One Thing Good Parents Need This Back to School Season


We know it’s our kids’ work to do, but we remind them constantly of what needs to be accomplished before school starts back up.

We see no hope for our child to get their reading and math work done if we don’t help them along.

Helpful, not helpful.

Our high schoolers just picked up their freshman and sophomore schedules this week. Some classes and teachers make them happy, while others make them cringe.

I don’t like to see my children cringe.

Their unhappiness makes me question if I should schedule a meeting with a school administrator.

Helpful, not helpful.

Parents we are good today. 

Good with a capital G. Maybe even too Good.

Unfortunately, our parenting goodness is hurting and hindering our kids.

I’m so good that I scheduled a meeting with my kid’s guidance counselor to help facilitate a move that I think would be best for my student. What is my problem? Mama Bear couldn’t just sit back and watch her child in an imperfect academic situation, now could she?

Helpful, not helpful.

Guidance counselors didn’t use to meet with parents to discuss bettering the logistics of their child’s school day. It used to be, you get what you get and you don’t throw a fit.

Not anymore. Parents are now allowed and almost expected, to throw civil tantrums disguised as helpful facilitation.

Today we want our kids to have the best teachers and get the lunch period with their closest friends. My parents certainly weren’t setting up appointments to better my academic or social experience when I was growing up.

My son is disappointed that he didn’t get the awesome geometry teacher whom everyone loves. Frankly, I’m disappointed too. I saw how my other sons benefited greatly from being a part of this teacher’s class so of course, I want him to have the chance to learn from this fabulous educator as well.

And here’s where we go wrong parents.

We begin to figure out, fix and finagle the disservice to our child. Or if we’re having a strong parenting day and know we shouldn’t handle it, we tell our kid exactly how to fix the problem themselves.

Helpful, not helpful.

What should we do as parents when our child experiences disappointment with any aspect of their schooling?

We should exercise our parental self-control.

What we good parents need the most as our kids head back to school for another year is… Self-control, which is the ability to not act on that which we feel is helpful, yet not helpful in the long run.

It is difficult to stand by and watch our child not get placed in the best situation possible.

My son says he’s going to talk to the counselor about changing his math class as he really wants Mr. So and So.

What my son doesn’t know is that I really want him to have this teacher too. Good parents want the best educators and education for their student. I encourage him to go talk to his counselor if that’s what he feels he needs to do, but that just wanting a different teacher may not be a good enough reason to switch him. I then ask my son what he will do one day when he has a boss that he doesn’t care for or ends up with a college roommate who isn’t a perfect fit?

We must teach our children that just because they want something, doesn’t mean they will get it.

Life is unfair and not made up of perfect situations and people. We must develop resilient kids and embrace imperfect learning opportunities. Maybe this unwanted teacher will surprise my son with his greatness or maybe he won’t. Either way, he will learn through the experience.

We want our children happy and to have nothing less than the best. The thought of our kid assigned to a teacher with a bad reputation tortures us, good parents.

We have to learn to back away from our need to control and facilitate our child’s success. Guidance counselors need to smile at us loving parents and turn us away. We are all doing kids a disservice when we run constant interference in their lives.

I watch my daughter scroll through her social media while her summer reading book sits untouched.

I hear my sons talk about the classes and teachers they wish they would’ve gotten.

And I exercise my parental self-control and quietly walk away.

Helpful, very helpful.

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