Way back in the day...when dinosaurs ruled the earth and school was a 12 mile uphill walk both ways in 2 feet of snow....

And, I was in school, good grades were expected. A's and B's were right. C's were unacceptable. I would have been afraid to have a D or F. The consequences would have been unthinkable. The majority of kids around me felt the same. Good grades were the expectation. Our peer relationships, our parental relationships, the entertainment industry, our teachers and all the other adults that congratulated us for good grades reinforced that.

I don't see that anymore. Peers and the entertainment industry seem to reinforce that failure is to be celebrated. That and boxer shorts that hang out above belt lines. The guy that drops out and rides off into the sunset on the motorcycle with the long haired, buxom blond is the hero. Nobody ever mentions that they both end up underemployed and bored and broke. They just remember that heroic ride into the sunset.

Last night, while I was being hated for taking away Sydney's laptop, I was reminded...by her...that all her friend's parents are just glad if their kids pass school. Who cares whether that's a C or D grade. As long as they pass. That's certainly different than it was back in my day. And, I question the truth that we're the only parents that care. (and I wonder just how many of those friends have laptops)

I was also reminded that teachers don't give enough work to help bring up a bad grade. No mention was made about who earned a bad grade to start with or all the reminders that Rob has given her over the last 4 weeks about her grades.

And, I was told that I could not possibly understand how hard she works at school. All I do is sit in an office all day and do nothing.

That's the one thing I chose to argue with.

At work, I'm an analyst. I use math. I look at numbers to answer questions. I use logic. People ask me questions and I have to find the answer and figure out whether there's a problem. I use language to convey my ideas in ways that others will understand. I use a keyboard to transmit those answers. I use history to help me find workable solutions and to do research. I am part of a peer group that has a pecking order.

In fact, my days are not all that different than my 13 year old's. Except she gets off work at 3:30 and has 3 consecutive months of summer vacation. What she's learning in school, I'm using at work.

And, if she hopes to use the skills at work, then she's got to learn them in school.

I don't know how much of that got through. Don't care. I talk. She sulks. She's mad. I'm unreasonable. I don't do anything. It's my fault that I don't make her do more homework (no mention that her constant refrain is that she has already done her homework).

But, you know what? There wasn't any yelling. There was very little crying (much to Rob's dismay after I promised weeping over the Spanish assignment I gave after her shower). That is soooo different from what it was like 3 years ago. Now we've learned. Give a clear expectation and stand behind it. Administer consequences. No need to argue. No need to fight. I am not responsible, nor do I have to answer, for her disappointment.

Life is so much better than it was Way Back in 2008.

In 2008, we thought we had to explain. We thought we had to argue that we were right. Maybe we did. Maybe that established the base for the expectations we have now.

I gotta tell you. I'd rather she text all her friends about how mean I am than to stand in the kitchen shouting back and forth with her.

And, I just keep reminding her that she doesn't really hate me. She's just pissed off and I'm the goat.

But, I gotta confess. There was a lot of satisfaction in making her do homework while she was so mad at me. tee-hee-hee.

Take care and have a great Wednesday. Lane


Laura said...

As someone who has 2 in college and one in middle school, I feel your pain.

LynCC said...

You are, by no means, the only parent who demands good grades. :) And in our family, children don't get their own laptop until their senior year, so nope, not everyone has one. They get to share the family computers until then.

Paul said...

Lane, as you well know, you are not alone. Every parent of a teenager hears these same arguments.

Good for you for sticking to your consequences. We recently had to tell Chyenne that she would sit in the back row and listen to the concert she was supposed to be singing in because she chose to lie to us. I was so tempted to just ground her to her room, but chose to make attend so she could see what she missed. She HATED that 90 minutes of the day, but she'll never forget it either.

She has a dance recital this weekend, and after the previous consequence for lying 2 weeks ago, we haven't heard any lies since then. She really wants to dance on Sunday. My only hope is that she doesn't start lying again at 6:05 AM on Monday...

You obviously love her very much, your participation in her life is to be commended... Some day she'll appreciate it.


Mary Ann & Mother said...

My (now) twenty-seven year old stepdaughter hated having to practice her spelling words twice every day after school, but you know what? She told me just recently that she's happy she learned how to spell and has her little girl learning spelling words every afternoon. Remember: Cod liver oil doesn't taste good, but it's good for you! As a school teacher, I appreciate the fact that you are enforcing consequences to help support the teacher's efforts at school. If a house divided can not stand, then if parents and teachers are not on the same wave length, then it's the child's education and well being that eventually suffers. All adolescents are looking for boundaries and she's a very fortunate young lady to have a caring parent who sets and keeps them.

Elizabeth said...

Very rarely are the things that are worth it easy. It is worth it to teach your daughter how to work hard, be responsible and do her best. And good for you for not shouting. Keep at it and pretty soon, you'll have a very mature, responsible, respectful, hard-working young lady on your hands. It will be worth it.

xo -E

Coloradolady said...

this too shall pass!!! Famous last words you are thinking I know..what progress!! It is hard when I am sure she might be right, I think parents don't take the time today they need to see what is going on with their kids....you guys are doing so much for Sydney, there will come a day she will be thankful!!

Bird said...

Hi Lane, I've been following your blog for a number of weeks now, and just wanted to thank you! I really have enjoyed your posts, your wisdom, stories, and most of all: your talented quilting! Thanks for being a bright spot on my blog roll & looking forward to "getting to know" each other blog-istically speaking as the months roll on! Cheers :)

Impera_Magna said...

Congratulations! You have been awarded the "Meanest Dad in the World" award. To receive this award you have to be a good parent... not just a parent.

You know you've earned this award when your child tells you that you're mean, texts all her friends just how mean you are, and pouts and sulks.

You know you're doing the right thing when your daughter argues and complains but she does what she's suppose to do.

Some day in the future, you'll be thanked for being the meanest dad in the world....

Shay said...

I think you've learned in three short years what it took me about 16 years of parenting to get straight. No justification of rules and expectations. My favourtie posta of yours are always the ones where you talk about Sydeney's successes and life lessons and your honest view of parenting.

And by the way I would have died before I even thought about bringing home anything less than a B. I really dislike the way that school has become less important but getting a high paying job has much more focus.How are you supposed to do one without doing the other?

Shay said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Judy said...

I was raised in a family where A's were expected from all four of us children. However, not all four of us were capable of A's in all of the subjects. It was a very unfair expectation placed on each of us children and caused a great deal of poor self esteem in one child in particular. He ended up not graduating from high school.

When our son came along we encouraged him to do his personal best. If that was A, B or C work - fine, as long as he was truly putting forth his best effort. We knew what he was capable of, so did he and his teachers. Certain subjects come easier to us than others - we are not all gifted in every area. He usually was capable of A's and B's and an occasional C.

We went through what you are going through as far as the excuses, etc. I think every parent experiences that. My son is 28 now and we can finally laugh about those years - but it wasn't funny at the time. So I can feel your pain.

He has graduated from a private college with a degree he wanted and has worked hard to pay for most of it himself. He is working in his chosen field and he loves what he is doing - but he did not get straight A's in high school and we did not force that idea on him either.

Remember, (unless these have changed):
A is Exceptional
B is Above average
D is Below average
F is Failing

Not every child will be Exceptional 100% of the time.

I am not suggesting you wimp out on Sydney - but just something to think about as far as grades go. It always makes me cringe when a teacher expects every one in her class to get A's. Not going to happen - or there is only one gifted student in the class!

All in love and concern -

Kate said...

Right on... you rock... she is sooo fortunate to have someone willing to be a parent. Not just a grownup - a parent.

Janet O. said...

I applaud parents who set reasonable limits and then don't cave into the pressure of "but everybody else...". I raised four children who knew that I expected their best effort where school was concerned. I knew it wouldn't be all A's all the time, but neither would they get away with wasting their time and then making excuses about why it was the teacher's fault that they got a poor grade. They all went to college on scholarships--some better than others, but all of them know the meaning of applying themselves and that they will get out of school what they put into it. Sydney will be miles ahead of those who are sliding through school with as little effort as possible. Don't know who will hire them in the real world.

Becky said...

You're doing it right, Lane. No need for yelling...just state the rule/expectation and enforce the consequences. I was the big meanie for years and I don't regret one minute of them. The boys turned out ok and functional! So will Sydney. :)

Cynthia L. said...

My daughter understood the word consequence at age 3! She still thinks about what she is going to do before doing it. Everything we do in life has a consequence, sometimes good, sometimes bad. I told my daughter that it was ok to hate me when she was young - I knew she would thank me later. Thankfully it never got to the "hate" word!

P. said...

Bravo, Lane. You are doing the right thing, setting those expectations and having consequences. Keep it up. It's pitiful when kids think it's acceptable to just slide by or even fail. I just learned this evening that a nephew will not graduate; the first in our extended family to not graduate HS, and I hope it's the last.

Sandi Colwell said...

Well said Lane! I have 3 daughters (13, 10 and 8). Many days it's a battlefield around here with my 13 year old. It's hard but no one said it would be easy, right? We'll survive and so will they...I was the 13 year old girl once and I did the same things to my parents. What comes around goes around and here it is ;)
Hang in there!

Andra Gayle said...

we start taking privileges when the A falls to a B and when we see a C there is major trouble and lots of work to do. Right there with you and SOOO ready for school to be out...