December 6, 2012

When do kids learn?

For you old pros out there - be it parents or family members of now grown up people that you knew as kids - when do they learn? 

When do they learn that they aren't smarter than their parents? 

When do they learn that we see right through their bullshit stories?

When do they learn that we long ago mastered the art of checking up on them without them knowing?  Seriously, parents aren't ninjas, but we are wickedly resourceful. 

My two youngest are just immature and I hold out hope for the future.  Hope that I have been a better parent, have instilled a stronger sense of honesty and integrity in them, and that they will find some magical drive to succeed as they age.  Maybe they could just sit and watch their siblings kill me and learn from it... 

My two oldest must think I am an imbecile.  Bang's high school has an online grading system that sends me alerts when he is tardy, absent, gets a failing grade, and if/when his GPA drops below a certain point.  The system sends out the emails around midnight, so seeing that notice in my email each morning has become a rude awakening - for all involved.  Then the ridiculous excuses and blank looks start.  I think I would rather hear, 'I forgot about that', than some of the pathetic reasons he comes up with for not doing, turning in, or understanding his homework.

Boom is in college, and like many parents around the country, I am faced with the fact that I write the checks but have limited access to knowing what is going on.  I don't want to talk to her teachers or anything, but I also don't want to finance a semester of partying and/or blowing off classes just for the hell of it, only to find out after all the financial damage is done.  Colleges realize the 'we need to please the people who are paying' conundrum and provide a handy release form for kids to sign that gives certain departments and personnel the ability to discuss grades, attendance, and performance of the adult child.  This permission was granted to me, but I am fairly certain Boom has forgotten that as she spins her web of deception.  She has delved into the 'class is optional' delusion and clearly thinks that she can pull off an Academy Award-worthy look of surprise and dismay when semester grades come out. 

Boom told me today that she was likely to go straight to her dad's house at the beginning of Christmas break, to see a family member that is leaving the next day.  Not sure whether I believe that, or if that is the safest place she could think of to be when semester grades are released.

I have passed the unhinged and irate parent point, but Mr. Harper feels it is important to let the child fail, utterly and completely, on their own, for the lesson to truly be learned.  While I generally agree, I am particularly stung by the cost of some of these lessons.  And yes, I have been told that I should be thankful that my kid isn't failing any classes, or dropping out or school, or doing drugs (she leaves that to her roommate), or in jail - but, really, why should I dumb down my expectations just because other kids are doing worse?

2 comments:

CenTexTim said...

I'm with Mr. H on this one. Let her make her own mistakes, and (hopefully) learn from them. That's much more effective than someone else shielding her -- however minimally -- from the consequences of her actions.

As to the cost, well, IMO that is more cost-effective in the long run. In the short run, of course, it comes out of your wallet.

Harper said...

I wanted to pull the plug NOW, rather than give her another semester of money to burn...but I guess I will just keep a running tab and she can work next summer to pay me back.