Thursday, April 19, 2012

The Enabling Parent - Part 2

Here’s how I responded to the Nancy the Enabler.  I first took a deep breath.  Ok, I took about 5 deep breaths, and prayed a short prayer called, “Lord help me not strangle this woman.”  Then I told her in the calmest voice I could muster, “Your child needs to remember to get his work done without my prodding.  He had the test on his desk all day as a reminder that it needed to be completed.”  

She didn’t like that answer.  So she asked again if I would reconsider.  Well, since you asked again a second time, I guess I’ll change my answer (I hope you caught the sarcasm).  So I elaborated, “I wouldn’t feel right about giving him more time to complete his test since he had it on his desk all day, and that’s plenty of time to finish his test.”

She still didn’t like my answer and asked again if I would reconsider since her son didn’t know when his free time was, and I didn’t give him a reminder. I replied, “So, you’re saying you would’ve liked for me to stop what I was doing and say in front of the class, ‘Now, *student’s name* remember that this is your free time and we agreed that you would work on your test during your free time,’” I kept explaining, “I didn’t remind him because I didn’t need to.  He’s in 4th grade and needs to learn to be responsible for completing his work in a timely manner. He’s depending on me to remind him to complete his work, and we need to break that habit.”

And guess what: she still didn’t like my answer.  So finally I said, “Look, I’m not trying to be harsh.  I want your son to be prepared for 5th grade, and if I give him even more time to complete his test then he’s not going to be prepared next year. In 5th grade he won’t be allowed the entire day to finish his test as I allowed, let alone another day you’re asking me for.  Hopefully he will use this as a learning experience so it will help him the next time he needs to complete an assignment. I understand that you disagree, however I’m not going to change my mind.”

Then she just stood there and we exchanged an awkward silence.  Then she walked away.  And her son, who was listening the entire time, gave me a hug before leaving.  

That hug made it all worth dealing with her and I walked away with a small on my face.

Continue to part 3 to read my thoughts about the mom

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  1. Karen GreenbergApr 19, 2012 01:12 PM

    As a 5th grade teacher I appreciate you standing your ground. It seems like all the parents I deal with want me to give their child more time, more consideration, more, more, more. (Sorry, I'm a little grouchy and overwhelmed this week.) I always wonder when it is time for the student to step up to the plate.

  2. The Resourceful Teacher.comApr 23, 2012 07:16 AM

    Thanks, Karen. There comes a point where we adults need to allow a child to fail. That sounds harsh, and it's even difficult to let myself type it, but when we allow the child to fail every once in a while, it gives us an opportunity to re-direct the student where we want him/her to go. It's done out of love and we hope that the student uses it as a learning opportunity to grow.

  3. Karen GreenbergApr 23, 2012 07:16 PM

    Exactly! It IS hard to let a child fail, but it is so much more powerful than forcing them to succeed. Some of my students who hated me at the beginning of the year have really grown. They've never had to work hard for their grades and were used to getting As without effort. I love seeing how far they've come!