When it comes to parental involvement, the common complaint is that parents aren’t involved enough, but there is a flip side to the coin. Believe it or not, it is possible to become overly involved in your child’s education. Here’s how:
- Doing Your Kid’s Homework
We all want our kids to excel in school. Sometimes, this desire becomes so intense that we’ll do just about anything to make sure our children make the grade—even when it means doing it for them. For many parents, this is a slippery slope. One minute you’re showing your child how to do a math problem, and the next minute you’re doing the whole equation for him. Set the precedent early, and let your child know that homework is her responsibility, not yours. Does that mean you shouldn’t intervene at all? Of course not. Young children need lots of help with their assignments, and even older kids need some assistance from time to time, but make sure the final product is your child’s work, not yours. A good rule of thumb: make sure your child is holding the pencil at all times. If you need to show her an example, get your own.
- Fighting Your Child’s Battles
Seeing your kids struggle or suffer is one of the most painful experiences of all for parents. We want them to make good grades, get on the team, win the competition, and be surrounded by friends. This fairy tale doesn’t always play out like we want it to though. Unfortunately, life is disappointing sometimes, and we can’t all get a gold star every time. While it’s tempting to march up to the school or pick up the phone and make it all better for your child, we have to remind ourselves that these “failures” are actually learning experiences. It’s far better to let your child experience setbacks while they’re still in your care than have them leave the nest not knowing how to solve their own problems.
- Blaming the Teacher
Some parents refuse to accept that their children are anything less than perfect. These parents are often overly involved at school in the very worst way. While teachers certainly make mistakes too (I know!), we have to accept the fact that our kids aren’t always right. Instead of blaming the teacher, ask her what you can do to help resolve the situation, and make sure your child takes responsibility for any wrongdoing.
If being involved at school meant only baking cookies for the bake sale from time to time, we’d all excel at it, but in reality, parental involvement is a much more complex issue. Knowing when to stand on the sidelines and when to jump in is always a tough decision. Just remember that the end goal is not for your child to be the best all of the time; it’s for her to learn to be her best, even when you’re not around.