I’m Raising Them To Leave Me

Last night I went to a parent teacher conference for one of my children.

All in all, he is doing great and I am a proud mama.

When I got home and had space to think (read: laying in bed, trying to fall asleep… it’s where I do my best deepest thinking, who needs sleep anyway?) something struck me about the conversation with that sweet teacher.

You see, this particular child is doing great, especially when he applies himself.

However, this kiddo can also act like a kid and rush through an assignment, get distracted, or maybe just not care as much as he should.

She discussed a few tactics of how she was going to keep him on track.
(Do you think it would be too much to ask her to convince him that he must practice these skills at home while say… cleaning his room? I mean, practice makes perfect, right?)

I praised her for her efforts,
I praised her for her endurance,
and I praised her for sticking to her guns.

She looked a bit bewildered for a moment… it was like she was waiting for the next foot to drop.
Like maybe, I was going to follow up the praise with excuses or justifications.

There was moment of awkward silence.
(This is becoming more and more common in my life.)

Then she thanked me.

The rest of the conference was great but while I was trying to sleep last night, I just kept replaying that one particular piece of the conversation.

She. Thanked. Me.

Then it hit me…
teachers are not given the freedom to teach these days,
their hands are often tied, and parents are constantly breathing down their necks.

We need to get out of the way and let teachers teach.

Now don’t get me wrong.. of course, as parents it is our job to protect our kids from harm and injustice.
I am, by no means, suggesting that you stop doing that.
(Be warned…I will show you a whole new level of cray cray if you are harming my child.)

But what about all the uncomfortable stuff for your kid?
What about having to redo an assignment?
What about having to miss a recess, sit in a time out?
What about when the teacher doesn’t have mercy on them for their late assignment and they get a zero?

What are we teaching our kids if we swoop in to save the day every time things don’t go their way?

I’ll tell you what you are teaching them…
You are teaching them they can’t do this thing called life on their own.
You are teaching them mom and dad have more power than all other authority figures.
You are teaching them if you whine a little you will get your way.

Those are all lies.

Being their heroic protector now is only putting a bandaid on the issue which will continue to fester and become a gaping wound in their adult life.

When our kids venture out into the big bad world…
we will not be able to email a college professor to “discuss” the latest issues,
we will not be able to storm a college campus to reprimand an unfair grade,
we will not be able to scorn their boss to help them get their way,
and let’s hope we don’t think we will be able to get all up in their marriage.

We have to teach our kids how to handle life.IMG_2470 Key and Heart Photography November 03, 2012 2 (Copy)

We have to let them fail and then teach them how to recover.

Sometimes this is hard to watch, painful even… but it is truly forming the character of that future adult.

I want to raise our kids to be prepared to work hard and own up to their own mistakes.
I want them to be equipped to persevere the trials and tribulations that life will undoubtedly throw at them.

I truly believe it is better for them to progressively learn these lessons while they are under our roof.
Little people, little problems… bigger people, bigger problems.

It is our job to walk beside or behind them in these struggles.
It is not our job to go before them.

We have to raise them to NOT need us.
We have to raise them to leave us.
(it’s ok to cry now)


I am particularly interested to find out what my teacher readers have to say about this!
Share the post on Facebook, would ya? Let’s create a larger conversation.

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234 thoughts on “I’m Raising Them To Leave Me

  1. Gosh, there are so many things I could say. Number one, say thanks to the teachers of your kids, please. They need it, believe me. They have a lot to deal with and they have a pretty strong influence on young people, just based on the amount of time they spend with them. Yes, be the net to catch those kids when they fall. But let them fall, pick them up, hug them, talk about it, and let them fall again. Teach them to trust their instincts with kids and adults. And let some of the cool things they see in their teachers, coaches, pastors, scout masters, etc…rub off on them. You found a way to learn and grow and have the guts to get up and do it again. And now you get that chance to pay it forward. Be proud of your accomplishments and hold high standards for your kids. If it makes sense, let them read some of your heart in these words that you share with complete strangers, and dear friends. They are badges of courage and I am sure your kids would benefit from seeing this side of you. The teachers should always thank the parents for trusting them with their children. It is an honor and sacred responsibility to spend time with another persons child. I know I am very grateful for all the parents that have trusted me over the years to be a “TEACHER”.
    Thanks for sharing.
    Respectfully submitted
    Mr. Maxwell

    • Well said Mr. Maxwell, I love the idea of sharing some of the posts with the kids! I just might do that! (I always try to keep in mind that they will someday have access to the old WWW and try to write accordingly.)
      Love the perspective! Thank you for sharing!!

    • YES! This comment NAILED IT: What are we teaching our kids if we swoop in to save the day every time things don’t go their way?

      I’ll tell you what you are teaching them…
      You are teaching them they can’t do this thing called life on their own.
      You are teaching them mom and dad have more power than all other authority figures.
      You are teaching them if you whine a little you will get your way.

      You would be amazed at how many people still “helicopter” parent their kids in college. To me, that is cray cray.

      • I am confused, Did you say “What are we teaching our kids if we swoop in to save the day every time things don’t go their way?”

        Usually you would answer this self imposed question with: “What am I doing wrong to make this happen?” I’ll tell you what.

        What are we teaching our kids if we swoop in to save the day every time things don’t go their way?” Did you mean that we ARE swooping in to save their day, or that we should not swoop in to save their day?

        If you DO teach them that we will not swoop in to save the day, you are teaching them:

        1.) “They in fact CAN do this life thing on their own.”

        2.) You are teaching them that MOM and DAD actually have LESS power than authority figures.” and

        3,)” You are not to WHINE to get your way.” (Very abused today. Most people WHINE about their life, starting from childhood.”

        Teach them to take care of themselves and think of others while they are doing it.

    • Absolutely 100% agree!! As a teachers aide and a parent of two amazing young adults I love this!! No one makes kids accountable anymore! And the lack of family support blows me away! But I know it is teachers that saved me as a kid and believed in me and that is what I encourage kids to do daily. Take responsibility for your actions! Thank you for writing this!

  2. As I was reading your post, Christen, I just had to smile. My mother was a teacher as are two of my sisters and so would have been my brother if he hadn’t died so soon. I studied to become a teacher and ended up pursuing another career. I don’t regret my decision, it was the right one for me but I have had only the highest respect for the special people who teach, nurture and love our children. I believe classroom teachers are underpaid, overworked and seem to be the scapegoats for pretty near all of society’s ills which is totally unwarrented more often than not. It is our responsibility as parents to work alongside our teachers to give our children the best educational experience possible. We need to compliment the efforts of our children’s teachers and sometimes that means facing certain facts about our children. I know I wasn’t a perfect child nor were my children and yet we turned out OK. We are law-abiding, productive and contributing citizens of this great country. Not too shabby if I have to say so myself! And I think all of us would attribute a good portion of our happiness and success, (you know who gets the biggest nod!), to the people who showed up a minimum of five days per week to share their love and passion for learning with us. They deserve much more thanks than we will ever be able to give them but I’m sure every single teacher you ask would say the appreciation of a parent, just a simple, heart-felt “Thank You for what you do for my child in your classroom every day.”, goes a very long way in conveying our sentiments and validating the hard work they do.

  3. My mom and sister both teach at the elementary level and I teach at the college. We can all attest to the many problems created if you do not let your child have some failures and struggles of their own. We can also discuss the issues that come with neglecting children. I doubt readers of your blog fall into the neglectful category so I’ll focus on the independence aspect you have written about! Kids should absolutely be taught to think for themselves, take constructive criticism and accept consequences. I have witnessed too many young adults who have not had these expectations and instead have been told and taught to think just like their parents and be an extension of them. Many have also been taught they’re such a special snowflake that they are above the rules. This causes problems in their education, profession, decision making skills and in all their relationships. Bravo Christen for supporting your kids and supporting the teachers who are doing the same.

    • Thank you for adding to the conversation! It’s amazing how crippling this can be for our future adults… I can see it as I reflect on the success of some of my childhood classmates.

    • Hallaluia! I am a professor and the “special snowflakes” really do struggle. Parents, please, for the love of Pete, let them fail a few times!!! They’ll be so much better equipped to handle the rough roads ahead if they know how to pick themselves up, dust off and try, try again.

  4. Sounds like you all used to go to a school where the parents backed the teachers and the kids were held accountable…You & Shane are AWESOME-Sauce!! Proud to have shared at least part of the journey with ya’ll!!!

  5. Thank you! This is a conversation that needs to be had by more parents. I am a teacher, and I found that the students who did the best across the board (academics, independence, social life, basic skills, etc.) were the ones who had parents who knew where to draw the line in terms of helping their child.
    I firmly believe that children who feel a little uncomfortable and who are met with natural consequences for poor choices (zero on an assignment that was late, missing part of recess or losing a classroom privilege because of unruly behavior) are better for it.
    I try to practice this as I parent my own child, as well as being firm but fair in the classroom.

    • Thank you! Kids learn more from a failure than they do from an “A”. Let them learn this early in life when the stakes
      are not so high.

      • Oh my goodness – I love the statement “let them learn this early in life when the stakes are so high” – I am a grandparent with twins who are coming 22 this year. I WISH I had had the above statement when they were young. Now I am struggling to get the young man on his feet. The girl is doing a lot better probably because she “got life” earlier. Right now I am 67 years old and I am drawing on information I needed long ago. Hopefully I will be able to put some of this information to work for myself. Grandparents shouldn’t have to raise children or should I say young adults.

  6. Amen, and amen! I feel that this generation of parents is crippling their kids! What are our colleges going to look like in ten years? Suicidal kids? Anxiety galore? Drop out rates through the roof? We are not perfect parents, and we have failed in some areas, but I REFUSE to swoop in and solve a problem that they can solve themselves or learn from. It’s all about life lessons and coping skills for adulthood. By the way, I am an elementary music teacher and am seeing this daily. I am also seeing a ton of parents not parenting! Their kids have been told no rarely and aren’t made to do much for themselves. Respect is a foreign word. The two extremes are fascinating and terrifying for our country’s future. Thanks for your perspective!

  7. Thank you! I am a teacher & it is very frustrating having parents make excuses on why their child didn’t do their homework or didn’t study and then get mad because they have bad grades. It’s also frustrating when parents don’t work with their child at home. Our goal is to teach the foundational skills to be able to learn the material and apply it. But we can’t make them remember, make them practice it or study it. We teach the skills, the rest is up to them and their parents. Teachers now a days are expected to be lawyers, doctors, guidance counselors, social workers, oh and an actual teacher with just a teacher degree. Forget also being a parent, sibling, son or daughter, wife or husband… Who has time for that when you’re a teacher.

    • You are welcome. I love how you said, “We teach the skills, the rest is up to them and their parents.” Great perspective!

    • I sort of have a problem with the part where parents are expected to work with the children at home. Sure, calling out spelling words, or helping them memorize multiplication tables is one thing, but it is the child’s responsibility from day one to do homework and practice the skills taught at school, not the parents.

      I see so many FB posts where parents complain about their child’s homework. My sister and her husband are constantly having to work on things with their oldest. I don’t understand why many teachers think parents need to be constantly involved in their child’s school wotk, or that they even have the time to do so. School and the resultant homework and projects are the child’s JOB. Think of it as practice for adulthood. We don’t have constant supervision at our places of businesss, so why are we setting up children to expect it, with heavy parental involvement when it comes to homework? The parents already did their time in school. Now it’s the child’s turn.

      I did the work from the get go as a student. Not my parents. They helped when I had a question, but I had to ask them to give me my spelling words, or go over my multiplication tables with me, or work through something else. All the successes and all the failures I had in school were MINE and I was so much better prepared for college and the workplace than many of my peers.

      And that’s not to say that my parents weren’t involved in my education. My mother was at every parent teacher conference, every IEP, every open house, every awards ceremony and if she thought we weren’t being challenged or held responsible, she was making phone calls, asking what can be done differently. But she let us handle our education, both the successes and the failures and the both expected us to do our job and do it well, because it wasn’t theirs to do.

      • First, Christen, great post and I completely agree! Thank you for appreciating teachers and understanding that the little lessons along the way is what builds resiliency in our babies and what will ultimately make them thoughtful, contributing citizens of this great country!

        And lanelise, I agree! As an elementary teacher and mother of 4 (who are all very different learners), I believe it is the job of the teacher to teach the academics/curriculum and ensure students understand and learn the content. Parents are teachers too, however they are teachers of much more important skills, all the social and life skills that need to be practiced much more often than they are (being healthy, empathic, being a contributing member of a family/community/country/world, dealing with emotions, etc). If classroom teachers could focus more on academics and parents had more time to spend on parenting, focusing on things like I mentioned above, rather than doing/monitoring homework to ensure it’s done, then I believe we would see more well-rounded, well-adjusted, resilient children!

        Too often, teachers race through content without realizing how many are left behind, then assign homework students cannot do on their own. Part of this is due to the pressures of standardized testing and/or school districts unrealistic expectations of children’s developmental progress, but a piece of it is the teachers inability to step back and be willing to slow down when needed…and I get it, there are lots of pressures and time constraints we deal with daily, by my job is to ensure a safe, supportive environment where all learn!

        Homework, which is a whole other issue, is essentially a way to independently practice what we teach and for students to apply what they learn in an engaging way…too often what I see for my own children is homework they are not capable of doing independently, is not terribly engaging, and is given because there are homework guidelines that must be met! There are so many fun ways to practice what we teach but we are too often squelching their inner curiosity and love of learning. One of my favorite quotes is “If we teach the love of learning, the learning itself is sure to follow.” ~ Sir John Lubbock…this is our job as teachers! If we fail to do this, fail to help our children see all the incredible things there are to learn about our world, fail to learn about our students’ loves and interests and use these as entry points into whatever we need to teach, fail to help our students see the connection between the classroom and the real world…we have failed! Parents (and society) need to stop blaming teachers and teachers need to stop blaming parents (and society) for a child’s struggles…be supportive and work as a team (as Christen does!) and we will all be successful!

      • Yeah! Ianelise, I could not agree more and I am so excited to see another parent with this philosophy. It’s rare, you know and I even have to remind my husband to back off. Why do I need texts every night telling me what my kids homework is? It’s not MY homework. I am not responsible for it (unless it becomes a problem where my kid is not doing it). And I help when there is a question and do send the occasional emails to teachers as I have a son with ADHD who is not going to finish a writing assignment in class filled with his chatty friends. (Rolling my eyes.) He’ll learn when he gets tired of having to do it at home. Let them be responsible. It will make them much better adults.

  8. AMEN! I am a grandmother and have teacher friends. I totally agree with these thoughts and praise you for saying them. We have got to give our schools and teachers the credit and tools they need to help the parents raise good, ethical adults. The schools have their hands tied TOO much. Spats didn’t hurt anybody that I grew up with and a little embarrassment as a child can save from huge embarrassments in the workplace or even run-ins with the law. Hope everyone will read this and spread it around.

    • Thank you so much for the encouragement. (it makes it a bit easier to be so bold when you know there are people behind you.)

  9. This approach to parenting is number two on my list of raising successful adults. I remember a back to school night when my daughter’s very third grade looking project was hanging outside the class with many clearly polished projects surrounding it. Parents were smugly bragging about their (own) creations. I noticed that it was clear that only two other children did their work without mom and dad’s artistic and computer skills. I knew the other two families that left it up to their kids to do their own work and quickly concluded that our children will be just fine on their own. Later, the teacher pulled me aside and said not to worry, she grades on a third grade level. I replied that I wasn’t going back to third grade just to get an A hung on the wall. I got picked for room mom. Raising successful adults starts with 1. Read read read every day. 2. I will never go to CVS on a Sunday night to buy materials for a project due on Monday and assigned a week ago. My daughters are now adults who appreciate that they worked for every grade they earned.

    • Oh yes, the science projects are the worst!!! Sounds like you did a wonderful job with your girls, love getting the seasoned mom’s perspective. Thank you.

    • A lot of teachers give bad grades to the students who do their own projects because they are not neat enough and give A’s to the students whose parents do their projects for them. My boys have been heart broken over making bad grades on projects that they thought they did a good job on, but the teachers didn’t think so.

      • I always informed the teachers for all 6 of my kids that they did all projects on their own. Not by me like most of the other parents and I expected them to be graded fairly for doing their own work. You could always tell that almost all the other projects were done by the parents. Sad. My parents never did mine and I didn’t do theirs. Parents are NOT doing their kids a favor by doing this. Supply them with what they need for their project and their vision for their project. Don’t do it for them !

  10. Perfectly written! Makes so much sense as a teacher. Too many times we are trying to please parents rather than teaching children a lesson. It is an honor and privilege to spend so much time with others’ children. I spend more time with other children than I do my own. I love them all and am protective of each and every one of them. That being said, it’s heart wrenching to hear as a parent all the while knowing it has to be done. My oldest is in K at the school I work at and it is tough to back off and let her be who she is and not interfere with her education. I have to remember I’m a parent and must contact the teacher in that capacity rather than stopping in at lunch to see how the day went. It’s been a learning experience thus far but in the end I know she will be better for it. As a teacher and parent, I thank you for writing this!

    • Thank you so much for your beautiful response. I can’t imagine how hard it would be to “stay out of it” if we were all on the same campus. It sounds like you are bing very intentional. Good job, Mom!

    From a high school teacher.

    Students also need to learn that there are a lot of different teaching styles. There will also be a lot of different managers, supervisors, bosses, and people in their life.

    Every teacher’s goal is to prepare students for the next level. Not every teacher is going to hug them, and love them, and pat them on the head every day while they tell them how special they are.

    Points off, not being picked, and being held accountable is part of the whole experience. Kids might not get the fun teacher or the nice teacher. Some material is boring. So long as the teacher is being fair, not hurting the students and is teaching the content – they are doing their job. I think I learned more from those tough, old-school, teachers than I ever did from the fun and easy ones.

    More parents need to thank their teachers and show them respect.

  12. I made this mistake with my youngest child. He is 32, and I am still suffering because of it. We learn from our mistakes! He is paralyzed by the fear of making mistakes.

    • To be fair, it can be just as damaging to go to far in the opposite direction. I was an all A student through all of elementary and middle-school, and mostly in high school. Any time I made any kind of mistake, no matter how small I was punished severely (imagine being in second grade and not receiving your allowance for misspelling a single word on a spelling test, misspelling two meant no allowance and a spanking). No accomplishment was ever enough, but any failure was too much. It didn’t make me strong or independent, it made me terrified and meek. It’s taken a long time for me to not be terrified of consequences for mistakes, no matter how small; but hey, I have perfect spelling.

  13. As a teacher of 4th and 5th graders, I couldn’t agree more. I love teaching my kids and watching the light come on when they “get it”. One of my biggest struggles is with students who are never allowed to struggle to find a solution; or even fail to come up with the correct answer. Students of today often lack creativity and persistence. They must be entertained to learn and they are often unwilling to do the mundane, monotonous tasks that result in long term learning; such as memorize multiplication facts, spelling or vocabulary words, etc. Education seems to have placed its focus on higher learning at the expense of the basic knowledge learning that is the foundation that higher learning is built on. Today, we are trying to teach higher learning skills without the foundation of knowledge skills. There is very little repetition of skills to produce mastery. Students are expected to just absorb it quickly and keep going. This isn’t reality in a regular classroom of today. You are doing an wonderful thing in expecting your child to be responsible and independent! Great job!

  14. I have always said from day one that I was raising husbands and good upstanding adults and not children. So I agree we must raise them to be able to handle life without us. !

  15. I sure wish I had more parents like you. I can deal with the kids and the trials and tribulations that brings on a daily basis, but it is the parents who nit pick everything you do for their child that is driving me, as well as others, away from being able to do our job.

  16. As both a mother & an educator let me say, “Hallelujah!!” My husband & I had the very same philosophy raising our son. At 22, he bought his own home, & is living on his own.

  17. Of course this is right. Parents are doing their children no favors and are ruining them when they try to “protect” them from a teacher. Teachers are not trying to punish children but teach them. When parents undermine each other or adults in their child’s life who are there to teach or coach them, they are ONLY harming the child.

  18. I lived by the rule that one day my kids will move out, so make sure you are friends with your husband. My kids moved out and are successfully living on their own and my husband and I are still friends after 41 years.

  19. I saw this on a post of my baby sister on Facebook and thought I’d read it to see what it was saying. I really don’t know who you are, but by the pics posted above you look to be in your 20’s or maybe very early 30’s. However, I want to encourage you!!! I raised 4 girls over the last 30 years and 90% of that time I was both Dad and Mom to them. (I don’t have enough time or space to go into the details) I’ve been a fulltime Pastor for the last 28 years and as a family we’ve gone through some stuff!!! Unwanted divorce, courts splitting the kids down the middle to live 6 hours apart from each other, etc… As a single man/Dad for the last 17 years I never changed the way I dealt with my girls through all the stuff. I honored their teachers, principals, coaches, school leaders/authorities all the time! IF at a parent teacher meeting I found out that one of them weren’t doing what they were supposed to do I would thank the teacher for letting me know and assure her/him that I’d talk with the child and if they didn’t see a change in them to let me know!!! My girls knew that Daddy would not undermine a teacher at all, but I would hold them accountable for what the teacher had said. All of my girls are out of school except for the baby girl that’s still in college, but they are all doing an excellent job at everything they do. They learned that Dad wasn’t going to accuse everyone else of being the problem when it was their choices that were wrong AND that if they had an issue I expected them to go speak with the person in authority to work to resolve it. My girls are very good at dealing with life issues that come their way and they all do it in a very respectful manner and they are praised by everyone that works with them for how they deal with problems. What you have said here is ABSOLUTELY what parents should be doing with their children. I can garauntee you that your children will be prepared for the “big world” and will be able to deal with the issues that arise in their lives as adults, because of the manner in which you patterned for them to do so!!! Lastly, my number 3 daughter teaches 3rd grade students and has been for the last 3 years and she holds to very strict rules in her classroom. Her principle, superintendant, school board, parents and students, absolutely LOVE HER, because she hasn’t gotten her students to do things that none of the other teachers have been able to. Yet, the biggest problem she has is parents that aren’t being real parents to their children at home! If Parents will love their children enough to teach them to respect God given, God ordained authorities in their lives we could change the entire face of this nation once again for the good!!!

    R. Smith

  20. I am a kindergarten teacher, and I say, “You are my hero!!” Fortunately, I have several parents like you, and they are a blessing. I see the opposite all too often. And you are right-these children are going to grow up helpless, expecting to win every time and always be on top. I have to teach them how to lose; How to play in a group and not be first. I have to teach them that they will not be great at everything they try (shock)!!! I understand e sentiment that says, “You can be anything you want to be”, but that’s just not true. I could never be a surgeon or a basketball player! Instead we should teach them to dream, yes, but to set goals, to see where their strengths lie. Please continue to say, “Thank you” to the teachers. It means more than anything you could give. Teachers need to hear that what they are doing matters. I keep a memory box, and in it, besides little notes from my children, are notes from parents that say, “thank you for ____”.

  21. As a teacher friend my hardest year I had as a parent was when my son had a teacher who was a little bit tougher, a lot more of a rule follower than me…and well I was miserable but I kept my cool and let her teach on….looking back it was THE best thing for my boy…who I may have babied just a little too much!! And it was the best thing for me because I realized that not everyone has to be just like me as a teacher!!

  22. Amen! Hallelujah! Hooray! Hurrah! Good for you! Bravo! Snap! You da Bomb! Rad!
    I’m running out of ways to say I wish the parents of all my students felt the way you do. I teach Pre-Algebra to 8th graders and if their parents had your viewpoint on education and the future for their children my job would be so much easier instead of a struggle. If I had a dollar for every time I had a parent thank me for teaching their child or even just back me instead of their precious “snowflake” (as one person commented), over the last 26 years of teaching I might be able to buy myself lunch. Now, if I earned just a quarter for the amount of times parents gave me excuses as to why “Little Johnny/Susie” should be able to make up a zero, retake a test they did not prepare for, or why their homework was late, etc. I’m sure I could buy dinner for myself and seven friends and spring for a movie. It is truly amazing.

    I explain to my students that we are trying to prepare them for the real world. A world in which they will need to think, problem solve and be independent from their parents. They will grow up and face a world that has deadlines and late fees and excuses will not work. Many parents are preparing the way for their adult aged child to be living on their couch playing video games and watching Netflix. One day they will look back and wonder where it all went wrong.

    I used to teach high school and it was easier (note- I did not say easy) because the “tough” kids would spend most of their day in internal suspension and eventually drop out. You would then have kids in the classroom, which for the most part, wanted to learn. As a teacher I hated that because when a student drops out what will the future hold for them without a basic high school education? I went back to middle school where I originally started my career to try and influence the students to become better prepared. If they have not learned accountability, persistence and planning by middle school the high school years will be rough and it does not need to be that way. My favorite line in your blog is, “We need to get out of the way and let teachers teach.” Some kids need to fall down and get that F that they deserve and then attend Saturday or Summer School to make up the credit. They need to be issued a detention or a referral for mouthing off or other inappropriate behavior. They need to learn that there are consequences for their poor choices, inadequate planning or bad actions. We see in society what happens when people believe they are above the rules/laws. It usually does not end well.

    I plan on sharing your blog with my students. I’m curious to see what they think. And contrary to what it seems many parents believe, children want their parents to parent. They can be their friends when they are adults and out on their own. Thank you for your blog. It gives me some hope that there may be more parents like you out there and I will actually be able to retire doing the job that I do actually love.

    Karen B – Educator in South Florida

  23. The short reply is yet another… Thank you!!! I am a teacher. I taught for 26 years. I can only speak from my own experience, and I know how dedicate the teachers on my staff are. We work hard… because we want the best for our students! I am always grateful to parents who are actively part of their children’s lives … on so many levels! Learning is not about getting “it” right. Learning is about mucking about with new concepts, reflecting on our behaviors or the results of something we tried, gathering data and figuring out what to do next, risking failure to learn what we can learn… It is so many things, and to have a parent who is supportive and understanding and knows how to help us become independent, confident, and courageous!! What a gift that is!
    Thank you again!

  24. The other thing they need to learn is that not everyone gets a trophy. They need to learn that they will lose sometimes. Also, if they are having a problem with a teacher, help them try and work it out before you run to the rescue. Then step in if it is not working. I have always encouraged my children to be independent, but they always had rules and had to be responsible. Sometimes it hurts your heart to ground them because they missed curfew, but you are there parent. It makes them better a better person. Don’t be a helicopter mom. Give them confidence by letting them make decisions that are reasonable. Always be there for them no matter what.

  25. Do you want them to be 46 and living in your house? Thought not, help them open a bank account, make them buy groceries by themselves, cook, clean, do the wash, mow the grass, pay some bills, call and make appointments, get their hair cut, go to the doctor and dentists, pick up the dry cleaning, send thank you cards, write checks, send invitations, go to camp, work a real job and by 18 if you guided them they are ready to go. IF they can’t cook, clean, handle a check book, unstop the commode, and reset the electrical breakers, change a tire and run a weed eater, snow blower and chain saw your a pitiful parent.

  26. As a teacher, I truly appreciate your self awareness as a parent. I work at a middle school, 6th grade, which is the first year of middle school where I work. Much of what we do in the first half of the year is teach students, but almost as important, teach parents that they need to start letting their students own what they do- the good and the bad. I oftentimes come across parents who swoop in to excuse, explain, or complain about the grade I “gave” the student…it is always difficult to explain to these parents I am not giving a grade, the student is earning a grade. Most parents do an excellent job of letting their students be themselves and let them take on the rewards or the consequences. It is my belief and my experience that kids will aim for the bar you set, so you better set it high. I’ve seen some amazing kids go beyond what even they thought possible, but someone has to show them just how far they can go. As a mother of a 10 month old, I have yet to face the challenges of when to step in and how, but I hope my experience sitting on the other side of these conferences will give me somewhat of a heads up. Only time will tell. Thank you. And yes, as tough as it is to admit…we are training all of our kiddos (my own and my students [I call them my kiddos too]) to leave us. If they can stand on their own two feet without us, we’ve done our job.

  27. Love this! I teach and I am a mother to 4 totally different children : 23 year old, 21, 17, and 11 — all unique in their own way. Thanks for being a supportive parent. You have it! Everything you said is so true. Keep up the great work! Good teachers are not their to punish your child. Good teachers are their to teach your child what they need to learn not only about academics, but they are there to teach about life as well. LIFE! It is an ever changing world and we must help these children be successful ADULTS in today’s world. We must always praise the children on things that they do well and encourage them in a positive way when things need to change. Constructive criticism always worked the best with my own children.

  28. I teach and feel this is accurate, but I know how easy it also is for a teacher to be way too “black and white” with things that what is real world gets over-run and education/assignments become more important. Earlier this year one of my colleagues tried hitting freshmen right from the beginning with how tough she was going to be. She made no consideration that they were moving to “a new world.” Within the first week, she threw away a paper with no name. When a parent inquired, she also was curt with the parent. At that point, things began to snowball for her- students and parents lost respect for her; she wasn’t as perfect as she wished her students to be. She wanted to discuss her position and have me agree with her. When she brought up the situation once again, I replied, “Well, as teachers we can walk in the door five minutes after our scheduled arrival time, but we won’t be fired on the spot.” She looked at me bewildered. I believe there are so many instances that have to be judged on individual levels. We sometimes get stuck in our perfect.

  29. THANK YOU! It’s a struggle for us for sure! Parenting is hard. They are not supposed to be your little friends, they are your children to raise and teach, even when it’s uncomfortable! -Tiffany (teacher)

  30. While they are young, they do need their moms. Are you saying that we should just sit back and watch them get hurt emotionally? That is not teaching them to grow up. That is making them think that we don’t care about them.

    • I think you can absolutely support and hug them and hold them when they are hurt. But don’t “rescue” them. Teach them that living in community is about support and respect and love. That’s very different than rescue and doing things for them.

    • Yes! It’s okay for them to get their feelings hurt. It builds resiliency. We aren’t talking abuse here, we are talking about letting them get knocked down so they learn to get back up. We have created a group of adults that are so protected emotionally, they don’t know how to get back up and try again. Thats real abuse. That’s why we call them special snowflakes.

  31. I’m pretty tough on my daughter, especially as far as respecting her teachers and their time. I once made her not only complete a late assignment that her teacher (too generously) gave her extra time to do, but write an apology to that teacher for not completing the project on time. I explained to my daughter that her instructor had taken much time in planning this special project and it was disrespectful of D to ignore Mrs. X’s time.

  32. I wish I had read this a few weeks ago when a college my daughter had applied to asked me to write a letter on her behalf about why she should go to said college. I did not write that letter and am still shaking my head over the request!! Great article!!

  33. So true!!! I am a teacher and I couldn’t agree more. Many years ago I had a student that began acting out at school. We had a conference and the parent blamed me because he was her “good” child and had never gotten in trouble before. A year or two later the parent came back and appologized but said she didn’t know what to do because he was totally out of control now.

  34. You are right on target. However, if you think the parents don’t try to swoop in an fix thing at college, guess again! I am having a really hard time coping with college students – especially the last 2-3 years. The level of whining about everything has reached a fever pitch and if you tell them no – they go right to the department head or dean. However, as I think of my own daughter, I have always thought of her as a precious gift from God and that I have the opportunity to guide her for 18 years. After that, I need to set her free and I had better have taught her life lessons. As parents, it is our job to teach our children how to stand on their own 2 feet, think, work hard and be a good citizen. Loved that your post said the same thing!

    • I have 2 boys in college. One son came home for spring break this week. It was the first time I heard his voice since I dropped him off in Jan. The other son will call me about every other week. They both text.. not daily.. usually if they have a question. When I talk to the parents of their classmates, most of them are skyping with their kids every single day and are just horrified that I don’t even talk to my kids. I think back to my days in college before cell phones… no one talked to their parents that often. The pay phone was way down the hall. It cost money. you dealt with your own problems on your own. When my kids tell me that kids are dancing and watching movies and being very disruptive in their college classes and the professors can not ask them to be quiet…. what kind of workers are these kids going to be. I know some parents who drive down to colleges every single weekend just to see their kids and take them out for real food. They have absolutely no lives and can not imagine not seeing thier kid every week. I know many kids who refussed to go away to college because the idea of sharing a room and a bathroom were completely foreign to them…. don’t know how they are going to get married ( oh yeah, maybe mom and dad will buy them that Mc Mansion so she/he can have her own private bath while spouse has theirs and not have to start out in a crappy started apartment or house ) I know parents who still pay for cell phones , car insurance, electric bills for their 30 something married kids….. kids are doing extremely fine financially but the parents attiutude is we can so why not???

  35. You are SPOT ON! I have 3 adult children in their 20’s and pretty much took the same approach to raising them as you have. When they left for college and friends would ask how I handled it, I always answer “it is bittersweet” You are sad because they have graduated and are leaving but happy that you know they will be OK on their own, I had 2 of mine go to boarding school and admittedly that was rough but they really learned a lot about life and dealing with others. Needless to say they are all successful adults! Well, ok, the 21 year old college student keeps getting parking tickets but he’ll eventually figure it out. After all, he’s 21!
    Thanks for a great article!

  36. I am a first year teacher & seeing this exact thing- many parents “bailing” their child out of situations (redoing an assignment, bad test grade, or misbehavior in class) I have had a tough year with parents trying to say what they think is best for my classroom. I have found it difficult to actually teach & enjoy my time with the kiddos because there is always something i’m doing wrong. I thank you so much for writing this. I wish that everyone would take just a few minutes to read this and realize that yes, they are kids but you can’t get them out of everything. You learn through trial & error.
    THANK YOU! 🙂

  37. I did exactly what you are now doing with your children. Loving & supporting them…building confidence & even occasionally picking them up and showing them how to continue on. All 5 are now in their late 30s and mid 40s fine upstanding citizens with families of their own. I have chosen not to be one of “THOSE MOTHER-IN-LAWS” that are interfering and manilpulative and only visit when invited. My only expectations are calls to let me know what they are doing, and holiday visits. Not long ones, but letting me see them so that I can see them and at least be a small part of their lives. 2 of my son’s wives are only children and don’t understand the connection between siblings and have caused friction between the sibs making group visits with family impossible. I trusted in the love they had for each other and did not see this coming. I am only telling you this so that you prepare your family for this possibility and protect them.

  38. This so true! I have been blessed to appreciated by many of my students parents. That being said you hit the truth that I do try to be fair but I have to be fair to everyone. Everyone has “bad” days. Life lessons are necessary and are needed to mould these little people into the big people they will become someday. Teachers are under paid and usually under appreciated! Thanks for your words of wisdom and lost sleep with these thoughts.

  39. I am a teacher, and I cannot thank you enough!! It is so rare today for parents to want their children to have to face small life consequences and become responsible. We may have a few parents who support our efforts, but many also back their child’s choices rather than our consequences (that we give to try to start them on the path toward adulthood). Thank you!! It is so refreshing to read this, and to realize that there ARE parents out there who truly want their children to succeed in life, rather than just to be protected from consequences and responsibility!

  40. I have been a teacher for 7 years now. Even in just those 7 short years, each year has gotten progressively worse with behavior/parenting problems. What I’ve booked it down to, is that children have very few coping mechanisms. They get a bad grade, have a conflict with a friend, get in trouble, don’t get their way, etc, and they have no idea how to handle it! This is because their parents are doing all of that for them. The only way kids learn to solve problems is to actually get a chance to solve them without mom or dad swooping in! It’s exhausting speaking with parents and being given excuse after excuse as to why their child is misbehaving. It would be amazing to be trusted to do my job! I wish parents knew how much a simple thank you means to teachers. We spend 8 hours a day with your child, then more worrying about them and determining the best way just to teach YOUR child. Teachers (especially lower elementary) are naturally sensitive, worriers, and wear our hearts on our sleeve. We would do anything for your child, including enduring your excuses and trying to just solve the problems ourselves 🙂

  41. As a teacher, thank you for your understanding that what you describe is EXACTLY what I am trying to teach them…learning comes from success and failure, mistakes and triumphs, no matter how small. As a teacher, I have parents asking WHY I haven’t emailed when their child doesn’t turn in an assignment, but with almost 150 students and parents having access to my gradebook, why are they not checking? Do they want me to teach or sit behind my desk and email? Should I stay hours after school and risk my own children’s well-being? What you describe is the reason that I have begun classes to leave the teaching profession. I am a dynamic teacher with eighteen years of experience, loved my job until this hostile environment began to sink into our culture. If a parent yells loud enough, they will get their way, but to the detriment of our kids, our future, and public education in general. Great teachers are leaving in droves and unfortunately I am one of them. Now that I am essentially told that Jimmy cannot get an F even if he turns in zero assignments, I need to leave. I am no longer able to teach that critical lesson: Life. If I do not do my job, I will have no job. If students do not do their work, I cannot grade it, they will not get points. But this seems to be up to negotiation to some parents and administrators and I thank you for pointing out this fallacy.
    In addition, as a mother, I describe parenting as either a sheepdog or an ostrich. I choose to be a guide that nudges the direction, but I am neither going to gloss their mistakes over or try to erase that painful experience. I am raising an adult, not a child.
    Ms. Williams

  42. I have been a teacher for kids with special needs for 35 years. In the last few years, we have seen an extremely high number little children coming into school with serious behavior problems, listening issues, etc. It will only get worse and it isn’t only because of helicopter parents. I have a different theory about why we are seeing so many of these problems. I can’t go anywhere anymore without seeing many parents on their cellphones with their kids are trying to get their attention. They aren’t getting any parental attention and when they do, it is to pacify them with some more electronics. There is very little discipline involved because they don’t want to be bothered with it. This is what we have to deal with on a daily basis and when we do try to discipline in school, those parents are the first ones coming to bat for their children.
    I live in a very small town of 200 people-yes, it is true. During the summer, it is rare to see kids out riding their bikes, playing in the park, just going for walks. I know that we live in a more dangerous time, but kids don’t know how to play anymore. Ask them to go outside, and they won’t know what to do with themselves. On the other side of the coin, there are those parents that constantly hover, and those kids will have no idea how to fend for themselves when they get out in the “real” world. As time goes on, there will be fewer and fewer people wanting to go into the teaching field because their hands are tied, and they will not want to deal with all these issues. What we went into this field to do is to enrich and teach these minds, and most of the time we are dealing with unruly, rude young children who have no respect for anyone. What used to be a job that I loved, has turned into one that I have to do until I am old enough to retire. Don’t get me wrong, I still love most of it or I would have left when I felt that I wasn’t making a difference. However, I never even spoke of retirement until this year and I am 58 with some good years left on me. I feel so disappointed when great teachers give it up because they can’t deal with it anymore.
    I can’t see things getting any better unless our parents start to wake up and see what is going on. This generation will be our future leaders and I am scared to death of what will become of our world. 🙁

  43. I so loved this. When I originally got pregnant with my now 2 year old a little boy, these were the types of things I promised myself I would teach my children. As a product of parents who “over parented” (if an assignment was forgotten at home, mom would leave her job to drive 30 minutes to get it and 20 minutes to bring it to my school…paid for things when I had money of my own to pay for them…do most of the projects for me instead of with me…talk to teachers who didn’t give me A’s and convince them to let me retest…etc.), I swore to myself I would not do that as a parent be user, unfortunately, I was gifted with the reprocusions later in life, when I finished grad school and began my career as an occupational therapist. I was never taught the value of hard work and money, and as I started my career, I was $85,000 in debt with student loans and a very poor credit score from old medical bills that were never paid. I respected my opinion more than my wonderful boss’ and found myself smarting off to her in proving I was right. It took a very humbling bad car wreck I was in for all of these things to come full circle and realization, when my boss was the first one to show up on the scene of my accident and I found myself not being able to afford a car with an interest rate out of the roof from very poor credit. I had a wonderful life growing up, and but I often wonder where I would be if my parents were more tough on me or held me responsible for things a little bit more. I hold this thought close in my mind and heart and hope I am reminded of these things as these situations arise as I am raising my children. Thank you for great words!

  44. I am a mom and a teacher but the teacher in me says, “Thank you, thank you, thank you.” Many of my conferences are held because, “Johnny isn’t happy.” I am not concerned with keeping Johnny happy, I’m concerned with teaching Johnny to get along in this world even when things don’t go his way. I am concerned with teaching him to do his best and not just enough to get by, and I am concerned with convincing his parents that his education is not just my job. They must participate as well. As a mom, I’ve learned to let my children fail at something when they need to in order to learn that they will not be given things that aren’t earned. Your article has great insight!

  45. I used to tell my girls no one will ever love you as much as I do and they will not put up with your misbehavior. You have to love them enough to make them accountable for their own actions. And if you have done your job properly, they do leave you. God gave them to me to have for a while and now they are grown and doing His work and raising my amazing grandchildren. As hard as it is for them to leave you, you do them a dis-service if you do not teach them to stand on their own. Keep being a great mom and it is always good to tell the teachers how much you appreciate them. They don’t get to hear that nearly enough!

  46. I enjoyed retading your piece. I retired from teaching after thirty-nine years, enjoyed almost all of it; most of the parents expressed their appreciation of what teachers provide for their children. Only four or five parents in all those years were negative about what primary teachers had to offer.

  47. As a teacher, I would so much like to post this on my classroom FB page but I won’t. I am afraid of what those “helicopter” parents would do/say. I love my job and want to keep it. How sad is that?

  48. I am a teacher and a parent you have put my feelings on paper. Thank you! Parents and Administrators please let me teach! I really am a good teacher, I love getting to know my new students each term but I’ve lost that because of all the meetings and data collecting. Let’s get back to raising this child together you as a parent and I as a teacher.

  49. So so true! My reason for being is my 3 children. Now 23,21, and 17. I am realizing that our tough love and discipline, and all the things they got mad about has turned them into smart, confident people. Ok the first two, the third a work in progress. I’m teary now…..Thanks for sharing.

  50. I raised a son and a daughter to leave me. One left to be a third grade teacher. One left to be an instructor at Texas A&M while he pursues his PhD. I am “left” but very happy!

  51. First of all, I am not a parent! But as a retired teacher….and most of the time a very tough teacher….I love this! Thank you!
    BTW….my mom did call one of my college professors….made for a fun semester! 🙂

  52. Yes! When we all left home I think my mom and dad felt like we didn’t “need” them anymore. I think that is actually the best of compliments. They raised children into independent, self-sufficient, well-adjusted, contributing members of society. Isn’t that what we all wish for our children? If not, it should be! Good job and well done

  53. Hi Christen,
    Thank you for being realistic about your kiddos! I am a teacher, and I appreciate how you are willing to allow us to do our jobs! Life is tough, and part of what we do is to teach them to pick themselves up and move forward.

    Bev in Vermont!

    PS: I teach kindergarten!

  54. My fifteen-year-old daughter decided to sit in the lunchroom talking with friends after her lunch period ended. A teacher noticed her and reported her name to the office. I got a call asking what to do. You see, my daughter had Aspergers Syndrome so they would call me and discuss what we should do in a lot of situations. I said, “what would you do if she didn’t have Aspergers?” The teacher responded, “she would get internal suspension for a couple of days.” My response? “Stick her butt in there and let’s see if she does it again.” And she never did. She died in a car accident a year and a half later. But, I got compliments on her behavior all her life.

    • I’m am so deeply sorry for your loss. Sounds like you were a wonderful mother and she was blessed to have you.

  55. I am a mother and preschool teacher and really appreciate these words. It reminds me of when my son…who will soon graduate from high school on the honor roll…came to me about his 3rd grade teacher. He was (is) a sloppy person who would jam his homework in his backpack and turn it in a wrinkled mess. She got fed up , told him he needed to take greater pride in his work, and said she refused to accept such messy papers. He came home complaining that it was ” not fair” and said that as long as he had done the work she HAD to accept it. I’m sure he thought I should contact her and go to bat for him. Instead, I said “Her classroom, her rules!” If that is the expectation he needed to rise to the occasion. Needless to say he was not happy with my answer. But I explained that a boss/client would not want to accept a report that was crinkled in his briefcase. Better learn now than when you’re getting fired!!!

  56. As a teacher of many years and a momma of 2 (6 and 4), it is a blessing to read this. I wish parents would see their child 10 years from now. We are not only raising in the moment but for the future. If parents consistently harass, demand that we do not give consequences and tie our hands; they fail to realize that are we can not encourage them to be independent. I tell my students often the less you need me the better I am doing my job. I want you to realize the abilities that YOU possess, I am just a guide. My daughter’s K and 1st grade teachers were taken back when I told them to hold her accountable and give her consequences. We grew up with this mindset and turned out pretty good. Is there for growth, some changes, advancement? Always. But don’t throw the baby out with the bath water.
    Side note, I have had parents that have thanked me for doing so. So teacher friends, stand firm 😉

  57. As a 1st grade teacher, THANK YOU! One of the hardest parts of my job is dealing with helicopter parents who only want to be their child’s friend. Their only concern is, is my child happy and if not, how can I fix it? We have to give them responsibility, even at 6 and 7 so they learn to be independent and learn the consequences of their behavior! I love my own two girls with everything I have, but I want to equip them to be responsible adults that can function in the adult world and raise their own families one day.

  58. This made my heart sing. Praising God for parents like you who can persevere through the hard parts of parenting to do the best thing for your child, not just in the present, but looking towards the future. That is what teachers are trying to prepare all young minds for… the world. So many GOOD truths in this writing. Thank you for sharing. Teachers need encouragement more than you can imagine.

  59. Thank you! I teach high school journalism and computer science. (Strange combination, I know!) We actually discussed this in one of my classes today. A student of mine said he would tell a child of his own to NOT take a particular class (mine) because it is hard. “So, you want your children to never do anything hard? You never want them to grow up and have a life of their own? You know, I was reading about this just this morning…” A lively and interesting discussion ensued.

  60. A-MEN!! So amazingly true … as I read this, I was reminded of some of the tough teachers I had over the years. As a kid, I hated to hear when I got the “bad” teacher … but looking back, I’m SO very appreciative of the ones who made me actually work hard and learn. They helped shape me and it’s funny that in hindsight, they are the teachers I remember most vividly. I remember in 3rd grade… our teacher Mrs. Verona had songs to help us learn our multiplication tables…. at the time I hated math…… but ended up with a degree in Economics, and part of my career responsibilities now are Finance & Budgeting… go figure. And, even now in my 30’s, the math I do in my head sometimes comes out my mouth in song form!

    THANK YOU for taking time to put these words onto paper…. er… e-paper!

  61. This is spot on! As an educator we want to applaud this kind of parenting! It’s sad that it is becoming rare. It’s sad that some parents see the school or teachers as bullies trying to harm or fail their kid. I’m trying to engage with those families and let them know we are here to help!

  62. As a Kindergarten teacher, I so appreciate your perspective. I’ve often said that I believe part of my job is to teach parents, as well as the kids, how to “do school.” Abd by that, I mean exactly what you say–let them have to remember their library book. Let them have to be responsible for their winter gear and not just buying them new mittens 6 times a year. And, for goodness sake, let THEM do their homework! Work WITH them not FOR them!! I’ve been in the same school now for 8 years, and I see how it plays out over the course of time. Well stated article, you are a wonderful parent!

  63. Teacher-Mom-Reader here and you are SPOT on. Teachers are working so hard, but no one seems to notice. All we hear is that it is OUR fault students aren’t performing. There is little accountability and everything is expected to be individualized for every child. It is grossly unfair to the teachers to expect them to be able to individualize things for 24 different bodies and brains. And, teachers are expected to fix everything when most of the big issues affecting children’s progress stem from home.

    Last summer my own mother (a retired teacher) so astutely pointed out to me in discussing the woes of teaching/parenting today that we are not teaching children to be problem solvers. Instead, parents (and society) are constantly jumping in to provide the solutions or do the work. After she articulated it, I started to notice it EVERYWHERE. Kids don’t know how to fix their mistakes because parents always do it for them. They have no self-help skills because they are never required to figure it out for themselves. Society, as a whole, is always looking for someone ELSE to fix problems and someone ELSE to blame. No one wants to be accountable anymore. We want someone else to take the fall. It’s all over the news in many different situations and rationals. It comes down to no one wants to take responsibility for their realities and do the hard work it takes to improve it or change it.

    We, as parents, cling to the moments we share with our children and treasure them so deeply that we think we show them love by “helping” them with these things instead of requiring them to be accountable and problem solve on their own. When I think about the tough part of parenting I always tell myself the ultimate goal is for my children to be independent. It is not to keep them reliant on me, as much as I dread the day they leave. There will come a day when I won’t be here (a sad day I don’t like to think about), but if I equip them with the right lessons now, they will be able to continue on without me. The greatest gift I can give my kids is the knowledge that they were loved enough to be held compassionately accountable, taught perseverance and independence through love.

  64. This will be short — as a teacher, I thank you for this article!!! I wish more parents thought this way. God bless you as I see your children growing up to be VERY SUCCESSFUL!!!!

  65. I am the adult child of a helicopter parent, a parent to two tiny children, AND I am a teacher, and I could not agree more!

    Helicopter parenting made me feel out of control. It made me feel submissive, completely powerless to the will of my mother, and humiliated in both childhood and adulthood. My mother has even gone so far as to email a potential employer when I was applying for a job, to tell them why they should hire me. She didn’t understand how much that undermined my own credentials. She thought she was being “supportive.” I was never even called back for this job.

    As a teacher for 10 years, I have seen the full spectrum of parents, and I have used these experiences to guide my own parenting. I have watched the families who are raising children who are resilient, who own their actions, who seek out challenge, and speak for themselves. These parents offer their children a much larger area to wander, both physically and intellectually. They allow mistakes and injuries as a part of growing, and are there to wipe away a tear, but not to wipe away all the problems. As a parent, I strive each day to emulate these parents. To allow the scraped knees and bruised egos, and to model growth and resiliency.

    Thanks for this! Now my question. Any advice for handling helicopter grandparents? ?

  66. Parents will not always be there to make decisions for their children or save them from making poor decisions. While working in the prison high school, I explained to a new student, a 17 year old inmate, that he had to attend school every day. His response was, “No I don’t! I will call my mother to come here and change that.” I had to explain to him that his mother was no longer his guardian so that would not be possible. Unfortunately, he did not learn until he was 17 years old and in prison, that his mother could not save him from everything in life. (Not to mention what the other inmates in the class said to him about wanting to call his mother.)

    Please parents, if your child has discipline problems in every grade level, realize that it may be not be the teacher’s fault. Help your teachers to solve problems rather than blaming the teachers!

    Of course I am not describing all parents in the scenarios above because sometimes bad things happen to good people, but parents need to know that most teachers care dearly for those they teach and they only want the best for their students.. Caring includes discipline. Please support your teachers!

    I have taught for 38 years and still love my profession regardless of all the challenges that come with it!

    I thank you also, more than you will ever know!


  67. As a teacher and a parent, this is amazing. I completely feel the same way with my child. However, it is rare to run into other parents who feel this way. I have kids in my class who’s parents tell them they don’t have to do certain school work because it’s “hard” for them, I really don’t know what those parent think is going to happen when mommy or daddy isn’t there to save them or they have to do something that is a little hard or a little uncomfortable.

  68. What you are talking about here is Grit. Too many of my students these days lack grit because for too long they have had everything taken care of for them by mom or dad. They have no idea how to handle difficult situations or how to recover from a bad grade. Thank you for this. You are teaching your children to have grit, to have what it takes to make mistakes, learn from them, and move forward with a way to do better. Keep it up.

  69. I read this article last week and let it sit for a week and had to finally respond. I would be interested in knowing if your child falls into any of the categories of ADHD or OCD or other learning disabilities. I have 4 children. Two of them do just fine and manage school work pretty well. If they have a late assignment or don’t do something up to par I say, “go ahead. Give them a zero. They know better and will learn from it.” Two struggle with the day to day assignments and learning. It is a constant balance between letting them fail and helping them find success. If you just fail them every time then they are going to give up. Completely. What would be the use? If they are given chances to succeed and try again and opportunities to see that they are good at it and can achieve success then the next time around is a little easier. Not perfect but a little easier. It is easy to just put everyone in a box and say that is just the way it is. If you can’t hack it then you aren’t good enough. Survival of the Fittest? Many of these kids that can’t “hack” it are very bright and can accomplish great things if given the right circumstances. Believe me. It is a struggle going to bat for your child. You just want to sit back and let them suffer the consequences. I’ve been there. And I was of that opinion that this article expresses. Until I learned first-hand the life altering negative consequences that can have on a certain type of child. We need to be understanding. Not critical of those parents who are trying to give their kids a positive learning environment where MAYBE they can succeed. You can argue that it is enabling them and not preparing them for the real world. But if you don’t help them it is a straight road to failure. I hope the course of action is a better option. I am convinced that many of the great minds of the past such as Thomas Edison had ADHD and because of a supportive family they made our world a better place. Give them a chance.

  70. As a teacher and a mom I enjoyed your point of view. As the teacher who has her own child in my class this year I can’t help but notice how hard I have been on her, I even have her a lunch detention for something other students have only been warned about (talking). But you are right. I want to teach her more than my subject and if she can make it with me on her case, she can make it next year and beyond without me. That would be the best lesson of all.

  71. As a parent of a dyslexic child, I need to advocate for my child when he is failing spelling as he spells everything phonetically; and his self esteem is low. Does he really need to keep writing the spelling tests? Can he get his own list?
    He also suffers from dysgraphia, trouble with writing. DID THE TEACHER REALLY MAKE YOU STAY IN TO REWRITE YOUR ASSIGNMENT NEATER? (Will that assignment matter in 20 years?) As a teacher, I expect teachers to educate themselves on best practice and build self esteem. Give students choice, explain criteria prior to giving assignments. Teach students the relevance of what they are learning and connect it to real life! Teach students about how every person has a gift, and it is their job to discover their gift. Life is not a competition, it isn’t about the clothes you wear, the places you travel- life is about being content with your choices.
    Don’t lump all teachers together, it is like any other occupation- not all doctors are good and not all teachers are good. Parental and teacher expectations need to align. How many teachers ask parents “what are your expectations for your child?” Each situation and child are unique, sometimes children need us to be an advocate, sometimes kids need us to be spectators, while sometimes kids don’t need us at all!

  72. As a teacher, I would also like to say “Thank You” to you. Hallelujah, there is someone out there who gets it!! I teach leadership skills in my grade 3 classroom, and I tell them we learn from our mistakes. I don’t always know if the parents of my students appreciate that, but I believe my students leave my classroom stronger because of it. Teaching is more than doling out curriculum. Parents are teachers too. I worry thst sometimes they forget that. Thank you for teaching your child what curriculum wont give me time to teach. Thank you for respecting my professional ability to do what is right for your child. Thank you for trusting that I know how to do my job. Thank you for understanding those of us who really want to make a difference in a child’s life, and sharing it with the world!

  73. Thank you so much for your wonderful insights into what a good parent should be doing. Unfortunately having to deal with the “other” kind has left me (a 30 year veteran of the classroom) wanting to GET OUT OF HERE!!! A couple of years ago, I had to deal with a set of parents who “led” their high school student all the way. He was not allowed to fail. They would swoop in and create havoc in the lives of his teachers. They even threatened to go to the school board about me because I would not change his grade. They took him out of my class and put him with another teacher who was so terrified of them that she would have him take all of his exams after school so she could sit and feed him the answers. She positively did NOT want to go through what I did. This student is now a senior and I look forward to seeing how he fares in the big, bad world without mommy and daddy to go to bat for him. By the way, did I mention that I had a minor nervous breakdown over this and ended up on a new anti-anxiety medication?

  74. Hello! I am a teacher, and an exhausted one at that from having to navigate the accusations from parents. For all that you said, thank you. Many teachers that I work with feel, as we discuss these issues a lot, that parents are holding their kids hands for too long. Let them fall….and then pick themselves up. Maybe offer guidance, but dont always come to their rescue. I would rather have them struggle now and learn from it then discover they can’t handle life in high school…college…etc. When my 10 year old students can’t seem to ask for missing work or forget to turn things in, apparently I am at fault for not reminding them or I must have lost the paper. I am amazed at how often I have to defend my expectations. If I don’t push my students to do more and be responsible now, how will they do in 5th? I know the answer, and it isn’t pretty. So yes, I whole-heartedly agree, prepare your children to leave you and be highly functioning members of society that don’t need constant reminders or hand holding. And for those parents who really do understand all that we do for your kiddos, thank you. I promise I didn’t join this profession to make kids miserable! 😉

  75. Sadly, colleges are having to deal more and more with parents…
    As a teacher, I was thanked exactly once. I’ll never forget the day.

  76. Wow! You are such a wise woman and parent. I am a retired teacher of 27 years and what you just shared is right on! I’m so encouraged to see some of the younger generation do get it!

  77. Unfortunately, parents now ARE calling college professors & administrators on behalf of their grown children. Obviously if little Johnnie got a D on that Econ test it was the professor’s fault; it had nothing to do with Johnnie partying the last 4 nights.

  78. As a mom of 2…um “spirited” boys and a second grade teacher you have eloquently said everything I have ever thought about this subject. Thank you!

  79. Wonderfully put. We do raise our children to leave us. We spend a life time of making sure they know God is first, Family is second and right on down the line. Now with eight Grandchildren my job is not finished yet. God bless you and your family. I volunteer at our local school one hour or two a week. It is rewarding to me and I hope I can teach them something about life. Being a polio survivor from 1948 they can see that I made it to the top with lots of challenges. I also blog and share stories like yours. Loved it so much.
    Yes…. “Thank you” to our teachers. They have a very difficult day ahead of them each time they walk into their classroom. Please see Linda L Christianson2wordpress.com to read some of my Blogs. Have a over the top day. I know I will.

  80. As a teacher and a mom, AMEN!! You are totally right. Children are people too and people have to learn to be responsible for themselves. Obviously this is a growing process. Each year they gain more responsibility so that by junior high/high school they understand their role. Believe me, as a mom that is easier to preach than practice! I think the biggest thing is just to not play the blame game. It takes a village and when we all have the same goal, we help our kids succeed.

  81. I’m a teacher, but on a preschool level. It’s so important to start young with empowering our children to be accountable for mistakes and to try again and do better next time.
    Taking ownership can start very young. Being responsible even for little things is so important. Teaching useful life skills is so necessary as well.
    You made a spill on the table? It was a mistake. Go get a towel and wipe it up. You spilled on the floor? Get a dust pan and brush. You can clean it up.
    The younger you start, the more children feel more confident, responsible, self reliant. It becomes second nature after awhile.
    Mom and Dad can advocate and teach, but they don’t need to be hand to fix everything.
    It makes me sad when I see that by micromanaging and excusing our children, we’re creating victims who aren’t empowered…. Who can’t advocate… Who lack confidence.

    Thank you for starting a conversation here. Although hard to let it go in some instances, it’s so important that as parents, we do.

  82. I am a recently retired teacher and I just want to say you are one of the rare parents who are preparing their children for life. THANK YOU!

  83. I don’t need to leave a long comment bc you nailed it! I see so it so much as a teacher that kids will reach the bar set for them. If they think they can they will.

  84. I had to respond, because I am a 3rd grade teacher and my name is Christen, too! I have 20 year old twins and they are on their way to being well balanced adults – but I had to propel them toward independence. I have always tried to tell my parents that it isn’t just about how their child is doing in my third grade class, but what they will be like in 7th grade, 12th grade and as 25 year olds…and, if we all do our part, every child can grow up to be productive and happy. Our society suffers from parents who cannot parent and we see this in our schools every day. I really like what you had to say about a parent needs to raise children who are prepared to leave them, eventually. And if we don’t teach children to be self disciplined, and self confident, we are sending them out into the world severely underprepared to deal with real life.

  85. Thank you for this article! Thank you on so many levels. As a teacher, I have had parents tell me they would rather their child have an A than actually learn anything. I have had parents rewrite assignments and projects because they thought it was too hard. I have had parents fuss because I use in class projects…how could they “help” if it wasn’t brought home? I love when parents become partners with me…it doesn’t happen as much as I would wish. Teachers want to see their students succeed…far too often we are made out to be the enemy.

  86. I am a teacher and a mum and you are right on the money here. I am lucky to have had some very supportive parents throughout my career so far and they certainly showed me how to appreciate this kind of relationship and somehow have that expecatation from other parents who are sometimes of a different school of thought. It is lovely to read such a considered article and I am sure your child’s teacher will be feeling empowered and grateful for your reaction. It can sometimes be underestimated just how important it is to have a good teacher parent relationship as – it benefits everyone. And as a mum you are so right about guiding them through difficult times so that they can develop their own support system. I don’t think I’d thought about it like that before. Thank you ?.

  87. Yes! I am a teacher (who does bench her kids at recess for no homework or makes them miss free time to finish work, often having to redo sloppy work) and I have been guilty of swooping in with my own kiddos! I have learned that we must let our kids stumble, and sometimes fall, so the can build strength to stand on their own two feet. I applaud your article and appreciate the support of the teaching community.

  88. Wow! You hit the nail on the head, as they say….. As a teacher, I see many, many parents today afraid to say NO to their children. They let them do what they want, then when they fail or get in trouble, parents rescue them or make excuses for their behavior, or blame the teacher.
    As a mother, I see many parents holding on to tight to their children. My children are in China and Africa, teaching and making a difference in other cultures. And learning and experiencing so much themselves.
    It was the hardest thing I ever had to do, i.e….bless their decision to leave. BUT, as you say, we taught them to be equipped to leave us! We are proud parents.

  89. As an educator of 10 years, thank you again. We all too often hear what we are doing is wrong, or just plainly feel unappreciated. I have been trying to find some solid reasons to keep myself in the field after the recent disenchantment with teaching. Reading posts like this, which for the record are becoming slightly more common, makes me think the pendulum is swinging… And finally in the direction that’s best for teachers, and more importantly your children.

  90. As a teacher I totally agree!!! Parents too often are soooo busy protecting their kids that they forget that kids need to learn how to fail & lose and recover from it all because the world surely is not going to stop because we fell….I have parents that a child gets a C and wants me to retest…what’s the point I ask? If that’s the best he/she did then so be it….if the C hurts them that bad it should be a lesson learned that they need to study more next time…I think many parents today often fail to realize that parenting includes showing our kids how to recover when not so good things happen…we are so busy worried about their self esteem making sure everyone feels good about themselves that we have forgotten that everyone won’t be a winner every time children too need to learn how to handle losses of any kind…that’s like the sports teams that everyone gets a trophy or medal win or lose doesn’t matter what’s the incentive to try hard if everyone gets the prize every time?? Few kids now a days know how to accept failure, losses, and rejection….tough life lessons that will either be learned now or later….and better as a kid than as an adult….mommy and daddy won’t always be able to save you…..

  91. Wonderfully written!
    As a teacher, and mother of a high school senior who will leave for Purdue soon, this article touched me and reminded me to stay mindful of this with my third grader. I appreciate the sentiment of allowing their mistakes while under our roof to guide them in those ‘learning moments’. While my momma heart doesn’t like it, they will leave. Yes! Raise them to leave us! ?

  92. I was a teacher for several years and I couldn’t agree more with this entire article! I also think that we, as parents, need to teach our kids how to do things for themselves at home. Too many kids leave home without knowing how to do their laundry, cook a simple meal, scrub a toilet, grocery shop, fill up their cars with gas, make their beds, withdraw money from a bank…I could go on and on. It is my goal with my kids to make them independent enough so that they can be confident and mature adults when they go out into the real world.

  93. My wife and I both “retired” from teaching after thirty plus years of teaching because of changes in policies that gave more power to the children than to the teacher’s entrusted with their care. There are still a lot of great parents out there working with teachers to try to raise great children, but as they grow older the deck is stacked against them. In many high schools today students may hand in homework late without any penalty and retake tests until they get a grade they like. This puts tremendous amounts pressure on teachers to complete their grades by the end of the term. All the accountability is on the teachers without any on the students. What is this teaching the student? How is this preparing them for the workforce or collage? I had to retire because I couldn’t stand by and watch kids get messed up because somebody with a title higher than mine said kids shouldn’t be held accountable because they are just learning. My comeback was what are they learning if you aren’t keeping them accountable for anything? I guess I am just old school where when YOU make a decision the YOU are responsible for the consequences, whether they are positive or negative. Parenting and teaching in my opinion are a combination of loving the child enough to allow them to make a mistake in an environment, where I as the teacher or parent, can control the outcome by guiding the child, when the time is right. Sometimes they need to fail enough to understand they need your guidance. At other timer times you need to be a cheerleader and tell them that you believe they can figure it out on their own.(Sometimes just a little help). Teaching children to be accountable to themselves and others is a difficult job for any parent. I suggest you know the policies of the high school your children will be attending to see if they are counter productive to what I hope parents have been teaching their children.

  94. As a former teacher and current school counselor, I have to say, this article nails it on the head. Not only are we NOT preparing our kids to leave us, but we are robbing them of countless opportunities to gain self confidence. Their (our kids) first instinct is to give up because they aren’t used to having to put forth consistent effort and because they do not have the self confidence needed to reassure themselves that, regardless of what happens, they will be ok.

  95. Such a great article!
    I know there are great people out there raising their children and teachers. I have been so fortunate to be blessed with teachers that care for my children and teach them. I was at gymnastics with one of my children when I witnessed a child behaving poorly. He was probably 4 years old. He kept going on to the gymnastics floor and goofing off. An instructor came over and asked his father to please keep the boy off the floor for liability. The father said ok. For the next fifteen minutes I witnessed that boy continually go out into the gymnastic floor with his father saying to the boy, “You can’t be over the wall. You have to stay on this side.” I wanted so badly to go up to the father and tell him, you’re ruining your son. The lesson that boy learned that day was that he didn’t need to listen to authority figures. I can’t imagine what he will be like in school.
    Teachers are so underpaid. They teach to the future and have the ability to change individuals everyday. I am sorry that their job is so taxing with parents that don’t support them and are eager to blame them when their child fails. It takes a special person to be a teacher.
    Thank you Jenna for help in shaping my youngest child this year.
    Raising a child takes a village. I so believe that. I didn’t say anything to that father that day, I should have.
    I am concerned for the future. What will happen when they are finally held accountable, that mom and dad can’t bail them out.

  96. As a teacher, thank you!! And as a mom, I totally agree. I’ve always had it in my head that these two sons of mine will not be my little boys forever. They will be husbands, fathers, citizens. My job is to raise them to be godly leaders and providers. I want them to WANT me in their lives, but not NEED me to make decisions.

  97. I’m an elementary school teacher, and a mom of two teenage boys, and I want to put this article in the hands of every single parent. We see it all the time, the helicopter/swooping/curling parents (whatever title of the day best describes these enablers), and we see kids spoiled, ruined by parents who do not know how to parent. I see parents at my sons’ school who do all the work, and look smug when looking at my boys’ imperfect (but independent!) work. These kids are going to turn into adults that have no coping skills and will be let down by their unrealistic expectations of how the world will accommodate them.
    Good job mom! And yes, thank you for supporting the teachers who are trying everyday to help them develop into strong adults.

  98. Hello, I’m not a “schooled” teacher but I taught little ones AWANA, so maybe that puts in some credibility. I was a single mom my kids’ entire childhood. My rule for childraising: #1 I’m not your peer. Nor best friend. Never was, didn’t want to be. I don’t care what other parents say or do. These are OUR rules. #2-My kids needed a childhood. Just because their dad left didn’t mean they were the ‘man of the house’ or had to take care of big people stuff. Although my son and daughter did pitch in and do a lot of stuff around the house. They learned we had time to do fun stuff if they helped get the unfun stuff done. #3 referring to stuff they learned to do: I figured I needed to teach them everything I know. Balance a checkbook, plan, shop for and cook meals; change a doorknob or a tire. Kids learn outside of the classroom how to have their best in life. What they learn in the classroom helps them understand and articulate how to get along in life. I’m forever grateful to the teachers who instilled good values and learning sensibilities not only into my kids but to me and
    how I could help them.

  99. Christen,
    Bless you for being such a thoughtful and an amazing mom. As a teacher myself, I wish there were more mothers who understood the principles you are trying to teach your children. I love each of my students dearly and am striving daily to help each of them become the best youth and later adults that they can be. I know that will only happen by helping them learn that every choice they mak matters. Our only class rule is: for every choice I make good or bad there is a consequence. Thanks for helping my efforts feel valid!!!

  100. I am a high school teacher with a 4th child in 6th grade. His teachers were STUNNED when I told them (I had to tell the teachers) that late work would no longer be given full credit. Had to take the assignments in his notebook that were already late and put ZEROs on them myself. I then had to ask them to STOP LETTING HIM READ DURING CLASS WORK TIME! Apparently, they don’t like to discourage reading. I am happy he loves to read….but please tell him to put the book away until his work is completed! Then the kindle went into my purse. I am actually not complaining about the teachers here. I feel badly for them because I think this attitude comes from years of berating by parents and expectations of the administration that the kids get great grades no matter what. Very sad what we as a society have done to these people who love our kids.

  101. I too let my kids learn from their mistakes. If a parent finds it difficult not to step in they may find it helps to look at the big picture and see that it is okay for their son to get a zero on an assignment for getting it in late as that is better than being fired from a job later in life because he didn’t complete the proposal by the deadline. I find that my 20 year old daughter and almost 15 year old son are very responsible. Through highschool I rarely ask if they have homework they should be working on. Their teacher has already advised them of the due dates for their assignments etc. I have friends that are way too involved in their kids lives. When a Mom types up her 17 year old child’s resume and cover letter and then sends an email to thank the employer for the interview I think the only thing the child has learned is that Mom doesn’t think I can handle this and I can be lazy because Mom will look after things for me. I sometimes look at my kids and say, ‘this is your life and your decision’. I also believe that I do not have all the answers and love seeing when my kids do something that I have concerns about and it all turns out great and the person that learns the most from those situations is me 🙂

  102. Thanks for this blog and this subject! Your post reminds me of a great book I read when my four kids were in elementary school which helped me to NOT be a helicopter parent. Their teachers thanked me often for letting them fail. Tough lessons were learned (and still are). My motto…”let them cry now or they’ll make you cry later”. At 23. 21, 19 and 17, they’re spreading their wings to leave the nest. Painful, but necessary 🙂

  103. Thank you so much for posting your wisdom! I’ve lived this way with my kids their entire lives and I feel very alone in this. I had older wonderful, wise mom friends share with me when my son was very young. Many parenting peers around me attack anyone who tries to correct their kid’s. Even teachers, bosses or anyone at anytime. Your wording was so delicate and poignant. Thank you!

  104. Well said, our family is a big 4-H family, ymyself beiong the light horse leader and apply the 4-H motto toour daily lives “Learn to do by doing”. I’ve been called a hard ass as a mom but I tell my kids regularly I want you to do this task with effort and pride as I’m raising you to be successful and productive adults, and then I use examples of others we know who are in their 30’s and have very little life skills. I have also noted to many when they complain of teachers that I wouldn’t last a day as a teacher before I would be chargerd with assualt on a parent.

  105. What can I say…. Amazing. I have the same mind set as you but, I am a little too hard on my kids. I know that I am but, it works (sometimes). I always say to them, I am not on this planet forever. One day you will not have me by your side to stay on you about homework and your room and helping out around the house.
    I am hard on you so, the world doesn’t think “who the hell raised you? a bunch of animals in the woods?

    Your blog says it so much better. I will go home and share this now!

  106. I am so glad to have you write this article, I am older and I think sometimes that “younger” mothers think I just do not get it! I do! My 19 year old is struggling with depression and a history of drug abuse, those things may have happened with him no matter what – however, I wish that I had let him fail a lot, made him earn the material things he was given and really made him accountable for many more things than we did. If you do not let them fail, they do not learn that they will survive and that they can also succeed. You have to let them have adversity so they can learn the difference between a paper cut and an amputation. You can’t shelter them so much that you do not let them ever experience life. Often times parents are so focused on having a “perfect” child that they do not let them be who they really are. I have learned the hard way that this article is 100% true!! Back off and let your children handle life when it comes at them – not really traumatic stuff, but things they need to learn about the world. How can they be a functional adult if you never let them have any challenges?

  107. I was a teacher for many years…one of those teachers that loved teaching, loved the kids, but held high expectations and allowed kids to fail when they deserved it so they could learn from their failures. My students loved it (most of the time:) and thrived under my teaching. What I learned early on is that they would rise to the level of my expectations. Now, I’m a mom to 4 kiddos and what I find, more often than not, is that I want the teachers to stick to their guns, have high standards, let my kids fail if they deserve to…BUT the teachers just won’t. They want the kids to like them. They don’t want the kids to be mad at them. They think I’m being too difficult because I want my kids to do their homework, study for their tests, and take responsibility for their actions and think I just need to “take it easy.” I have actually heard those exact sayings from actual teachers of my children. The reality is that I just can’t. Too much is at stake here. I’m raising adults. I’m raising my kids to outgrow their need for me. I’m raising them to have good work ethic, citizenship, and take responsibility for both their accomplishments and their failures because someday I will unleash them on the world and I want them to be fully prepared for what they will face. I need them to have teachers with the same mindset because the reality is that these are the leaders of tomorrow. They must learn to take responsibility. They must learn to work hard. They must learn that life is not fair. They must learn to fail and get back up. They must learn to work through difficulties and overcome obstacles. They just must…

  108. Hats off to you as a parent that you have put this in writing. I am a retired teacher and I was lucky to teach when parents backed the teacher but today teaching has become a war zone with parents. Sports and extra activities takes first place before school work and parents are just waiting to blame the teacher and homework is a no, no now because they have games to attend. College teachers are already see the results of this parenting in the kids coming to college. So AMEN to your writing.

  109. Ahhhhhhhhh! I wish there were more parents like you. As a teacher and a new mama, I COULD NOT AGREE WITH YOU MORE. I thank you!

  110. I am a teacher and a parent. I loved this piece. I started to rant in this comment and then stopped myself.
    I am definitely going to share this on my wall but I just wanted you to know that as a teacher … I really appreciated reading this. It made my day better.

  111. As a teacher I wish I could print this out and send it home with all my students for their parents to read. I loved this blog a friend of mine shared it on Facebook and so I have now subscribed to your blog because I am also a new mom and loved some of your blogs about motherhood. Thank you for this blog it made my day better!

  112. Lots of praise to you. As a teacher assistant I see this quite a lot or the parents passing it off as someone else’s fault for behavior and other things. I understand talking to the teacher to find out what’s going on if your child is receiving bad grades or seems to not want to go to a certain class. But help your teacher get to the bottom of it Not pass the blame. When I was growing up I was held accountable for my mishaps and things I just halfway did instead of using my brain and doing it all. Or being lazy and not caring to finish. Nowadays there’s an excuse for everything and it’s starting in the preschool level unfortunately. Ok I understand your child has sports and sometimes a game runs late. My children have sports also but they also know if their academics slip they no longer have sports. Yes you can get a scholarship to go to college with sports but passing academics is much better for you and helps your mind grow

  113. What you shared is so true. We do not want to overwhelm our children and we of course want to be supportive. However, protecting them from all challenges, difficulties and opportunities to learn from mistakes, making amends and participating in ‘working things out” is counter productive. These are the experiences that are crucial in developing traits like ‘resilience, common-sense, compassion, empathy, strength and fortitude”.

    My sister (who is a HS teacher and she had her husband are busy raising three children) has a plaque on one of her walls in her home that reads “Prepare the child for the path and not the path for the child”. I think that plaque captures quite a bit of what you are saying.

    Just as parents do this important work with their children, so do teachers as children spend 5-6 hours a day in school with teachers. It is a joint effort and parents and teachers need to have mutual respect for the important work they do.


  114. My 19 year old son recently moved out on his own. Far away from me. People asked me if I’m “OK” with a kind of sad empathetic facial expression. Hell,…I’m GREAT! Because he has confidence in his ability to handle life. He doesn’t need to rely on me anymore for finances or housing, because he has been learning through all of his life experiences, successes and failures and everything in between, that he is capable. All by himself. Him moving out is EVERYTHING he and I have been working towards – Independence. I love him and I am very proud of the capable young man he is. And if the bottom falls out, I will help him as much as he is able to help himself.

  115. I have seen the result of sheltering within my own family and can tell you that the resulting ADULT is in physical status only. Now as a senior citizen without a living parent to run interference, life is difficult.

    As a teacher I have gently tried to relate this story to some parents who are over zealous in running interference for Thanks for such a thoughtful post.

  116. I see what you mean but I’m conflicted. My kid couldn’t keep up with the work. He missed recess daily, we had lots of those meetings and while he had teachers who cared…it was all about what he couldn’t do. We decided to HS because my son begged us to 3 weeks before 6th grade. He’s never been happier. It’s my hope that we are teaching him different ways to learn and cope, so that he will successfully leave us one day too.

  117. Amen! I am a teacher and all I have to say is Amen! Too many parents are saving their children and it’s true they are suffering. Thank you for your wise words! amen!

  118. That’s the goal! I’m sort of worried they’ll call me to open their yogurts from their high powered offices. Since it seems to be a difficult skill. More difficult than shoe tying or paying taxes. Or maybe I’m worried they won’t need me to open their yogurts anymore?!

  119. As a mother and a teacher I cannot agree more with your wise words of wisdom. Thank you. Thank you for putting these thought in words and for sharing. As a teacher, my job isn’t easy to say the least. But those are “my kids” as well and I really try my best to see each child succeed. Parent teacher interviews are always tricky. How do you express to a parent your concerns without offending them but rather express my concerns and explain how we can work together to help that little one. As a parent, I feel the pressure to raise my girls to be that child that preserves and is responsible (even at 4). It’s not easy but having our heart and mind and actions at the right place can definitely be the first step forward.
    Thanks again!!!

  120. I appreciate this post! I am a teacher and more often than not, I see parents who pretty much set their kids up to always be dependent. I am a firm believer in teaching kids independence. It takes effort but the outcome is so worthwhile!
    Thank you for believing that your kids can and will be independent!

  121. The most important lessons to teach your children- independence, pride, humility, respect, integrity, and work ethic. With these, the rest is easily attained. It is a mother’s nature to protect, but our job is to teach and nurture the skills necessary for living without us.

  122. I am a retired teacher. Thirty years of dedication and devotion I gave to my profession, and I don’t regret a single moment. Now, I am reading such wonderful, encouraging words from all of you, and I know that my work mattered, and there is such joy in that knowledge! Thank all of you who entrusted your children into a teacher’s care. Some of us continue to reap the benefits of good teaching long after our days in the classroom are over. Bravo for this wonderful blog!

  123. From a teacher…THANK YOU!!! I have 3 children of my own and share your same out look. This could not have been put into better words!!

  124. As a teacher who is now facing an angry parent whose child earned a B in my class because of a makeup test he chose to use his book on, I thank you for this! This is the conversation I would love to have with mom as I had it with the kid. Learn from it. That’s what we’re supposed to do with mistakes in life. Learn and move on!

  125. I am a teacher. I love this. Spot on. Thanks for sharing we as parents are suppose to work ourselves out of our job.

  126. I loved what you have said. It is true children are now taught positive r enforcement for doing practically nothing. It’s a new thing that’s going around in schools. Also they are not accountable for their bad choice anymore either at least in my school. So we are going to have a lot of future stressed out adults that won’t be able to handle competition or criticism it’s a shame but the whole world is changing and not to the positive side.

  127. Children are temporary gifts from God. Enjoy the gift and treasure it. Cherish that precious gift. But it’s only temporary. So make sure that when that gift has grown and gone you’ve made a difference and your gift will go out and do exactly as you did with her/his precious gift. And the gifting cycle continues…

  128. Love it. I am actually a teacher in College and surprisingly I DID get ONE call from a parent. When they told me who they were, I just laughed and told them to have their Adult Child call me.

  129. Thank you for this excellent post. I have four children (there should be a word in English for adult offspring) They are 43, 40, 37 and 36. I raised them to be independent and self sufficient. And it worked, darn it! They don’t often call me for advice, support, or to cry on my shoulder. I do kind of miss being “needed.” And I’m so proud of how they can maturely handle this thing called life. At our annual family picnic, I love to just sit back and watch them be amazing parents, and love their siblings.

  130. You definitely are doing the parenting thing right! And thank you so, so much for thanking your son’s teacher! I am a 5th grade teacher and my colleagues and I are constantly receiving notes or phone calls from parents (and a lot of them not nice) who are trying to “fix” a situation for their child. Teachers are not as respected as they were when I was in school. Your children are going to be excellent problem-solvers when they are adults. I applaud you!!!

  131. I have been teaching for 31+ years. A truer article has not been written! Thank you. This is the biggest thing I’ve seen change.

  132. I was just thinking about my son’s gym teacher in elementary school. My son was never one to like sports, and even disliked recess. When he was about 6, I told him we were going outside and learn how to catch and throw a ball. I had a tennis ball, so it wouldn’t hurt if he missed. He didn’t want to do it. I told him that I would never expect him to play baseball if he didn’t want to, but it was important for playground skills and social skills that he at least learn to throw and catch. Cute little guy looked at me seriously and said “Can’t I just read a book about it?” (He was reading at 3!) Back to the gym teacher. One marking period my son received an “O” on his report card for gym. They gave U (unsatisfactory), S (satisfactory), or O (outstanding). The next time I saw the gym teacher I said I was surprised that this non-sports little guy got an O. The gym teacher said “He may not have the skills, or even like the class, but every class period he puts everything he’s got into it. That deserves an O for outstanding effort and dedication!” Love teachers like that!

    • That’s outstanding!!! I love the “playground skills” concept… It’s so applicable to so many situations.

  133. As a teacher, thank you! There are very few parents who think like this… AND follow through with this thought process. Even if excuses aren’t made, the next step usually isn’t taken. It’s sad to say that most parents believe that what happens in our classroom, stays in our classroom. They expect us to figure out their kid in a year and know what works for them, academically and disciplinary and then try to expand on that. Thank you for being the kind of parent that understands it’s hard work and we are doing what we can to meet each and every need of each and every student. We feel that we fail daily in different areas. It’s a struggle, but we’re not in it for the glory, but to make a difference in any way we can for the next generation. I’m not equal, but I am fair to each child in their own abilities and the students in my class are learning that: even if it is the hard way with tough love.

  134. I always say, we have to raise adults, not kids, what we show them now and what we expect or allow is going to set a standard for there academic and social future! This article is spot on, and would like to hand it out at Meet the Teacher without getting fired!

  135. Beautifully worded. As a high school English teacher, I see this a lot. Parents are not quite as involved in high school as in elementary grades, but as soon as an assignment shows up that they don’t like or don’t agree with the way it’s being graded, they are quick to let me know. We have so many requirements, expectations, and pressures from federal, state, and local administrators that make our job so hard, but it’s the care for our students and celebrating their progress that keep us teachers going. But when the parents no longer value us as professionals, their children (the students) eventually don’t either. It makes teaching a tough battle to fight every day. I love when I have a parent who sends me a word of encouragement and supports the way I have chosen to run my class, which is always with their child’s best interest in mind. It’s so nice to read your post and remember that there are parents out there like you. I have vowed to do the same when my two little boys start school. 🙂

  136. As a former teacher (5 yrs at a private school) and now a mom myself, I totally agree!! Many parents I interacted with did this well, but some did not. It pained me to see how that hurt their children and ended up being a handicap more than a help. One of my biggest takeaways from teaching is that learning how to fail well is a vital lesson. Now I hope I will apply that to my parenting. 🙂

  137. As a teacher and mom of two school age girls, I agree entirely. When we interfere too early we teach kids that they aren’t capable of solving problems on their own. There is a lot of confidence gained from fixing you own dilemmas and character built from facing the consequences of your actions. We all eventually have to learn this, better to do it young!
    Thanks for working this so eloquently.
    Jr. High Teacher and mom of 2,
    Jachelle Lowe

  138. Thank you. I teach kindergarten, and wish all parents recognized that I love my students. I am always thinking with their best interest in mind and at heart. Thank you for acknowledging that your child’s teacher is doing what she believes to be best for him, and for trusting her to do her job.

  139. I am a Family Daycare Provider in Maryland and I wish more parents felt the way you do. You hit the nail on the head! That is why we have so many ENTITLED young adults. They haven’t been allowed to experience life and fall on their faces a bit. Thank you!

  140. I just returned from a school trip of 76 to Disney (high school kids performed). What a treat it was to watch them fly on their own–for many, it was their first big trip on their own. I was very proud of their efforts to be on time and to handle their money and take care of themselves. Sure, things come up–but that’s typical any time with teens. For the most part, I was proud of their self-sufficiency. I encourage them to keep doing it. They more they fly on their own and practice while parents/guardians can be there to guide, the better they will fly on their own as adults. We had a great trip!

  141. Children are not “ours” they (we) are all children of God’s — they are only on loan for 18 years. Teach them well and let them go!

  142. I love what you are saying here. I mean, if I were actually going to have a kid, this is the way I would approach them growing up. In all to many situations, I see adults acting like children because as you put it, they aren’t raised to succeed, they are raised to depend on mommy and daddy and wine (complain) till they get their way. Sadly, it works – just not very adult like so. Because of the way society is raising kids these days, are the exact reasons why I will never have children though, because now days, our kids that “don’t fit in” get placed in to digital schools, rather than fixing the problem of bullies (both children and adults). Our teachers aren’t allowed to discipline anymore, and get the back seat, while parents expect the teachers to teach, just in the lines of not offending the child. Our society is completely messed up in this. I loved your outlook in how to raise kids to “leave you” rather than protecting them 100% from life – mistakes and achievements. Thank you for your blog on this.

  143. I love this! I teach 8th grade and see this so many times. Parents are still stepping in to save the day and giving no responsibility or ownership to their child! It breaks my heart because I know reality is coming and going to be a rough eye opening experience! I’m always so thankful for those kids that are maybe a little tough but have parents willing to roll up their sleeves and help me! Like they say, “It takes a village to raise a child,” remember to include the teacher! They can be great at helping your little one grow.

  144. So true, it’s our jobs to raise good citizens who can handle the world, not make the world accommodate our whining children!

  145. I am a kindergarten teacher. I love this and I’ve talked to lots of parents about this sort of thought process. Sounds crazy early, right? No. It’s not. As kids begin their first learning away from the home, it can be very difficult for the parents to “let them learn”. The classroom world is a different world and one they must learn to thrive in….even when other kids are hurtful, even when they struggle to get a concept, even when the teacher has to send home “the dreaded behavior note”. They have to learn from all of these things to continue to develop into productive citizens. I love this! And I thank parents like you who realize we all are in this together.

  146. Thank you for this article. I am not a teacher, but worked in education for 20 years. You are right about parents tying teachers hands. One teacher friend shared this conversation he had with a parent: Why did you give my child an “F”? Teacher response: I didn’t, your child earned it.

  147. Thank you! This put the words that have been weighing on my mind and heart on paper. I am a first grade teacher and this is what I want to scream at every parent email I get asking to change a grade or report card or at half of my parents conference. Sadly I can’t I just have to sit there and take the criticism and the you aren’t doing enough with a smile.

  148. Superb article. You are providing a fabulous public service!!

    I shared it with this comment:

    This might be the best thing I’ve read for days or years. Moms: please read this. Dads: please read this.

    Moms: stop protecting your whiny kids, especially your whiny, crying sons. They are not in pain; they are manipulating you. If I have to see another young man weeping over a bad grade because he didn’t have (pick one) enough time to study, or his family was having family time, or he didn’t understand there was a test that day, or he had a tummy ache, or….my head might start spinning around like a top. That would be bad. I could get a concussion. Don’t give me a concussion.

    Dads: follow your instincts and don’t allow your sons (or daughters) to whine and moan and drape themselves over your furniture complaining about all the mean teachers and coaches who make them *gasp* work or run or whatever. Tell them to grow whatever body part you think they need and get to work.

    Raise your kids to LEAVE YOU like you left your mommy and daddy. Carry the pain of that loss privately–it IS a loss. Partner with your teachers; most of them are spectacular, a few are jerks.

    And know this: your kids’ teachers know your kids in a way you DO NOT. We see them with their friends. We hear what they talk about when you’re not around. We hear them talk about you. And we smile kindly at you in conferences and hope you understand that, like you, we truly love your kid.

  149. I have been in education for 19 years. The first years as a teacher and for the past 4 years as an assistant principal. I love what you have to say. I am also a mother of two teenage boys, so I have experience from both sides. I couldn’t agree more with you! Better for them learn how to fail with us by their side to counsel them while they are still under our roof, rather than fixing everything for them and when they get in the real world, them not knowing how to handle a set back. I see this every day. Kids that have no regard or respect for authority because their parents have always come to the rescue in everything! Thanks so much for sharing

  150. Thanks so much for this post. As a teacher, I so appreciate your parenting style. I truly wish that you (and the internet) had been around when I was a young mom (I now have grandkids–and being a grandma is a MUCH easier job!) There are so many things that I would do differently—and your post really hits home! Parents who read this and heed your advice and their children will benefit greatly!!!

  151. With 11 years of teaching under my belt and 8 years of motherhood, I couldn’t agree with you more! Please protect your child but don’t protect them from life. They need to fall first and then we can help them up and dust the off so they can be on the move again. If they never fall, how do they learn? We need more moms like you!

  152. I completely agree with your article. I have twin b/g who are 8 and have always been in different classrooms. They are as different in personality and learning as night and day, and we have strived as parents that they suffer the consequences of their actions, both at home and especially at school. The only communication I have with my children’s teachers are conferences, and for one child with a food allergy, during food celebrations. Other than that, we do not bother the teachers, as we peruse the homework and assignments as they come home, and discuss with the child how things were during the day. If the teacher is having a bad day, and one of my children mention it, my first questions is “Did you do anything to contribute to her bad day?” Most of the time, the answer is no, but if it is yea, not only do they get the repercussions at school, whatever the teacher deeps appropriate, and then at home, with mom and dad. Our biggest mantra “our house, our rules”, for the teacher “Their classroom, their rules!” I have often said to mu kids too, and many may think too harsh, but if they do not like the rules. they can always find another house to live in.
    Thank you for such a great topic!

  153. I am a high school English teacher and a mother of 2 daughters ages 12 and 9. I have tried to teach them that it’s their responsibility to deal with their issues by themselves before I get involved (unless it’s a serious issue only an adult can solve). I’ve forced them to have talks with their teachers about missing work, poor scores, seating arrangements, wanting different work, etc. Is it easy? Nope. They’re EXTREMELY nervous when they approach their teacher. But what it’s taught them is that even at a very young age, it is their job to advocate for themselves. It’s their job to confront the person in charge and make their requests known in a polite, respectful manner. That they are CAPABLE of doing all these things for themselves because they’re smart and autonomous little people, not babies or at the mercy of me acting. Many of my students’ parents also force them to approach me for the same reasons because they understand that within a few years, they will be on their own. Unfortunately, many parents don’t and will not bat an eye at “cussing out” a teacher if they don’t like what they hear about their child. Instead of assisting and guiding and giving their kids resources/suggestions to problem solve, they swoop in a make things worse for everybody involved.

    I know I’ve learned the most from my mistakes and struggles, and the most successful students grow into adults who do the same. We enable our children and then wonder why they’re 30 and living at home. It’s ok to let them grow up and failure is all a part of the learning process.

  154. While I am not a teacher in a classroom at a school, I am still a teacher at home to my son and in my work as a nurse practitioner. I agree completely with your wonderfully worded post! My son will graduate this year from high school and will be going off to college to earn his degree in computer science. His high school years have shown me so much growth, ambition, change in his attitude towards school, his grades, his outlook on life, his maturity! I’m extremely proud of him, but again, what parent wouldn’t be? He has been on the honor roll this year which is saying a lot! My son and I had many battles through his grade school and junior high years. Three plus hours a night spent on homework, arguing, keeping him on track and struggling to have good grades. He would get extremely stubborn at times and just flat refuse to turn assignments in! He refused to do much his second semester of 8th grade to the point, while he was still advanced on to high school, he was not allowed to participate in his 8th grade promotion! This was, of course, very disheartening for me! But we all knew his extreme intelligence and how capable he was. Even his state test scores would show this. He had many times where he was rude or disrespectful to his teachers as well. I NEVER stood for this! One particular time, which was the last time he was disrespectful, I finally had enough! I told him those individuals that CHOOSE to make poor decisions don’t get anywhere and end up paying the price! Many of those going to jail, prison, or suffering other consequences. So I, as the parent, after being called by the principal and teacher about his actions, told him he was grounded for a month, took all his technology gadgets from him, AND made him sit down, write a letter of apology explaining why and what he did that was wrong, and why he would never do it again. He had to hand deliver this to the teacher in my presence, give a verbal apology, and THEN he had to give at least 8 hours of his time to that teacher to do whatever hard labor she desired to have done. I didn’t care if it was cleaning her toilets, garage, etc, anything she wanted. He was going to know his actions had consequences! We met with the teacher the next day and the principal. He proceeded with his verbal and written apology and explained he would be giving her eight hours of his time. This was difficult for him to get through, but he did it! She did not feel this was necessary. I told her, “Yes, it is!” Because that is my punishment from for him so he will never do this again! He will learn respect! Both her and the principal thanked me for supporting them and not coming in to complain about him being in trouble. I was astounded that complaints from parents like that are now the norm and the support from patents to the teachers is so poor! Well my son served his time, didn’t hurt him at all, and as noted, I have never had a problem with him being disrespectful again! That was a turning point! He has developed into a very caring, giving, self motivated and disciplined young man that will succeed and do great things! Everyone that knows him, teachers and community members and even other students cannot say enough good things about him and his character! So I am very thankful for our teachers and know that many times they have a thankless job. Thanks for sharing your story! ?

  155. When my now 15 year old was in 4th grade the teacher told us that we were to no longer sit with our child to do homework. We could be there, we could talk and answer questions, but that when we sat down we started to DO, rather than give the child space to do for himself. That stayed with me and got me thinking about my role as a parent. In my mind, I’m the Jersey barrier on the road of life. I can’t change the curves or smooth the potholes. I can’t stop him from going to fast or make him take time to see the scenery or remove the traffic. I can only try my best to keep him on the road. It’s hard sometimes, to not be the construction crew, but I think back to that teacher and remind myself, he has to do for himself.

  156. I agree with this its so true and I’m sure we have all been Guilty of this at onepoint or another …being to protective of our children’s …yes it’s better that they learn soon as possible early in life while there still under our roof that’s life is tough so they will be ready to stand on there own ….when we can’t do this for them we can only teach them how to handle. There selfs and know we all done a good Job the best that we could do of the best interest of all our children’s ….we must all stick togather and work togather and pray togather to make a better tommorow for all ….thanks for shareing …..May God bless everyone

  157. This is one teacher who loves your post because it is so true. Parents and teachers are partners in a child’s education. When we do things for them because they aren’t perfect, too slow, our own impatience, etc then our behavior says to them that we are doing this for them because we don’t believe they can. or that they can’t do it well enough This cycle. ceates dependency and lack of self confidence over time..

  158. I am a middle school teacher and I say, Yes!! Yes!! Yes!! Every day I deal with parents who make excuses for their kids. “I forgot to give him his medicine.” “We had dance last night and she didn’t have time.” ” I forgot to sign it.” Its very rare these days to have a parent appreciate the work that we do and even more rare for them to have their kid to take responsibility. We are failing these kids epically by bailing them out and not allowing failures in their life. Thanks for the blog post. It is great!!

  159. Good morning:
    What a wonderful read to start my morning as a high school teacher❤️ YOU nailed it from both a parents point of view and a teacher’s. We must teach our children “grit”, perseverance, accountability and how to fail in order to be successful! The current philosophy among many “helicopter” parents is damaging to their child and unrealistic. Keeping spreading your wise thoughts…???