I woke up this morning (too early for a Saturday) to find my Facebook feed filled with links to an NPR article about an overparenting crisis in schools. I am in full agreement that such a problem exists, so I initially skipped the article. But when my son’s favorite teacher shared it, my curiosity was picqued.
Reading the article helped me see why I often feel like I am in a different world than so many of my “mom friends” here in the Bubble.
Stop saying “we” when you mean your kid. “We” aren’t on the travel soccer team, “we” aren’t doing the science project and “we” aren’t applying to college. Our kid is. These are their efforts and achievements. We need to go get our own hobbies to brag about.
This practice has been driving me nuts since before my kids were even in school. In fact, recently I’ve noticed a shift towards just using “I,” which takes the kid entirely out of the equation. I suspect this is because the kids of the parents using it are getting older, and the parents are literally taking over because the kids don’t even bother to engage.
“I had to go to Suzie’s house last night to borrow a book for science because I didn’t have mine.” Suzie’s is a mom, and so was the woman speaking. For real.
Just last week, I was answering a group email with some friends who all have kids my son’s age. As I was signing off, I wished them a fun end of summer, and said, “Middle school is fast approaching! Everyone ready? [My son] is excited!”
One friend mentioned her son, to say that his excitement was making it easier for her. The other two didn’t even mention their kids in the response. It was all “I am nervous” and “I don’t want summer to end.”
I realize parents have feelings about their kids transitions (myself included), but we do need to realize that it’s THE KIDS who are going to school, right?!
Schools here in the Bubble are dependent on parent volunteers, so they are inviting the parents into the classroom daily. I think that may further muddy the waters for some parents – having physical access to school regularly may make them feel like it’s “their” thing. Even when I was heavily involved as a volunteer, I didn’t see the kids’ homework as “ours,” and would often find my friends befuddled when I didn’t know anything about the kids’ homework assignments. That reaction hasn’t changed since the kids got older.
One of our kids was once on the cusp of getting an A for a marking period in math, but missed it by a point or two. At a conference, the teacher apologized and said, “There’s really nothing I can do.” When we thanked him for giving the B, he nearly fell on the floor. This was 3rd grade. Why would we want our kid to get a “false” A if a B was deserved? Who on earth cares about a B in 3rd grade math?!?
I hear all kinds of crazy helicopter parents from Professor Sister, too. Colleges don’t require parent volunteers…..but it seems that some folks still have trouble with blurred lines there.
Here’s how I encourage my kids to be independent. “I” am going to sit here on the couch until “they” come downstairs and make “me” some pancakes.
Someday, when “they” go off to college, “we” will all be happy that “I” was so demanding.