So, I was recently at a parent’s forum where the topic of personal responsibility (of the child in this case) was being discussed. Then the facilitator asked this question:
“Parents, when your child forgets their homework textbook at school, what do you do?”
We gave varied responses to the question, including:
- We post in the class parents’ WhatsApp group: Hi guys, someone please send a photo of Visionary Mathematics Grade 2 page 64. My boy forgot his textbook in school. Cheers guys!
- We also post this in mom Facebook groups: “Saseni mums, mtu pliz anitumie homework picha ya Primary English Grade 3 page 25, number 1-10.”
- You phone your neighbor with a child in the same class and ask if you can borrow her child’s textbook for a few minutes
- You accompany your child to the neighbor’s house and take a screenshot of the page where the homework is
- You tell your child that you’ll drop him at school 30 minutes before school starts to enable him to complete the assignment
- You write a note in the child’s school diary by honestly saying your child forgot his textbook at school, but he’ll complete it in the evening. Then you end with an apology
- You write a note in the child’s diary offering a good explanation as to why the child was unable to complete his homework. You thank the teacher for their understanding
- You let the child go to school with the incomplete homework. Atajisort mbele
Then, the facilitator pointed out something about the responses: most were about parents offering solutions to the child’s problem.
The facilitator asked us if, while we were pupils ourselves, we had ever forgotten our homework in school, or failed to complete it for one reason or another.
We all raised our hands.
He then asked how many of us had our parents come up with solutions to that problem. Solutions such as those that we had mentioned.
A negligible number raised their hands.
What’s the worst thing that can happen?
The facilitator took issue with many parents of today who have the tendency to quickly come up with solutions to their children’s problems. The children are never even given the opportunity to think through the problem and try and solve it on their own, but are instead easily guided through solutions that have already been thought out for them.
“What would happen if you sent your child to school to let them face the consequences of forgetting their homework at school?
Will they be punished? Probably.
Will they be pardoned? Probably.
Will the child take it as an opportunity to learn about personal responsibility? Probably.
So just let the child go to school without the completed homework and stop falling over yourselves trying to ‘save’ them,” the facilitator told us.
That was food for thought for many parents. So how about you? What do you do when your child forgets his textbook at school? Do you agree with the facilitator? Do you think today’s parents are ‘babying’ their children too much? Do share your thoughts in the comments section below.