Am I too tough on my children?

| February 1, 2013 | 9 Comments

Monday night my 8-year old daughter had her weekly dance class and when I picked her up, she mentioned that one of the girls in class had a migraine and had to be picked up by her parents. No big deal right? But something in the way my daughter recounted the story made me think she was fascinated at the concept that her friend was able to leave class early. Almost as if she longed for a parent who wasn’t so strict. Let me explain a bit.

I often ask myself “Am I too tough on my children?” You see, unless they are burning up with fever or expelling stuff uncontrollably from their bodies, I have a hard time believing that they aren’t feeling well enough to go to school. I was a ‘rule-follower’ growing up and it’s hard-wired in me that there’s something inherently wrong about randomly missing school. And this is where I struggle. My children witness other students missing days from school because they were tired, or had a tummy-ache or were on vacation. How do you explain to an 8-year that you don’t just stay home because you are feeling tired? How do you convince them of the importance of school when they have classmates missing an entire week of school two weeks after the holiday break? What do you say when they overhear others saying that it’s not a big deal to miss school at this age?

I often feel that my husband and I are alone in our respect for the routine of school. Children at this age are learning many different things at school besides just the academic component. Parents may underestimate just how important it is to maintain a routine so that they don’t miss out on classroom dynamics, feel like they are part of the group, and minimize disruption to the class from children coming and going at random times throughout the day. I try to teach my children that school is their job. It is important that they understand that they can’t just randomly decide they aren’t going to ‘work’ that day. I believe it is an important life skill to learn.

By the way, I got a call from my daughter’s school on Tuesday at 2:00pm. They told me she had a headache. I picked her up. She seemed just fine to me. It is now 10:00am Wednesday morning. She is still home. With an ‘apparent’ headache. I told her “If your head hurts, stay in bed”. I haven’t heard a peep in over an hour. I’m okay being the bad guy.

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© Newphotoservice | Stock Free Images & Dreamstime Stock Photos

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  1. Daniela says:

    Hi there,

    I understand were you are coming from… I, too, try to go by the rules, and it might be our scientific background (I’m an engineer) that makes me sometimes think in such a “square” way. Just recently I been having this realization on how we should make thing more fun for all of us, be more relaxed, which doesn’t mean being irresponsible.

    I agree in the importance of discipline, but I think that trying to make your kids understand that school is their “job” is like taking all the fun from their childhood days, don’t you think? don’t you fear that they are going to reach adulthood already feeling repulsion toward their “job” because this is what they’ve been doing since they were little?

    Not easy to find balance… I’m still trying to figure this out 🙂

    Thanks for the post. Daniela

  2. Katina Michelis says:

    I definitely don’t want to take the fun out of school. I loved it! Thanks for reading.

  3. Kamerine Gardam says:

    I don’t know if you’re being too hard on them. My kids aren’t in school yet and so I’m not sure how I’ll approach it. It’s true though, it is their job….

  4. Cartoon-Coloured Glasses says:

    By ‘job’, I interpreted it as something they needed to take pride in. They can enjoy their jobs, just as adults often do.
    As a parent, I’m glad to know there are others out there who think like me.
    As a former teacher, I thank you for encouraging this in your daughter, and I’m sure her own teacher appreciates it too!

  5. Katina Michelis says:

    Thanks for the comments ladies. Report cards came home yesterday and I’m happy to report that both my girls took great pride in showing me how well they are in fact doing their ‘job’. The younger one can’t even read at that level yet to know what it said but she still knew it was going to be a good one 🙂

  6. Daniela says:

    Congratulations and the report cards!

  7. kathy downey says:

    I too liked to have a set of rules

  8. kathy downey says:

    My teen pretended to be sick to get friday off and have a long weekend,well it never worked out as he planned. He wanted to go to a party in the evening but was made to say home because he didnt go to school.He was very upset but rules are rules.

  9. kathy downey says:

    Its sad but true we are the parents and we need to enforce the law…believe me they will thank you when they are adults…………

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