A friend of mine just posted on Facebook about feeling like a “mean mom” because she’s taking a hands off approach to her child’s school assignment requiring him to make a Valentine’s mailbox. I immediately responded to her, 100% supporting her decision to not over-help her child with the project. And then I realized that maybe it is time for a PSA about overly zealous parents.
Attention Over Zealous, Homework Helping, Project Doing Parents:
Please stop making my kid feel bad by “helping” your child make elaborate projects that put Martha Stewart to shame. Step away from the glue gun. Stop pouring over Pinterest for amazing ideas. Put your car keys down and abandon your trip to the craft store.
Everybody knows you did your child’s work for them. Really, they do. Sure, you probably let them shake some glitter here and hand you a pompom there, but we all know you were the artistic masterminded behind the whole process. And I bet you feel pretty proud about how awesome
your project your kiddo’s project/homework turned out.
Honestly, it is awesome. You should be proud of yourself. It’s really something else. Hell, I’ll admit it, even I am envious of it. But let’s get one thing clear: it wasn’t your assignment.
You see, when you opt to do what we’ll loosely call “help,” what you are really doing is making my kid feel bad about the hard work that she put into her own work.
In our house the rule is that the student, and not the parent, is responsible for completing homework assignments and projects. Mom and Dad already finished their schooling…it’s their turn. Of course, we’re there to answer questions, help her think through a process, and check over her work for completion, but that’s where it starts and ends.
How can we expect our children to understand the value of hard work if we insist on taking over or doing things for them?
By all means, please guide them, ensure they understand the instructions, and provide feedback if they ask for it but stop there. Teach your child the value of hard earned work and hard earned grades so that these kids are working on a level playing field.
Let them learn. Let them struggle. And let them turn in a project that reflects their own work and imagination. Even if it looks like a piece of crap…I promise you’ll think it’s the greatest piece of crap you’ve ever seen.
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