Less is More in Parenting Good Students

A math picture on my blog; can you believe it? Stay with me . . .

Less stress = more happiness

Less hatred = more peace

Less junk food = more health

Less distractions = more focus

Less cleaning = more mess (I thought I would throw in a personal example).

Less bikini = more skin (my 4th block’s example)

Less parenting = more successful students

Disclaimer: I am not a parenting expert; however, working with students and parents on a daily basis and having a nature prone to a myriad of opinions on any given subject grant me the authority to write this post. We will leave my three children and our experiences completely out of this. Names will be omitted to protect the guilty.

Less Excuse Making– In order to raise responsible students (and adults), parents must do a better job coaching kids through their mistakes and failures. Too many times, parents make excuses and quickly blame others, sometimes even themselves, instead of helping a child figure out the central motivation or error in thinking which led to the mistake and how to avoid this from happening again. I get emails from senior – SENIOR – parents making excuses for kids not doing homework, doing poorly on exams and asking for retakes, and even plagiarizing papers. My teacher friends and I would like to say, “Stop it!” (We would never do this though because that’s completely unprofessional). We are trying to teach students responsibility, so help us help your kids. Allow children to accept the consequences of mistakes and use these moments as teaching opportunities for building character.

Less Bragging – One of a parent’s jobs is to raise kids who have a healthy self-esteem, yet excessive and unwarranted bragging often creates narcissism. My friend Tim Elmore explains it best by saying that praising children without attaching the praise to a specific action leads to a sense of inflated self-esteem. When a child hears all the time how smart or talented he or she is without any specific support, he or she can have a difficult time being growth minded. Teachers are automatically at a disadvantage when we try to share constructive criticism with some students because these students believe they can do no wrong. By all means, praise your child but be sure the praise is attached to a specific, appropriate action.

Less Acting Like a Friend – I love my friends and thoroughly enjoy r̶u̶n̶n̶i̶n̶g̶ ̶5̶ ̶m̶i̶l̶e̶s̶ ̶a̶f̶t̶e̶r̶ ̶s̶c̶h̶o̶o̶l̶ ̶e̶a̶c̶h̶ ̶d̶a̶y̶  spending time with them. I love my kids, and I love hanging out with my kids. Bethany, Brooke, and I can flat out do some drinking at Starbucks.  However, my relationship with my kids is different than my relationship with my friends because I am responsible for teaching, instructing, and coaching my kids as they grow up. My friends, most of them at least, are grown up. At school, teachers sit in conference after conference and hear of parents who do not want to parent their child. My “favorite” story from years ago involved a parent who wanted me to email her grades. When I told her that she could check grades on the computer, she said the only computer in the house was the one given to her child for Christmas and he did not allow her to use it.  While you may not be popular at times, don’t be afraid to parent your child (but be friendly to them).

Letting kids grow up is hard, but our students desperately need mature and responsible parents. Are you willing to be less of a parent?

4 responses to “Less is More in Parenting Good Students

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s