. Please share what resonates with you, and pass it on to others that would be encouraged by our conversation. Thank you!
Read/listen to the whole 4 part series here: Conversations with a teacher about teens & life.
What do you do when your child displays strong leadership qualities?
“As a mom of a child who has a strong personality have you nurtured or invested in that to help her to be a good leader…
“and then I had my own children and she was not like the others…”
“I have a degree in child development and experience working with children why can’t I get my 3 year old to take a nap?”
“God chose you to be her mom because she needs you.”
“I think it’s good when you have multiple kids because you realize a lot of who they are has really nothing to do with your parenting. We can tell ourselves, ‘I did that.’ But as soon as you have multiple kids you realize, I didn’t do any of this, this is who they are.”
How did your child’s grades get better?
How did she develop her skills from not so great grades to better? Was it because as a teacher, you talked to your teacher friends?
Teachers are modeling being responsible. This came from that.
Friends helped to want her to make better grades and she did.
“Up until then I had tried to model homework time and I had read with them but I didn’t want to make my expectations get shoved onto them like was a really good student and I made good grades but I didn’t necessarily want to push my goals and my values on them, because they are their own people. And I was never as outgoing and as strong of a leader and those types of things that my oldest is. So I tried to encourage good behaviors but not like they needed to make straight A’s. And then she realized her friends was making straight A’s and then she decided that it was her choice and she wanted to start making good grades. So sometimes we have to just be a little bit patient as parents. Again, plant the seed, make the best conditions possible and then they sprout when they are ready. But now its all her. I don’t have to chase her. All throughout High School I didn’t have to chase her about grades. She wants the grades. She wants to be the good student. So she studies when she is in her room and I didn’t even know she was studying.”
How did you choose to let go of your expectations for her grades?
In hearing how you are talking about grades, a lot of people are very concerned about grades and harp on it a lot as if it is the most important thing in the world. You had to make a choice to ask what really matters here? How did you let that go? For some, they focus that the grades will lead to graduation and jobs and etc… but when she was younger, you made a point to not focus on that. Why?
Choosing your battles because she had a strong personality. I drew a hard line that she had to make B’s even though I knew she was capable of A’s. … Also I was a single parent with other things going on….
“I think a lot of parents mean well but I see a lot of really really stressed out kids because they think they have to do all the things and they have to do them all with excellence. We want a well-rounded student for college but they have to excel and best the best at all these different areas. It’s unrealistic and it really stresses these kids out. …”
How did you not take ownership of her actions and her results?
There is a lot of comparisons between parents… how do you not take on what they do or don’t do as a reflection of you. How do you do that?
“I don’t want to take all the credit, because if it goes wrong, I don’t want to take all the blame either.”
“we are more like stewards and we are responsible to make sure that they have their resources, but they are their own people, they really are their own individual people.”
I wonder, would it have been more effective to have had this conversation earlier?
“things could still go terribly wrong, there could still be some bumps in the road”
Is the end of the road graduation from High School for you?
It is good to have a goal in mind, in your mind, I need to do the best to prepare her for this life without me “We have to let go so they can practice at home.”
“We have to prepare ourselves and prepare them for this time” It starts really young, we teach them independence all along. Parenting is the only job that if you do it right you put
There are different values, expectations, and ways each family operates.
You said you had your kids make their beds since they were 7, but my don’t make their beds. It doesn’t’ work like that. I don’t pressure my kids to make their beds or keep their room clean because they need their own space. I say fine as long as nothing is creeping out the room. We all get to be individual families and make our own choices to decide what are the values for your family that you want to pass on in your family. When we get advice from others, we listen, but it’s not like a recipe where if you follow it exactly, you get exactly what others get. Often when I struggle it is encouraging for me to talk to others who have children older than mine and then I am reminded that I am not alone. What also helps for me is to pray (as my daughter slams the door waking up in a MOOD). I ask God to help me to be the best parent I can be for her and to help her in her situation.
I often go to God and ask God to please be in her life. That is conforting to me so that I’m not dumping on her or dumping on other people because I’m frustrated and anxious. I kinda dump on God and eventually I feel better. But also God sends people at certain times that give me encouragement when it’s needed.
“It only gets worse when they are driving and out alone.”
Create your own family recipe!
Laundry example… kids started washing their own clothes in lower elementary school but a friend
Does her laundry for their family of 6 even though she works full time…. “every family is different, and the recipe is different.”
Read the whole 4 part series here: Conversations with a teacher about teens & life.
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