I don’t want my kids to be those kids, the ones whose mamas do everything for them.
I want to help them, of course.
But if they can do something on their own, they need to do it. Or do it most of the time, anyway: there’s nothing wrong with occasionally being nice and doing something for them just because (I appreciate when people do things for me, too).
What’s really driving this home for me is knowing that my oldest will be going to middle school next year, with 7 different classes/teachers, more activities, it’s not the baby elementary school any more.
He needed help, but it’s finding that fine line between doing it all for him and letting him flounder.
We found a balance by going through all his papers and folders together, and I helped him see where things should go so that he could stay organized. So I got him that way, but now I expect him to keep himself that way.
I opened our parent portal for grades and helped him make a list of the things he was missing. But it was up to him to do those assignments. And now that he’s all caught up, it’s his responsibility to check the student portal to see if he’s missing things or to look at what assignments are coming due soon. While I check the parent portal to double check, instead of just telling him what he needs to be working on, I ask him (even though I know the answer already).
We go through his weekly folder together and he makes a pile of work he needs to redo and redoes it. The first time through, I helped him with how he could redo different assignments in a way that his teachers would easily be able to recheck them, but now he knows how to do that so it’s on him.
Since he gets nervous about asking his teachers about certain things (particularly if it’s something where he feels like he’s let them down or if he’s worried he’ll be in trouble by asking), we practice what he should say, and then he says it: I don’t tell him not to worry about it while I just email his teachers. Unless it’s something that’s more of a parent issue, it’s on him to take care of it.
I feel like we’re finding that balance. I don’t just throw it all on him and say figure it out. Because I don’t know if he would have or if it would have been too overwhelming. Instead, I taught him how to do things and then let him do it, still occasionally checking in to see if he needs support, but not getting to the point where I tell him to sit back and not worry about any of it because his mama will take care of everything.
Hopefully, this system will mean that slowly, he won’t need that support, he’ll just get it all on his own. As a tween, he does need to be more independent, but I can’t assume he already has all the tools he needs to be able to do that. I can help him with that, and then let him go.