As a parent of four, I find it very hard to keep track of what is going on day to day with each of the kids. Their schooling requirements around activity days, tests, assignments, excursions etc. are all very different as they are all in different stages of their school life. As such, the older two have a bit more trust placed in them to manage their work, and call out anything that is coming up. For example, I will ask if they have any assessments coming up in the next couple of weeks, and I hope to hear the truth. Many times we will be talking about their day and they will just say they have something coming up, without prompting. Then there are times like this week..
Our eldest daughter was with her mother, and it turned out she had a history assignment due. She was off school sick the day it was talked about in class, but they have this all in their diaries, and as we all know, teachers must remind us about this stuff in class 100 times before its due. She got to the night before it was due, and told her mother she hadn’t done it, which is like handing someone who hates you a loaded gun and telling him you killed their parents and ate their dog – bad idea!
Her mother’s reaction was to leave her to face the consequences of not handing it in. This is where we differ in approaches, which can make co-parenting so much more difficult. It also puts me in the position of being bad cop (as usual). Once I heard about this, I contacted my daughter and made it clear she was to spend her morning, recess and lunch working on the assignment so she could hand something in at the end of the day. I fully acknowledge there may not be a right or wrong with either approach, but for me, I think sending her the message this is never acceptable, and she can’t get out of it no matter what, is a better message than her receiving a fail from the teacher without further consequence. She is only year 7, and one missed assignment isn’t going to create a fuss or affect her school life, however, I think it can set a dangerous precedent of it being ok to miss deadlines.
I know I need to try harder again now to track their various work, and step up the nagging and checking. It’s always difficult, because we are trying to teach them trust, honesty, and to manage themselves, but it’s also our job as parents to keep them on the right path (in my opinionated opinion).