Helping Your Child be Self Reliant

by Evelyn J. Mocbeichel

Evelyn J. Mocbeichel

There is no doubt that raising children takes many adults along the way, besides parents, to turn out a well adjusted, successful and accomplished child. But, parents should realize that although teachers, coaches, and religious leaders are strong supporters in helping parents, they are not the primary ones responsible for the child. Preschool parents often expect more from nursery school teachers than is possible in a three-hour program. Parents want the child to learn manners, to share, take turns and to pick up his or her own toys. Many of these traits must be fostered at home before the child enters preschool. Parents of older children think schools are responsible for teaching their child to stay away from drugs and alcohol and to introduce the child to other delicate issues. For the most part, a child should be hearing about these topics at home, with school or religious training filling in and adding more information on a different level that is age appropriate. Passing responsibility onto another adult is not fair and parents need to be aware when they are falling into this mode. On the child’s part, accepting responsibility is not an easy task to master and it only comes with years of practice and growing maturity. If there is one legacy a parent can leave or teach a child, that is to take responsibility, own up to what you have done and work to fix, amend or rectify any mistake you have made. People will respect you for this trait and you will stand tall in anyone’s eyes when they think of you. It’s your responsibility!

When I was a young child it was my duty to make sure my homework was done each evening and brought to class on time the next day. Sure, my mother would remind me that it had to be done, but after that gentle prodding, it was my responsibility to complete the assignment. I knew that when I went into class the next day, I would be the one that had to open my notebook for the teacher to see as she slowly walked up the aisle to preview our completed work. It never occurred to me not to do my homework and then blame an outside reason for it not being completed. In those days a teacher would send home a note for a parent to sign, if a student did not produce the work on the desk that day. Pity that student whose parent received that note that needed a signature! Jump ahead to when our children went to school and we learned one of them had fallen behind with assignments in her freshman high school science class. The teacher was kind enough to call one evening to let us know so I could be on top of the situation that slipped passed me. Finals were coming up and the teacher feared the missed assignments would jeopardize my daughter’s grade point for that semester. When I thanked the teacher for taking time from her evening to call and to let me know about the situation she sounded relieved. After making over 35 calls this teacher said that only about five parents thanked her for the call. The rest were annoyed that they were being “bothered” with this problem and began making excuses why the homework or assignments were not on time. The parents’ excuses were that the student was either on a sports team, in an after school activity or worked a part time job. How come the parent wasn’t the one responsible for seeing that their student had time to fit in homework? Parents with this attitude would most likely not encourage the child to be responsible for finishing assignments, if parents were bold to chastise the teacher for the reminder call.