I NEVER thought I would teach high school, but when the opportunity presents itself, you put on your big girl pants and grab the bull by the horns. Most people like to think of teachers as parents. Well, guess what? We work our ass off to try to teach your kids some responsibility and respect but we can only do so much! Your kids are a direct reflection of YOU and your parenting! Imagine what we can achieve if we work together and are on the same page of what’s expected of your child.
I get it, you work all the time, so you give your kid whatever they ask for. You work all the time so you’re going to be sympathetic every time your kid complains about a friend or a teacher. You work all the time, so you buy your kid the latest iPhone or buy them the latest trends because that’s what they want. Well in the real world, you don’t always get what you want. In fact, you rarely get what you want. So, are you doing your kid a favor or a disservice?
Your kid probably always throws it in your face that, “You don’t understand!” or “You don’t remember what it’s like to be in high school.” Well, you know what? They’re right! If you did, you wouldn’t do a lot of the things you do or allow certain teenage antics.
Sooo, let’s get to the good stuff. How to raise your kids so they aren’t entitled brats that ask for $20 every day, yet don’t even know the worth of a hard earned dollar.
1. RESPECT. If you let your kid treat you like shit or talk to you like you’re a red-headed stepchild, they’re going to treat everyone like shit, including their teachers and you wonder why your child is constantly getting in trouble or fighting with their friends.
2. Allowance, a long forgotten term. Your kid asks you for $30 so they can buy some new clothes, so you let them walk out the door in a “Netflix and Chill” sweater. Do you even know what that means?? It may be the latest trend, but maybe you need to invest five minutes of your time on urbandictionary.com Then, you wonder why your kid is crying to the school counselor because they’re being labeled as the school slut. Oh, did I just save you five minutes of not having to go on urbandictionary.com? Let’s hope so… If not, maybe you need to look up the definition for naïve.
3. What is a broom? You aren’t doing your child any favors by not making them clean up their mess because it’s easier to do it yourself or easier for the cleaning lady to do it. When they come to school and their $40 Yeti tumbler spills, your child is dumbfounded when they’re asked to get some paper towels to clean it up. Heaven forbid kids were ever made to use a mop. Think about it this way, with the cost of living and your child’s spending habits, they won’t be able to afford a housekeeper. Better teach them now.
4. Actions have consequences! If you want to talk back or be a little shithead, you’re going to get in trouble! Raise your hand if you’ve dropped everything you were doing to run up to school and “rescue” your child because they got in trouble for nothing and they’re so upset. REALITY CHECK! Chances are your child deserved to get in trouble and you are prohibiting them from paying the consequences for their actions. When they’re 40 (hopefully they have a job by then) and get in trouble by their boss for checking their Facebook or ranting on Twitter about an employee, are you going to drive there, march right in, and “rescue” your child… I mean, adult. Don’t forget the booster seat!
5. BFF’s! It is a red flag if your kid has a new best friend every other month. If your child cannot keep a friend for longer than a couple of weeks, what is the common denominator here? Better yet, WHO is the common denominator here? Here’s an idea, rather than providing sympathetic remark after sympathetic remark when your child is telling you why this friendship didn’t work out. Ask questions! Try to get your child to see the other side. I guarantee you’re only hearing one side of the story. Chances are there are lies and you can unravel them if you ask questions. Liars, especially teenage liars aren’t good at keeping their stories straight. Don’t keep a blindfold over your eyes or earplugs in your ears. You have them for a reason.
6. Jobs. You would be surprised how many students will whine and complain when they’re told they need to get a job. Here’s the deal on jobs, if your child is involved in an extracurricular activity and keep their grades up, a job is not necessary. If your child does this and has a job, you are really doing something right! Let me make myself clear, keeping your grades up doesn’t mean skating by with C’s and D’s. This means A’s, B’s, and maybe an occasional C. What kids don’t tell parents is, most teachers set their class up where if you do the work, actually try, and show up every day, they can easily earn a B.
7. Attendance. Do you realize you are setting your kid up to be a failure when you let them check out early or miss school just because they feel like it? Think about how many times your child has been late to school. Now, imagine if school was treated like a job. Would your child be fired for attendance?
8. Lying. Teenagers are notorious for lying. Think of how many teenagers are labeled as pathological liars? I wonder why… “My child doesn’t feel like going to school today, but I’ll write a note saying he/she was throwing up all night.” Go you, teaching your child to lie one parent note at a time!
9. iPhones. “Everyone has one!” I’m sure you’ve heard your child yell those words out of their mouth more times than you can count and I get that. I don’t think there’s a problem with iPhones. I would want to get a hold of my kid too, but do you know what apps they’re on? Almost every app has a chat feature where they can connect with people around the world. Be familiar with the apps on their phones and do your research if you need to.
10. Support and Encouragement. High School is a tough time for so many teenagers and a lot of them struggle with insecurities. I can’t say I blame them, high school really wasn’t my thing. What they really need is support and encouragement. I’m not telling you to encourage your kid to try out for the school musical if they are as tone deaf as they come. I’m telling you to take interest in your child’s life and interests. Get to know their friends, listen to what they say, and help them figure out their strengths. When they figure out what they love and what they’re interested in, encourage and support that!
As a teacher who loves kids, I understand discipline isn’t always the easiest avenue, but as parents AND teachers, we need to ask ourselves, are we setting them up for success? Are we holding them accountable? Are we doing them a favor or a disservice? It is our job to raise the next generation, so let’s raise them to be confident, successful, and hardworking individuals that will better our country.
This author has elected to post her piece anonymously.