Ok, I’m not the parent of a teenager. I’m about to do something that I think may turn around and bite me in the butt later but I’m going to say what I think I would do if my teenager did this. It’s a story I found on Fox News about how a woman is teaching her son about his bad choices with grades and academics. The ONLY reason I’m putting myself out there about this issue is because I spent 8 years in the school system giving me a perspective that I like to believe is valid. Most likely, when my kids are teenagers, I will regret this post…
If, for some reason, my kid decided to get bad grades or drop out of school or whatever here is my plan (remind me of it when Abby’s looking at me with her big blue puppy-dog eyes):
I will not humiliate my kid. I will not publicly denounce her. My first step will be to try and find out what the problem is. Are they having a learning difficulty? Do they need glasses, tutoring, more time with Mommy hanging over their shoulder while they work out their homework?
If it comes down to pure and simple laziness, which I have discovered is a huge problem with high school aged students, she (since I only have girls right now) will start to lose things. Phone, internet access, clothing allowance.
My obligations to my child are to put a roof over their heads, feed them, and make sure they aren’t naked, and teach them the best I know how to be responsible, God-fearing adults. Everything after that is privilege. If my parents taught me anything, that was it. (Yes, you did something right! You were wonderful parents…)
They will not have a cell phone, laptop, ipod, out-to-eat provided my mom and dad, gym membership, travel, car privileges, car insurance, gas money clothing allowance or anything like that. If they want to eat, they can eat what is in the fridge. If they want to talk to someone on the phone, they can use the land line. If they NEED clothing, I will take them to the Goodwill with $10 and they can get what they NEED. This is all to show them that if they want to put in minimal effort, this is the state they will be living in whether they are living with me or on their own in this world. I don’t want to instill in my kids the idea that laziness will be overlooked or even rewarded.
Now, if they decide (and I hope that would motivate them to decide quickly) to get their grades up to acceptable levels (I emphasize that any time I’m asked for help I would be VERY willing to sit and help them as much as I can, and if I can’t teach them what needs to be taught, I would happily hire a tutor or take them to private meetings with a willing teacher. BUT I will also say that as a teacher, the majority of my “helping” with students included making sure they READ the directions and followed them properly…), their privileges will be restored slowly.
I want to provide my kids with cool stuff. I am of the opinion that their job is to go to school, get good grades and maybe work an after school job if they want. If they do this well, I will reward it like you would get paid at a job. I want some opinions on this, specifically from people who have teenagers. Is my plan totally flawed? Yes, I’m putting myself out there. I’m asking for criticism (hopefully positive), suggestions, ideas and discussion.