Mothering or Smothering

At the risk of sounding cynical, I have to say being an educator for two years now has made me question some parents motives. I have worked in a scenario where I practically begged the parents to just pick up the phone and talk to me about their students. The lack of interest in their children’s education was really mind-boggling to me. The students that I was working with then were the ones that were most in need of extra support academically but it’s clear they were (are) not getting it at home.

Then there’s the flip side…the smothers. I really don’t know which is worse: not caring at all and leaving your children completely to their own devices as far as their education goes or taking full control of everything and making sure they get the right grades. Now when I say get the right grades, this doesn’t mean the student earns them. Not all the time anyway. But smothers have a way of making sure their students are always straight A students. These are the parents that do their children’s homework and science fair projects. Not help, but do. These are the parents who are first to complain when a grade drops even before speaking to their student about why. How is that helping anyone?

So you are basically either teaching your child that they are alone in the world and getting an education has no importance or that if they find someone to piggyback they can get through life not having to try. Both of these ideas are terrifying to me.



  1. I think it a balance of being there to guide and help kids with school and letting them figuire out things on their own, especially prioritizing their lives and schoolwork. Honestly with the “new math” most parents are hindered in being able to help even when they want to. Keeping an open communication with teachers and checking that homework and assignments are done are the parents main responsibility, especially with today’s technology. Parents that over protect and smother their kids, only looking at the bottom line grade and not teaching their children scholastic discipline and responsibility for their own timelines are really hurting them in the long run. Sometimes the lessons learned from consequences of a missed assignment or bad grade are worth more in changing poor study behaviors then getting a good grade. If kids always know mom or dad will push for a grade they don’t deserve, they will never learn to be self sufficient or learn time management.


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