Friday, October 5, 2012

Parenting 101

These days I find I am giving myself little lessons in parenting (or rather how not to parent) quite often. This latest education did a number on me.

My son came home from school last week with information on an after-school program that was going to culminate in an academic competition in January. I immediately dismissed it as junk and put it in the recycling container.

Imagine my surprise when later in the next week a note was in my son's binder saying that he had signed up to try out for two events. I thought I told him no, like I do to just about everything that comes home in that folder (book orders, cookie dough fundraisers, spirit night at local restaurants, etc).

I didn't want him to do it because it would be a major inconvenience for me. It would mean I would pick up his sister at school at 3:15 and then return at 4:15 to pick him up twice a week. Remember how much I hate picking up from school? Now it get to do it two more round-trips each week.

I explained to my son that out of 90 kids they would be selecting 5 to compete and that he was signing up for try-outs only. I was discouraging him from trying because the odds were fairly low that he would make the cuts. I would be irritated twice a week with extra school runs, and he would be heartbroken. I was trying to save us both.

And then I realized that I was basically telling my kid that he wasn't the brightest and shouldn't even try because he wasn't going to be in the top 5. What kind of parent does that? Had the subjects been math or science I might have agreed without contest, but the areas of competition that his grade level could participate in were creative writing and storytelling.

If you knew my son you would know that getting him to read for 20 minutes every day is one of our struggles. Encouraging him to write may even be a bigger challenge. He is brief to say the least. Over the summer I had to fight with him for 4 sentences about a subject he liked!

We'd been trying to get him involved in something: karate, football, cycling, running and he showed zero interest.  How could he possibly want to do this, he doesn't seem to even like it!

A good parent would be encouraging their child! He finally says something that he wants to do and my first response is no!

Guess who is trying out for the creative writing and storytelling team? We talked about it, and I pulled the permission slip out of the recycling bin and reluctantly signed it. Time to start helping and encouraging. Time to paste that smile on my face when I have visited the school parking lot for the third time that day. Finally, he shows interest in something that isn't electronic - I am happy about that.

Maybe this will actually get him interested in reading and writing, and maybe he will even make the cut.



  1. I'm so glad you changed your mind! Phew! ;)
    I remember when one of our Ds wanted to run for student council. It was going to be lots of extra work and I thought (and she knew the odds weren't in her favor) she wouldn't win the election. But, she did it, put lots of work into her speech, worked the "campaign", and guess what? She won! The look on her face was so worth it!!! It's one of those cherished moments, I'll never forget.

  2. awww...don't you love those moments when you catch yourself being that lazy parent you said you never were going to be?!:) it's so HARD to do it all my friend. good thing you changed your mind though. maybe you can figure out some after school activity for your daughter to participate in on the same days so you can pick up late and wait zero minutes. even if it costs you money for will even out with the gas, time and mental health. there i go again, finding ways to justify spending money i don't have!:) i hope your son develops a love for writing. (now wouldn't you be pissed if you found out he joined to state at some girl he found dreamy?) hahah, just kidding...i think he's too young for that stage. i'm just in one of those moods to tease. i hope you're laughing and not fuming.

    1. No I wouldn't be pissed if he did it just for a girl - it would be kind of cute:-) I told my son that he needed to practice his storytelling and creative writing at home as part of his homework (according to the instructions that were sent home) and his answer to me was that he already knows how to read and write. I think we have a problem. He just assumes that because everything else is easy for him that he will certainly be chosen to perform in the competition. Oh Boy!


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