29 July 2008

Helping Our Kids

My oldest daughter had a martial arts class tonight. She has it every Tuesday and Thursday from 7-8pm. It's only about 10 mins away, so not a huge deal. I asked my dear husband to take her tonight. At about 4 mins till 7:00 he calls, telling me dear daughter forgot her belt. Belts are important in martial arts, it lets everyone else know what your rank is, as this is a mixed rank class. So, I grab the belt and hop in the car and make it to the class by 7:03. Dear hubby was standing outside ready to grab the belt and run inside. Hopefully the class started a little late and she didn't have to do any push ups. They have to do push ups occasionally for minor infractions. It builds character, or so they say. But I digress.......
So while I was driving home, after dropping the belt with dear hubby, I started thinking about how my parents never would have done that for me. They would have said too bad, so sad, you forgot the belt, you deal with the consequences. It actually never would have crossed my mind to even call my parents to ask. I knew the answer would always be no, so why call? My parents very rarely drove me anywhere as it was. Luckily I had an older sister and brother and friends willing to drive me places.
Some people say you shouldn't bring things to kids who forgot them. I know people who have let their kids skip lunch rather than bring it to their school. Moms who have let their children get detention rather than bring an important book or paper they have forgotten. I know people who know their kids have forgotten stuff when they are leaving the house, and let them forget the stuff anyway to teach them a lesson. What kind of lesson is that? That you are a mean mom?
What's wrong with helping out our kids?
I have brought my eldest daughter things she forgot for sleepovers more than once. One time I brought a teddy bear to her at 11:00 at night. It was 20 mins away, so 40 mins round trip for me. She was 10 or 11 (can't remember) and I knew she couldn't sleep without her teddy. This same daughter has forgotten games she wanted to bring to game night at the library, and when she was younger and in Montessori school, she occasionally forgot gym shoes for gym or some other pertinent item she needed that day. I ALWAYS have taken the item to my daughter. Youngest daughter seems to have a bit of a better memory. She likes to be prepared so she thinks ahead before leaving the house, or she remembers soon after leaving the house so I just need to turn around and go back home for a second. But on the rare occasion she forgets something, I will go home and get it for her.
I still forget stuff all the time. I very rarely leave the house and leave for good. I would say 9 times out of 10 I come back in because I forgot something. My kids laugh, because they just expect me to come back in now. Did my parents never bringing me my stuff teach me not to be forgetful? No, of course not. That is a punishment, not a lesson. How did some parenting "experts" decide that not helping out our kids is helping them?
Forgetfulness to me is a personality trait. Sure there are tricks to help people remember. Lists and notes and things. It is not a big issue here because we don't have to get out of the house for school everyday, with backpacks and a million other little things the schools require kids to have everyday. If we did maybe we would try lists and notes and things. But if either daughter still forgot stuff, I would still be ready to bring them what they needed, no questions asked.
It all goes back to that respectful living thing. If I have the ability and the time, and because I love my children, why wouldn't I help them whenever possible? It would never even have occurred to me tonight to say no, I will not bring your belt. I just grabbed it and ran out the door, doing my best to get there before the class started. Isn't that what being a mom is all about?


Stephanie said...

Donna, we think a lot alike!

Heck sometimes I have to turn the car around and drive back home because I forgot something.

We should be helpful, sheesh, some people.

April said...

I take things to my kids too. Anytime I couln't bring something to my kids for reasons beyond my control, I felt terrible. I forget things all the time and have to go back and get them.

My parents were like yours and I was glad to have my brother, my cousin and friends to get me places.

Its great to not have to worry about schedules, we just live and learn :)

unschoolermom said...

I see nothing wrong with taking things to your kids that they forgot. I forget things all the time. I remember one night, I had to have my sister bring my name tag to me at work because I had washed my uniform and forgot to put it back on. Another time, my husband had to bring my dinner to me at work because I forgot it. It happens. Perhaps those parents who never help their kids out should remember they're not perfect either. :^)


Deanna said...

My parents were always willing to do this for us. I was pretty organized so I don't remember my mom having to bring things to me but one of my brothers was forever forgetting something and my mom would always bring it to him. And we attended a private school almost 30 minutes away! We always knew that we could count on our parents to help us out when we needed it. And we've done the same for our kids. And you know what? My brothers and I didn't take advantage of our parents and our kids don't take advantage of us. Being there for your kids doesn't *spoil* them. It makes them feel loved and secure.

a conscious life said...

I don't understand the *let them deal with it* attitude, either. I forget things... kids forget things... people forget things. I've always brought forgotten items to my DD when it's possible for me to.

GregJrsMom said...

Love this post! Turn it around - who wouldn't bring their husband an important paper he forgot if they are able to? Why treat a child with any less respect? My parents were like yours and I did learn the lessson. The lesson was "don't ask for help".