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Going Parental: Parents that do their kids’ homework. Seriously.

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What kind of a parent does their kids’ homework for them? Like, actually does it for them, not helps. It seems to be an ongoing struggle for parents these days. I read an interesting piece by Sue Shellenbarger on The Juggle last week. I guess it’s kind of like this whole Keeping Up with the Steins mentality. Parents want their children to succeed, and heaven forbid they aren’t holding their own against their peers. So one parent starts and another gets wind of it and before you know it, you’ve got a bunch of 40-year-olds sitting at the kitchen table with rubber cement, a shoe box, modeling clay and construction paper — while their kids are in the den playing Grand Theft Auto on PS3. Yeah. That’ll get ’em into college.

I understand the overwhelming desire that we, as parents, have for our children to succeed. Or maybe I don’t.

All I can really comment on are the things I do know. My three-year-old is in nursery school. She knows her numbers, her letters and she’s even starting to write a little bit. Her eagerness to learn and do things for herself is amazing to me. I just can’t imagine ever stifling that by doing her work for her.

Based on the type of person she is today, I imagine she will be the kind of kid that won’t really want that much help, or if she does, I certainly can’t see her allowing me to do her assignments. She’s independent — very insistent on doing things for herself. But yes, I realize that she is three. Things will change.

The reality is I have no idea what kind of student she will be in the future. She might be a lazy bastard like I was and just say she’s too stupid to do well in school. I tried that shit for years. My mother wasn’t buying it. She got me tutors, sat and helped me study and work on reports, but she never did my work for me. She helped. But there was always that line.

Personally, I think she nailed it. I was an average high school student at best. I got by, but it was always the same old song and dance from my teachers on open school night — “Jackie’s a smart girl, she just doesn’t apply herself enough. She also needs to stop talking so much and making everyone laugh. It’s very distracting.” Yeah, like that was gonna happen.

It didn’t change the way my parents handled me and my school work. They weren’t going to do it for me just so I would get good grades and advance. They just yelled instead and didn’t let me out at night. But you know what? It worked. Once I got into college, it all changed. I was still lazy and I totally fucked around, but at the end of the day, I did my work and received excellent grades. I have to say, I even surprised myself. To this day my mother still says, “See! You weren’t stupid. You’re were just a lazy ass.”

She was right. I had to figure it out for myself. Even if it meant watching me fail. The ends justified the means.

I think that parents today need to take a step back and realize that they’re not helping their kids by doing their work for them. What they’re really doing is robbing them of the knowledge they’ll need to succeed later in life, teaching them that it’s OK to cheat and ultimately showing themselves to be complete and utterly selfish bastards.

I wonder if there’s any connection between this type of parenting and the frighteningly high instance of stupid politicians in this country? It would actually explain a lot. Just sayin’.

Going Parental appears every Thursday. Stupid parents have always appeared — now they’re just more vocal about it.

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5 Responses to “Going Parental: Parents that do their kids’ homework. Seriously.”

  1. Totally agree. It is one thing for a parent to be aware of assignments their kid is bringing home and even to sit at the table with them helping them/guiding them with the best ways to go about molding that clay… but I can’t understand – and wonder what parents are thinking – when they do the work for their kids.

  2. Jaclyn’s excellent piece points to a much larger problem that was the subject of a recent cover story in Time Magazine – the now multi-generational epidemic of overparenting. I wonder if this is partly a perverse effect of greater gender equality and more working moms and involved dads. Whatever it is, it wasn’t a problem when I was growing up. We all seem to be overcompensating for something in raising our kids. And we stuff their lives with activities, depriving them of the need and opportunity to learn and play on their own. They need a lot of love and attention and help, to be sure, but independence too. Fellow-parents: if you are totally comfortable with the level of your kids’ independence, it probably means they don’t have enough.

  3. Frannie was working on her “life timeline” last night. For two hours. We drew (I held the ruler) 2 lines, wrote 2004 – 2009, her name and a title. That’s it. Ugh. It would have been very easy to push her aside, do it myself and be done in 15 minutes. Lol!

  4. You were never avergage– schools just need to figure out that kids and even adults learn differently! Some have an incredible creativity, curiosity, knack for expressing themselves, and yes, making others laugh. That’s not a waste. That’s a kid who needs to be inpsired in a way that a typical 9th grade science class fails to do. And are you in any way worse off for not knowing th periodic table backwards and forwards? Doubtful

  5. great piece jacks! sorry i missed it when you wrote it! so true! we wont do jessie’s homework for her but we will help her when she needs it!

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