Why my child is not grounded this weekend
Posted Wednesday, April 13, 2016
I have to assume that most parents, like me, are just doing the best they can. As it often appears that others are doing it better than me, I’m open to suggestions. I have plenty of room for improvement…..PLENTY.
I’ve always heard there is no instructional manual that comes with kids. Oddly, there are 1,144 books about parenting school age children on Amazon. It’s not that I discount the “experts,” it’s that it just seems everyone’s a critic.
As a parent, I dutifully read the articles and expert blog posts about the plague of “overparenting” today. As a parent of ADHD children, I also read about how I might better support my children and teach them how to manage the world. So, for me, every parenting move becomes a bickering match in my head and goes something like this:
Well-intentioned parent friend says, “If my child didn’t do their project, they’d just have to live with that bad grade. Children need to experience the natural consequences for their actions. I would never swoop in to fix that for my child.”
My parenting response: Yes. School is the priority in our home. The expectation is that you will do your homework. If you do not do your homework then you will lose a privilege. Natural consequences for our behaviors are important life lessons.
Reality: What do you mean the projects on the three independent reading books are all due tomorrow? They were assigned at the beginning of the nine weeks! We talked about this! Have you read the books? OK. That’s good. Where are the summaries? It’s OK. We can redo those. Where are the books? At the library…. At school…. OK. The public library is closed now, too, so that’s out. Kindle! We can download them! You can’t remember the titles? Seriously? Did you really read them? Are you telling me the truth? Can you find the rubric from the teacher at least? Just bring me your bookbag. Hey - are the summaries on yellow cards from the teacher? I think I found them here in the bottom of your bookbag. It’s OK! Stop crying. No, really - we can just flatten them back out.
Overparenting warning: Let him figure it out. If he didn’t budget his time wisely, that’s on him.
ADHD mom: Executive functioning deficits are real. Work with the teacher to develop a support system to ensure that large projects are broken down into manageable tasks with due dates along the way.
Overparenting Warning: He gets the “F” because that’s what he earns on the rubric. Neatness and presentation are an important part of the project and examples were provided.
ADHD mom: That grade is worth a third of grade for the whole quarter. If he gets the “F,” he fails the quarter. He read the books and wrote the summaries. Is the natural consequence for that REALLY failing the class? Shouldn’t I just help him salvage what he can?
This parenting gig is hard. I worry every day that I’m doing too much for my kids while simultaneously worrying that I’m not supporting them enough. I do know that the line we have to find as parents is different for every child. I also know that the line for each child moves as they get older. Students may mature and learn to manage themselves more independently. As parents, we have to be aware enough to step back. Conversely, as expectations increase for them, we may actually have to increase our supports at home. Wherever that line is for our children, it’s important that we walk it with love.
Fortunately, we have experts right here in our area to help us navigate life impacted by ADHD. Families with ADHD students in grades eight through 12 are invited to participate in Children’s Hospital Center for ADHD’s research on the impact of ADHD on sleep and the impact on adolescent drivers. Letters describing those opportunities were sent home with students last week. (I’ve posted them as a downloadable file to this story because they would never make it home in my family…. see above.)
Our partnership with Children’s Hospital Center for ADHD provides us with access to the center’s experts. We invite students and families to participate in studies that help those experts better understand the impact of ADHD on children. We do not provide any student information to the Center for ADHD. Interested families should contact them directly at the number provided in the letter.
This May, professionals from the Center for ADHD will be working with Loveland staff as we continue to grow professionally in our understanding and support of students with ADHD at school. We are excited about this opportunity to increase our effectiveness with students to better support our Tigers.
In service to our Tigers,
Dr. Amy Crouse
Assistant Superintendent, Teaching & Learning
Posted April 13, 2016