Recently on AMM’s facebook page, our fearless leader, Colleen, posted something called “Quit Doing These 8 things for your teen this year if you want to raise an adult.” As a mother of four teens, I took notice.
So, raising an adult. Yeah, that’s what I want to do. The author starts out saying we are not to judge her if her kids are eating junk or not participating in PE because they have no uniform or they forget to turn in their homework. I am not sure how I, a fellow parent, would ever actually know any of that, but I definitely wouldn’t judge a kid’s mom based on that stuff.
I ask the same in return. I read this list of things I’m not supposed to do for my teen and I can imagine the way things go here look kinda helicopter parent-y. So please don’t judge me if this won’t completely work for us.
- I’m waking some of them up in the morning
In our house, there’s no bus service to school. To get four people to two places at once (the middle school and the high school basically begin at the same time) we have a little carpool. My 17-year-old daughter drives my 15 year old son to school. In the beginning of the year, I did not wake anyone up. But before long, my son was later and later and then either they would both be late, or my daughter would leave without my son and I would have to take the three younger kids at once and still have at least one kid be late to school, plus have everyone bickering the whole way about who ought to be late and whose fault everything is.
When I was a kid, we were always late for everything. I’m not in my 8th grade class photo because I was late and another photo session near miss caused a big rift in our extended family for a while. I don’t want to be late. It was probably my fault we were late for a lot of this stuff. So, my penance is that I married someone who grew up being too early for everything, and also that I am raising kids who are on time. What that means is that I go into my son’s room on school days, even though his alarm has already gone off a few times, and make sure he’s really getting up.
2. I’m packing some lunches
First of all, if someone isn’t out of bed in time to get their ride, they aren’t out of bed in time to make their lunch. And I’m not so friendly in the kitchen after dinner, so they aren’t going to try to do the prep before time. Besides, how can they make lunch if I forgot to get mini cucumbers? Tell me that? So basically, If I had my act together, they would probably make their own lunches. And they do make their breakfasts, for what it’s worth.
3. Maybe they can fill out their own paperwork
I mean, what could go wrong? They’ll find me somehow if someone puts in the wrong phone number for an emergency contact and then gets a compound leg fracture. Come to think of it, why do we fill these things out at all? Why can’t they roll over from year to year?
4. I’m here with your saxophone so you know I still love you
Sometimes, you come back from a ride to school where you were so mad you could spit. You did spit as you yelled at the top of your lungs about responsibility, grades, remembering to wear socks and one fork in the road that leads to being an opioid addict at the crack MacDonalds near daddy’s office. And then you come home and see a saxophone and a lunch box on the table. And you bring that crap to school, because what are you? An animal?
5. Whose failure to plan is it, really?
So the idea here is that school projects are the kid’s problem, even if they forget all about it and ask you to go get them some necessary but not household item the night before its due.
But what if that item is at Michael’s? And you know that they just put all the Valentine’s Day stuff out and you’re never going to get the variety of heart-themed crafts again in 2018? I mean, modge podge bonds more than just school projects, it bonds mothers and daughters too. Ok. Stop gagging. I’m being crazy because I’m a crazy, crazy lady who doesn’t mind a last minute trip to Michaels and may have been banned from going without a reason that can be called academic necessity.
6. I do the laundry
With six people in our house and one set of laundry machines, I think it would be infinitely more annoying to have everyone trying to get in there to get their stuff done. They are enough like annoying college room mates as it is with their constant hogging of the toaster oven. I will, however, get them to sort their laundry into items that can be sent to the Laundry Angels and those that need special attention. Is that good enough?
7. Emailing their teachers and coaches
I actually agree with this one, and my kids do it without much prompting from me. I think maybe they are embarrassed of my demeanor sometimes? (They’d rather I not mention the crack MacDonald’s to a coach or teacher I guess.)
8. Meddling in their academics.
Sigh. I do have four kids and they are all very different. For some of them, hands off has been the best approach, even when they stumble. For others, the system doesn’t really work without my input. Of course, they all do their own work (assuming it counts as their own if Siri does the simple calculations. I really hope so.), but two of my kids have learning differences and different accommodations and modifications. I have to be a part of that process for it to succeed.
What’s my goal? I think it’s to raise independent adults. But it’s also to get through the week and remain sane. Some of these things work some of the time for some kids, but I’m not going to beat myself up if I step in and help. They’re smart kids. They can pick up the laundry process without me.