Author Topic: Over-parenting...is it helping or hurting?  (Read 1785 times)

sjc0816

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Over-parenting...is it helping or hurting?
« on: February 14, 2017, 09:04:40 AM »
This is a vent, mainly...based on some recent happenings that frustrate the dickens out of me. Generally, I do not focus on what others are doing with their kids. DH and I have our own parenting philosophies and we follow our instincts.

One of these philosophies is to not rescue our kids from failure and allow them to take ownership of their own school work. They are in 5th and 2nd grade. Granted, there is much more to take ownership of in 5th grade than 2nd and luckily our son is very organized and keeps on top of everything very well.

A few weeks ago, he had a geography test in Social Studies. It was a map test - countries and continents. My son labeled the map correctly and would have received 100% but had incorrect spelling of Argentina, Antarctica and a couple of others. He got a B-.  He was disappointed because he wasn't aware that she would be grading spelling (she told the class afterwards that it was mentioned on the study guide). SO, I told him great job on the labeling and next time study spelling a bit more.

One of his best friends (who happens to be an administrator's son in our district) had the same issue....but got a D on the test. His mom told me that his dad marched into the classroom before school and the teacher allowed the kid to re-take the test.....to which he got 100%.

So who is the dummy here?  Me?  My son is the one with the lower grade (I'm assuming this isn't the first time this other kid has been able to re-take a test).....am I not doing him any favors? I think it's plain stupid to mark an entire question wrong for spelling when it was labeled correctly, but I am not the teacher....so I don't question it. But again, my son didn't get an A....the other kid did. All because his parents bitched to the teacher.


I think I need some other opinions or maybe a devils advocate.

Torran

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Re: Over-parenting...is it helping or hurting?
« Reply #1 on: February 14, 2017, 09:12:08 AM »
I'll start by saying I don't have kids. Although I have worked in schools with kids age 5 - 7, so know some vague details of homework etc.

I think you did the right thing, like, 100%.

Your kid will have learned so much about the reality of tasks/feedback from this. He's going to learn resilience and how sometimes, even when you think you did an ace job, it might not be viewed like that by others, because that is life, and life is annoying. It's a shame in the short term, but it's a tremendously useful thing to know in the long run. It's a solid gold bit of experience.

On the other hand, feeling intense rage and barging in on a teacher and getting a kid to re-sit a test is, imho, a mind-meltingly awful thing to do. For the kid, not for the teacher. (Although I bet the teacher was thinking 'I hate my job' when this was going on).

jooniflorisploo

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Re: Over-parenting...is it helping or hurting?
« Reply #2 on: February 14, 2017, 09:30:26 AM »
I understand the need to vent. It's a tricky one, for sure.

You're aiming to teach your child reality, by letting him experience the consequences of not reading instructions in full, accepting a given teacher's approach, etc. But the reality is also that some parents will run interference for their kids, and those kids will see better results on paper...which can make a difference in our world.

How to reconcile these multiple realities?

Dunno.

I parent, and I don't care one iota about academics, grades, etc, so I've never worried about this. I also think a B- is a great grade. I think your response ("...great job on the labeling and next time study spelling a bit more...") was great too.

I use situations like these to teach my kid (if he cares about the grade) to (a) read and follow instructions, and to (b) observe how our society functions, take note, and make decisions accordingly. That is, I use these situations as meta-learning opportunities in observing, in understanding our culture's dynamics, in making decisions for himself that recognize these. I think those two—paying attention to instructions; observing how the world runs and making decisions accordingly—are the transferable pieces here. If your kid comes out with those, that's far more valuable than in increase of of 1.5 letter grades on one G5 assignment.

GizmoTX

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Re: Over-parenting...is it helping or hurting?
« Reply #3 on: February 14, 2017, 10:36:55 AM »
I use situations like these to teach my kid (if he cares about the grade) to (a) read and follow instructions, and to (b) observe how our society functions, take note, and make decisions accordingly. That is, I use these situations as meta-learning opportunities in observing, in understanding our culture's dynamics, in making decisions for himself that recognize these. I think those two—paying attention to instructions; observing how the world runs and making decisions accordingly—are the transferable pieces here. If your kid comes out with those, that's far more valuable than in increase of of 1.5 letter grades on one G5 assignment.

We did this too. Initially we reviewed homework/projects when DS was in grade school & alerted him to when he was not following the instructions without telling him what was missing or wrong. Only after he made a good faith effort to remedy this did we tell him specifically if he just wasn't seeing it. Over time, he needed little assistance on our part, & he was proud of himself. Instructions & the rubric matter. And the stakes get much higher in high school.

Kids who come to expect do-overs because parents fight the teacher are not being helped in the long run.

little_brown_dog

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Re: Over-parenting...is it helping or hurting?
« Reply #4 on: February 14, 2017, 10:46:27 AM »
Sorry, that is very frustrating, however it happens at all levels of education. I have heard parents talk about editing their college kids’ papers and “advocating” for them with their professors. I kid you not.

From my limited experience...
In the short term, yes it is you and your kids who look the fool. Your kid could end up with lower grades than a kid whose parents micromanage and bully their way into higher grades for their child. But what these parents are buying their kids is an illusion of success - a mirage - and that fake out if it lasts too long can be crippling for the child. In the long term, this helicopter parenting strategy is horrifically damaging in my experience. I know a number of young adult kids of helicopter parents like this and they are trainwrecks to put it bluntly. Ever see a mid 20 something raised by hardcore helicopter parents?I have and it isn’t pretty.  But when these kids were 5, 10, or even 15 they looked like successful kids with “invested” parents. It was only when it was time to fly and be independent that one realizes their wings have been clipped…perhaps permanently.

There is a huge difference between being invested in your child (actually speaking up when something truly is wrong, helping with homework, getting tutors if necessary) and bulldozing down any obstacles or failures in a misguided attempt to help them be successful. The only way to be successful is to fail sometimes.

Lagom

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Re: Over-parenting...is it helping or hurting?
« Reply #5 on: February 14, 2017, 10:53:57 AM »
Agree with lbd 100%. Failing productively (i.e. learning from it and learning not to fear it) is one of the most valuable lessons a child can internalize. Short term "losses" to kids with such obnoxious parents will be irrelevant 10-15 years from now when your kid is kicking ass and taking names.

StarBright

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Re: Over-parenting...is it helping or hurting?
« Reply #6 on: February 14, 2017, 11:08:43 AM »
I think you are totally doing the right thing.

Your child is learning to follow instructions and deal with consequences of actions (not reading thoroughly). The other child may have the slightly better grade now - but in 5th grade it doesn't matter (unless you are in a high stakes private pipe-line to the Ivies school - but I'm guessing you are not).

By the time the grades matter your kid will have learned how to do it correctly.

FWIW- my DH teaches at the college level and in one of his intro classes he puts an extra credit question at the end of his syllabus - basically it says "email me by the start of the next class to show that you've read the syllabus to the end and you'll start the semester with 25 extra credit points." Less than 10% of his students ever read the 3 page syllabus that far!

I think you are doing some A+ parenting there.


Cwadda

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Re: Over-parenting...is it helping or hurting?
« Reply #7 on: February 14, 2017, 11:09:03 AM »
You definitely did the right thing.

Prairie Stash

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Re: Over-parenting...is it helping or hurting?
« Reply #8 on: February 14, 2017, 11:38:18 AM »
Who learned more; your kid or the other one? I posit your kid came out with the more valuable lesson.

Eventually all kids need to learn to fend for themselves, the best time to teach that lesson is when they're young and the marks don't matter.

I actually won $500 in HS for having the most improved English mark from Grade 11 to 12. In my case it paid to get poor marks early on :)

tonysemail

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Re: Over-parenting...is it helping or hurting?
« Reply #9 on: February 14, 2017, 11:46:25 AM »
although I agree with the general premise, I'll play along as devil's advocate.
How can you know whether your kid is learning the intended lesson?
What if your kid is learning a completely different lesson?


Kmp2

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Re: Over-parenting...is it helping or hurting?
« Reply #10 on: February 14, 2017, 11:48:46 AM »
Learning that spelling is an important part of every assignment/test is far more important than a slightly lower grade in grade 5!

Now if your son heard what the other parents did, and feels like you are less invested in his success because of the differenting parenting styles... then a discussion there is probably warranted.

and I don't think you look at all foolish - a simple 'We believe that dealing with failure and being responsible for oneself is one of the most important things you learn from schooling' and I think the other side looks foolish. I might practice saying it in my head only though.

It's a hard concept for helicopter parents to get - that you are consciously not getting involved because it is a parenting tool.

Lagom

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Re: Over-parenting...is it helping or hurting?
« Reply #11 on: February 14, 2017, 11:54:56 AM »
although I agree with the general premise, I'll play along as devil's advocate.
How can you know whether your kid is learning the intended lesson?
What if your kid is learning a completely different lesson?

You talk to your kid about it?

gaja

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Re: Over-parenting...is it helping or hurting?
« Reply #12 on: February 14, 2017, 12:05:15 PM »
To bring a little bit of opposition into the picture: I think there is a big difference between yelling for an extra test, and yelling for a higher grade. As a teacher, I have good experience with running these kinds of tests several times. In our schools, we are supposed to give the kids grades that show what they know at the end of the year, not what they knew when they started my class. A lot of kids need repetition before they can remember stuff, and some need the tests to really be motivated to learn the material. Those who aced the tests the first times, got rewarded with less homework or more challenging tasks.

It doesn't sound like this test mattered at all. But if it was a more costly mistake, there can also be learning in going to the teacher, explaining politely that he knows what he did wrong, and asking if he could have a second chance.
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MightyAl

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Re: Over-parenting...is it helping or hurting?
« Reply #13 on: February 14, 2017, 12:17:29 PM »
There are a bunch of great lessons here and that is what growing up should be about.  If everyone won every time they would never know how to adapt and overcome when the game changes.  I do the same with my kids.  I enjoy reviewing homework and discussing what my DD did right and what needs to be corrected.  DD is very bright and will rush through things without fully understanding the expectations of the homework.  I was the same way at her age so I understand how to motivate her to slow down, read instructions carefully, and review her work when finished. 

I would say if your son asks that you tell him that this is unfair but then review his options to make it right.  He can go to the teacher and ask for a retest like the other student.  I would have him do it if he is interested and not you.  This will get him to rely on himself and not anyone else to get what he wants.  That is how self sufficient people work.  If he is ok with it then that is fine too but make sure he understands the life lessons in this situation.  It is nothing to get excited about but not small enough to simply gloss over. 

I deal with these same issues all the time and want to run to the rescue every day.  You aren't alone.

KCM5

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Re: Over-parenting...is it helping or hurting?
« Reply #14 on: February 14, 2017, 12:35:04 PM »
I think the over-parenting clearly isn't going to help your kid's friend.

But I also think that, if your kid thinks the situation is unfair, this is the sort of time where you can teach your kid to advocate for himself. That's one of the skills that I've been trying to teach my kids - that while the world isn't fair and we all work within the social rules available, advocating for yourself is perfectly within those rules.

So if he's upset about it, tell him he can ask the teacher to retake the test.

And I agree with Gaja above - we should all be concerned more about what kids know than what they know at a certain time that a test is given. Little gotcha's like putting the spelling requirement in the study guide are fine, to a point, but I don't think they're particularly helpful.
« Last Edit: February 14, 2017, 12:36:43 PM by KCM5 »

mxt0133

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Re: Over-parenting...is it helping or hurting?
« Reply #15 on: February 14, 2017, 12:55:47 PM »
Helicopter parent here, I'm trying to back off I swear.  As other have posted there are definitely lots of take aways from this situation.

I agree that this single test is not going to make or break you kids future.  However, I also see a teachable moment to discuss with your child about how the other kid was able to retake the test.  I get that it doesn't matter now, it's one test, but there will be other situations is life that will have a greater impact.

One example was my wife taking a exam for a job and failing it, she really wanted the job and knows how to get the job done, it was just the way they were testing her.  My wife is very persistent, that's how she convinced me to get married, so she wrote the hiring manager a letter after she was turned down for the position.  Basically she was so adamant about the job that she convinced the manager to let her re-take it and got hired.

So, if you or your child feels strongly about something be it a grade, job, or financial independence don't just take the first answer or result as the final one.  Get creative, ask questions, think outside the box and be persistent until you get what you want.

sjc0816

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Re: Over-parenting...is it helping or hurting?
« Reply #16 on: February 14, 2017, 01:16:20 PM »
Interesting perspectives and I appreciate them all.

I would never even think to tell my son that his friend's parents walked in and basically yelled at the teacher and demanded a re-take. He would be mortified if I did that.....and I also can't see him going in saying "Johnny got to re-take his...so let me re-take mine."

I suppose he could go in and argue the fact that spelling shouldn't matter on a geography test - but if that's how the teacher wanted it, then so be it. He respects his teachers....so even though he's an outspoken, confident kid...I can't see him doing that. He didn't care that much....mostly because he realized it was HIS ERROR...not hers.

He handled it great....it's my parent-brain that won't shut off wondering if I'm screwing him out of a full-ride scholarship because I don't fight for straight A's (joking...but you get the point).

gaja

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Re: Over-parenting...is it helping or hurting?
« Reply #17 on: February 14, 2017, 01:41:48 PM »
I couldn't care less about the grades. If I thought my kid knew how to spell, I would forget about the test and move on. If I thought retaking the test would help her (I only have daughters, can't relate to "he") remember better, I might give her a nudge to talk with her teacher.

Btw: Fifth graders in Norway don't get grades at all. That might contribute to why I don't give a damn about them :) We think kids should focus on learning for the first seven years, and then focus on the measuring part in grade 8.
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mxt0133

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Re: Over-parenting...is it helping or hurting?
« Reply #18 on: February 14, 2017, 01:49:11 PM »
Btw: Fifth graders in Norway don't get grades at all. That might contribute to why I don't give a damn about them :) We think kids should focus on learning for the first seven years, and then focus on the measuring part in grade 8.

I fucking love Norway's education system!

Frugal Lizard

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Re: Over-parenting...is it helping or hurting?
« Reply #19 on: February 14, 2017, 01:50:49 PM »
Recently we have had some experience with doing less well than expected on a test.  My son is in high school so the grades matter to him a lot more and a little bit more to me than primary and middle school. 
But I am making a concerted effort to chill about some things.  He is not the type of kid to get 100 percent on stuff because he is a good enough type student.  Get it done and get outside is his approach.  His sister is very different.
Last semester Son missed 7 straight math classes. It is an enriched class so they cover a lot a material in each class because all the kids are super keen and have to apply to get into that class.  The day he returns to school is the test on the material that he missed.  He gets 43%.  Teacher sends home a two-page letter attached to the test that he and I both have to sign.  It outlines the material and that mastery of this curriculum is essential for future success (quadratic equations).  It lists all the assigned homework and gives dates for a makeup test and submission of all the homework and the times before, during and after school for extra help.  The choice was his to submit the homework and take the make up test.  The average of the test scores will be his grade mark but he is only allowed to take the test if he submits all the homework first.  It took him about 7 hours to do the old homework (and he had new homework as well so he was doing a lot of homework each night)  He wasn't able to make the deadline on the letter but negotiated an extension during the extra help sessions.  He took responsibility, asked for help on a couple of occasions, pro-actively identified his limits (needing more time) and developed a good understanding of the material in the end. I was impressed by the letter and felt this was a very suitable approach when all said and done.
In grade nine he had a crazy low mark in shop class on his interim report - well below the median when all his marks were 9/10 or 18/20 type marks.  He wouldn't speak to the teacher about it.  Initially I said I could request a second interview on the report card as this occurred after parent teacher interviews but he said that would be embarrassing.  So I said I couldn't help him.  It was shop class for crying out loud.  When he finally screwed up his courage to ask about the mark, the teacher checked his records and he had accidentally reversed the digits on a test score so entered a 69 instead of a 96.  It did not get fixed for his final grade but neither of us cared enough.  My son only needed to know that he was doing ok.  Didn't need to have the mark on his report card to prove it.  I am fine with that.  He did ask me how to talk to the teacher and we roll played a couple of approaches and then he did the same with his dad.  I feel that there was some good learning in this as well - how to point out an error to a person in the position of authority and how to advocate for yourself.
I must say this parenting stuff is damn hard some days. 
I try to focus my parenting on being kind, thoughtful and a love of learning but sometimes you just feel like getting down in the weeds when your child is learning about fairness. 
Seeing the possibilities

sjc0816

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Re: Over-parenting...is it helping or hurting?
« Reply #20 on: February 14, 2017, 01:54:24 PM »
I couldn't care less about the grades. If I thought my kid knew how to spell, I would forget about the test and move on. If I thought retaking the test would help her (I only have daughters, can't relate to "he") remember better, I might give her a nudge to talk with her teacher.

Btw: Fifth graders in Norway don't get grades at all. That might contribute to why I don't give a damn about them :) We think kids should focus on learning for the first seven years, and then focus on the measuring part in grade 8.

We don't have graded report cards either....but they do "grade" tests. Graded report cards starts in 7th grade here. It has always sort of bothered me because I'm just used to having something measurable from my childhood..instead of "meets/progressing/needs work" type of reports.  But I guess once he starts getting actual grades, I will appreciate that it didn't start until later.

Better Late

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Re: Over-parenting...is it helping or hurting?
« Reply #21 on: February 14, 2017, 01:55:14 PM »
At my house we would have asked the 5th grader what they thought would be fair and helpful. And we would have offered to go with her when she went to talk to the teacher.

Hargrove

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Re: Over-parenting...is it helping or hurting?
« Reply #22 on: February 17, 2017, 09:17:37 PM »
That other child learned that sometimes unhappy things happen, so it's best to find someone to bail you out.

Or else, that sometimes unhappy things happen, but they never need to be suffered.

Or else, that sometimes unhappy things happen, but yelling enough can reverse them.

Or else, that sometimes unhappy things happen, but teachers are stupid.

Or else, that sometimes unhappy things happen, but not to Daddy's little slugger.

If the test is a singularly identifiable part of getting into an important program for your child, or part of a pattern of consistently discriminatory grading, consider encouraging them to do something about it, but charging off to rescue them from everything standing in the way of their your Infinite Money After College Plan™ is a great way to give them an anxiety problem.

LiveLean

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Re: Over-parenting...is it helping or hurting?
« Reply #23 on: February 20, 2017, 10:08:43 AM »
Our kids' (public) school requires us to sign all homework every night. It's part of what's called "fundamental" school here in Pinellas County, Fla. -- again, public school. You have to sign your kids homework every night, agree to a disciplinary style that will be enforced and a dress code that will be as well. We have PTA meetings once a month that are mandatory. Miss one a year, okay. Second, your kid is gone.

In other words, it's 1970s-80s schooling before every kid had (alleged) issues and must have special accommodations, wreaking havoc on everything. Not surprisingly, fundamental schools have the highest test scores. It's pure lottery to get in and it's a beautiful thing because all of the wealthy helicopter parents who try to buy their kids into everything have to win the lottery like everyone else. Some get in, but the rest then pay for overpriced private schooling.

At first, I didn't understand why we had to sign homework every night. It's up to the kids to do it, after all. Then I learned that not doing homework was a violation of the fundamental code. Kid misses 3-4 times, they're gone. It creates a paper trail for dismissal. Parents who are not involved in their kids lives, therefore, are not going to stick around.

Our guys are in 8th and 6th grades. I dutifully sign their homework every night. But I rarely ever look at it. It's up to them.
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englishteacheralex

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Re: Over-parenting...is it helping or hurting?
« Reply #24 on: February 20, 2017, 10:24:10 AM »
I have been a teacher for 14 years. The parenting behavior described here is my least favorite part of the job. The stories I could tell you...

I work at a small, prestigious private school and the administration capitulates to parents on things like this. So I have learned just to go along with it. When I am forced to do something that I know is bad for the child's character development, I always think to myself....by doing this I am really punishing YOU, parent, because you are creating an adult who will not be able to stand on her own two feet. Actually, what I really think is, not my couch, because the kid won't be sleeping on my couch when he/she is 25.

Getting a B- on a somewhat questionable technicality is truly no big deal compared to learning that when things don't go my way my mommy comes and fixes the problem for me.

Now if you really want to build character, have the child talk to the teacher himself and attempt to negotiate a retake. Sometimes teachers are offended by this but it's still a great lesson. Personally, when students are mad at me and actually come talk to me reasonably instead of whining to their parents , I am overjoyed. I actually set up small group conferences with kids to give them a chance to bring up problems they're having with my teaching and brainstorm solutions together.

Yeah, when parents come fixing problems for their kids with guns blazing I generally just do whatever they want without even having a conversation with them. I've learned not to bother trying to save parents from themselves.

hunniebun

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Re: Over-parenting...is it helping or hurting?
« Reply #25 on: February 20, 2017, 11:15:53 AM »
I don't think you should be questing your parenting (which seem A+ to me! LOL!), but I would be questioning what kind of teacher my kid has that would cave to such BS?  If I were a teacher (which I am not) I would a) tell that parent to pound sand or b) offer the test to everyone to retake with the clarified expectation. I think schools/teachers that pander to this crap hold the blame stick for the fact that it happens at all. If there was a firm stance that this ridiculous meddling wasn't going to be accepted, then parents would stop asking for it - because they would already know that the answer is no.




SilveradoBojangles

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Re: Over-parenting...is it helping or hurting?
« Reply #26 on: February 20, 2017, 02:05:20 PM »
I think you've gotta play the long game here. The grades are not the point, and in the long run won't matter at all. Kids are learning from their environment all the time. Your kid learned that spelling counts even when it's not a spelling test (and that is true in life), and that if you want to do well you've got to check your work. That other kid learned that his actions don't matter because he can complain to his parents and get a do-over. You can absolutely tell your kid that you sympathize with his disappointment, because it is a bit harsh to lose so many points over spelling. But that is how the world is some times, and better that he learn that now when the consequences are low.

By the way, you are doing great. I've worked with a lot of kids, and a lot of parents, and you seem to be striking that perfect balance of being involved without running every aspect of your kid's life.

TrMama

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Re: Over-parenting...is it helping or hurting?
« Reply #27 on: February 20, 2017, 02:37:02 PM »
Devil's Advocate: You do not know all the circumstances affecting that child. That child may have an IEP in place that wasn't followed when the test was given.

For example, my child has dyslexia and is about to get an IEP (Individual Education Plan). Dyslexia is not something you can just teach a person not to have. She cannot just work harder to get over it, trust me we've tried. It's more like being color blind. Her brain simply has trouble connecting letters (graphemes) to sounds (phonemes). That means her spelling is atrocious and may always be "below expectations". That doesn't mean she can't learn geography, or math, or history or science, or whatever.

Anyway, one of the things going in my child's IEP will be lower expectations for correct spelling and/or the ability to use spell check for tests like the one you describe. If she were to have a teacher not follow the IEP and then penalize her for not performing to expectation, you bet I'd be mad.

Of course all the other comments regarding the long term dangers of helicopter parenting are also correct. However, unless you know that the other child doesn't have a learning disability, or there weren't extenuating circumstances, you can't just assume the parents were acting like idiots.

mm1970

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Re: Over-parenting...is it helping or hurting?
« Reply #28 on: February 20, 2017, 04:06:13 PM »
Interesting perspectives and I appreciate them all.

I would never even think to tell my son that his friend's parents walked in and basically yelled at the teacher and demanded a re-take. He would be mortified if I did that.....and I also can't see him going in saying "Johnny got to re-take his...so let me re-take mine."

I suppose he could go in and argue the fact that spelling shouldn't matter on a geography test - but if that's how the teacher wanted it, then so be it. He respects his teachers....so even though he's an outspoken, confident kid...I can't see him doing that. He didn't care that much....mostly because he realized it was HIS ERROR...not hers.

He handled it great....it's my parent-brain that won't shut off wondering if I'm screwing him out of a full-ride scholarship because I don't fight for straight A's (joking...but you get the point).

So, I don't really know what to say about this.  Here's my perspective.

I'm not a fan of the helicopter parenting, and I think you did the right thing.  But...

I went to a top-10 engineering school with uber-competitive people.  I myself was uber-competitive, but I'm a country girl who was raised like you are raising your kid.  With integrity.

I was shocked - SHOCKED - at the number of classmates who would basically HOUND and pester teachers for a better grade. I don't think I *really* caught on to it until senior year.  In my junior year, I had a class where I had a high B.  The final was optional, and could only help your grade.  So I took it, figuring it would bump me to an A.  I thought I ACED that test.  I got a B on my report card.  I called the prof (there were 80-90 students in the class, he knew me.)  I asked him about my grade.  He started hemming and hawing and said "well, it's a really high B, but you know I have to make the cut off somewhere."  I asked him "well, how did I do on the final?  I thought I aced it, 120/120."  He said "oh, you did well but it was just a B+".  I said "oh, okay, fine then.  I thought I did better than that.  If I earned a B, then I earned a B."  He was pretty speechless.

It was the following year that I was chatting with some fellow ROTC guys who were also top students, as in, pretty close to straight A's.  (I had a 3.7, these guys were 3.9 - 3.99.)  They were bragging about getting some of their B+'s changed to A's (a + was meaningless for GPA, it was still a 3).

In any event, for a couple of these guys...this has followed them.  They learned to push, prod, and pressure to get what they want (kind of like my kids, really).  I see it in other coworkers these days.  Aggressive, assertive, doesn't hurt to ask, whatever.  They know the game and they play it.  It has *clearly* worked out for many of them.

sjc0816

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Re: Over-parenting...is it helping or hurting?
« Reply #29 on: February 20, 2017, 04:20:42 PM »
Interesting perspectives and I appreciate them all.

I would never even think to tell my son that his friend's parents walked in and basically yelled at the teacher and demanded a re-take. He would be mortified if I did that.....and I also can't see him going in saying "Johnny got to re-take his...so let me re-take mine."

I suppose he could go in and argue the fact that spelling shouldn't matter on a geography test - but if that's how the teacher wanted it, then so be it. He respects his teachers....so even though he's an outspoken, confident kid...I can't see him doing that. He didn't care that much....mostly because he realized it was HIS ERROR...not hers.

He handled it great....it's my parent-brain that won't shut off wondering if I'm screwing him out of a full-ride scholarship because I don't fight for straight A's (joking...but you get the point).

So, I don't really know what to say about this.  Here's my perspective.

I'm not a fan of the helicopter parenting, and I think you did the right thing.  But...

I went to a top-10 engineering school with uber-competitive people.  I myself was uber-competitive, but I'm a country girl who was raised like you are raising your kid.  With integrity.

I was shocked - SHOCKED - at the number of classmates who would basically HOUND and pester teachers for a better grade. I don't think I *really* caught on to it until senior year.  In my junior year, I had a class where I had a high B.  The final was optional, and could only help your grade.  So I took it, figuring it would bump me to an A.  I thought I ACED that test.  I got a B on my report card.  I called the prof (there were 80-90 students in the class, he knew me.)  I asked him about my grade.  He started hemming and hawing and said "well, it's a really high B, but you know I have to make the cut off somewhere."  I asked him "well, how did I do on the final?  I thought I aced it, 120/120."  He said "oh, you did well but it was just a B+".  I said "oh, okay, fine then.  I thought I did better than that.  If I earned a B, then I earned a B."  He was pretty speechless.

It was the following year that I was chatting with some fellow ROTC guys who were also top students, as in, pretty close to straight A's.  (I had a 3.7, these guys were 3.9 - 3.99.)  They were bragging about getting some of their B+'s changed to A's (a + was meaningless for GPA, it was still a 3).

In any event, for a couple of these guys...this has followed them.  They learned to push, prod, and pressure to get what they want (kind of like my kids, really).  I see it in other coworkers these days.  Aggressive, assertive, doesn't hurt to ask, whatever.  They know the game and they play it.  It has *clearly* worked out for many of them.


Thanks for your response. This is what I'm referring to in regards to my parenting....you know, "nice guys finish last" type of thing.  I guess I'm just hoping that he will have learned these lessons young enough that in high school/college/life (when it counts) he will be on autopilot with things like reading thoroughly, teacher expectations, etc.

I also don't expect straight A's...so there's that. Maybe that is wrong too....he's a smart, capable kid.

Cpa Cat

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Re: Over-parenting...is it helping or hurting?
« Reply #30 on: February 20, 2017, 04:41:36 PM »
I think you made the right call. Spelling matters.

But now that he knows that his friend had a chance at a redo, I don't think it's wrong to tell him that if he'd like to approach his teacher privately after class and ask for the same opportunity, he can certainly do so - politely and on his own.

It doesn't serve a person well to back off from asking for what others are receiving. This type of avoidance is what results in some employees never getting equitable raises or promotions. But there's no way that you should go in there. If he wants to do it, then offer to let him practice on you so that he's prepared and makes the best possible presentation.

Hargrove

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Re: Over-parenting...is it helping or hurting?
« Reply #31 on: February 20, 2017, 05:00:03 PM »
It's different if the kid learns to do it him- or herself. The problem is the parents doing it.

Yes, aggressively nagging your way to the top works, unfortunately, because our systems are resource-starved and respect for authority has steadily diminished, as has the willingness to employ more competitive authority figures (e.g., low teacher pay). Creating firm, collaborative consequences for students who aren't doing the work and rewards that creatively encourage them to keep striving is tough. The MMM model basically says "don't worry about the public schools doing all the work - you'll do a lot at home," which is great for those that can, but not something we generally do enough. Enough students and parents are far more concerned with the results than the learning that result-fixing is its own job, in part because of the outrageous amount of testing kids are subjected to, which teachers also really hate. But teachers aren't in charge of it.

The notion that teachers control this is completely insane. Failing a student can get you yelled at, forced to change his grade, or even dismissed as you are blamed for your students' scores (as if they were completely uninvolved - in other words, not a collaborative process). Every nasty retail encounter you've ever witnessed? Imagine those people are parents who lobby for their utterly flawless children and you can guess how fun teaching is outside of the classroom, which is about half the time. Administrators overwhelmingly want those problem encounters to go away, and they incentivize teachers sweeping them under the rug by questioning them at review time if there are too many complaints, and there will be too many complaints if anyone is failing. Parents are strained by many single-parent or dual-working-parent households where folks are extremely critical of their schools (like, buying 500k houses "for the school system") but not being particularly demanding of their children (or too demanding).

I would have loved to be a teacher, except that I don't think we like teachers very much, even though we say we do, because we suspect maybe we should. But the attitude of even many college students when I was in college has increasingly become a paraphrasing of "I pay/my tax dollars pay your salary, so I deserve...". I'm still going to consider it when I'm FI, but between the pay and the administration directly opposed to your doing a good job, I think I'd have to not sweat losing my job to do it well.

LadyStache in Baja

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Re: Over-parenting...is it helping or hurting?
« Reply #32 on: February 22, 2017, 02:47:00 PM »
You're fine.  I don't think his 5th grade grades will really matter.  But the lessons he's learning in responsibility will.