Mom Tip Monday: When to Hand Over Control

by Heligirl on October 18, 2010

in Daily Ramblings,Guest Posts,Mom Tip Monday,Parenting Articles,Parenting Tidbits

I recently got this very exciting e-mail from Gayle, a Heligirl reader with a tween daughter. I was so thrilled by Gayle’s discovery and how incredibly positive her experience was that I asked her if I could share it here.

In a nutshell, Gayle put natural consequences to work and instilled a sense of responsibility in her daughter that inspired the girl to turn around her potentially self destructive behavior. In fact, Gayle did this so text book that her daughter made the decision herself to change, taking responsibility for her life, and as such will be much less likely to digress. When the decisions are ours, we don’t tend to rebel against them. Take it away, Gayle:

I got a letter from the school informing me that my presence was requested at an academic intervention of sorts for my daughter, who was failing one or more classes. When I asked her about it that evening, she casually replied that it’s probably biology and it’s no big deal.

As it turns out, she was failing almost EVERYTHING. I was shocked, disappointed, etc. because her reason for failing was because she just couldn’t be bothered to do any work. That really pissed me off so of course, I reacted like an insane person and decided that I would “make” her do all of her work and monitor her like a warden.

Fortunately, I am surrounded by people much smarter than me who pointed out that if she is going to be irresponsible and fail, now is the time for her to do it, not when she’s “grown” and on her own.

My wise friends suggested I give my daughter “more rope to hang herself with” rather than try to control her. I did. And you know what? It worked.

I told my daughter it was really up to her whether or not she passed or failed – I admit I did mention that failing even one semester would have her in summer school and/or hanging back with a whole new pack of freshmen (something we both learned at the intervention meeting, which itself really emphasized the consequences of being a lazy slacker).

She spent that weekend doing makeup work and she has now raised ALL of her grades. And it’s only been a few weeks.

So, instead of being horribly negative about it and trying to control her, I let her use it as an opportunity to grow. She decided how she would work things out. She took responsibility for the outcome, not me. And I’m not spending hours and hours standing over her head.

I admit I do monitor everything online and I did remove some privileges but overall, it was a positive experience.


Twitter: rachael1013
October 20, 2010 at 9:06 pm

This is great. Sometimes, it’s SO hard to just stand back and let them learn, but it can be so worth it.

Twitter: Heligirl
October 25, 2010 at 3:49 pm

I think so. I was just so very inspired by Gayle’s story. I’m kind of sad more people didn’t comment. I hope it at least made a few impressions. Thanks for visiting Rachael!

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