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Helping = Hindering

Last week when I picked up my son from tutorials he sat down the FJ and looked pretty wiped out. It had been a long day. One which started before sunrise and hardly was finished at 4:30. He told me that because a few boys in athletics were goofing off the class had to run several miles and then do up/downs until the bell rang. He still had an instrument to practice and homework to be done later that evening too. On the way home we had a really good conversation and this thirteen year old boy not only understood me but appreciated where I was coming from.
I told him how proud I was of him for actually earning his own grades and I went on to explain why. You see, I do not help P with any of his work. If he is struggling or needs help he goes to tutorials. Even though I know how to do all of the work and easily could help, I intentionally let him struggle until he figures it out. I do not step in other than to help facilitate a way for him to succeed {like picking him up from tutorials}. I know that to some I may sound like a bad mom for taking this approach. But before you judge me, let me explain where I am coming from.
Little P before I changed my parenting style. I love those two big boys in the back! xoxo
This mom {me} is speaking from experience of having raised four older children. This mom used to think she was being a GOOD MOM by helping with math papers, helping write English papers, and helping with science projects. I would spend countless hours with my children “almost” doing their projects for them. Of course they would produce A’s and look well, ah-mazing, because a grown woman was doing them. And it wasn’t just this mom who was doing these types of things for their kids, it was my good friends, as well as other countless mother’s. We all thought we were HELPING our children and patting their backs {plus our own} when they received good grades.
I am here to burst the bubble of all of those well intentioned, eager to help mommies, and finally admit my mistakes and show you yours. I was not helping my children, in fact, I was hindering them. I was not facilitating their own academic grown through their own personal struggle to learn. Instead when they were having a hard time I was swooping in to save the day. I was producing co-dependent learners. My eagerness to help would prove to be several times more difficult for my children years later when they got into college and actually had to do all their own work. Heck, I even knew a mom who would do an assignment or two for her college son {finger point to self}. I know, I am pretty ridiculous.
Through the hardest struggles come the most amazing and beautiful growths. ~Amylia 
What I know now is that through the hardest struggles come the most amazing and beautiful growths. What I found is that when one of my children succeeds on their own merits; either it be through school work, music, sports, or anything that they are doing, that their self-esteem grows by leaps and bounds. Plain and simple, they feel better about themselves because they have earned it, and no one can ever take that away from them. For a mom, watching this growth is a beautiful thing. Having your son come home and tell you that he likes to know “things” because it makes him “feel better about himself” was proof that my new parenting style was working. {P said this a few months ago.} The reason this particular parenting style works for me is because I am one of those mom’s that wants to fix everything and if one of my children is having a hard time I want to make it all better. However, when I am helping with homework, I often find that I can be over-bearing and tend to take over. Worse yet, they usually want me to do it for them. I also like the idea that if P fails that he does it while he is still living in the safety and comfort of home, a place where he is loved and cared for. While he is here he can learn the lessons of not procrastinating or he will be up all night and that if he doesn’t turn in an assignment it will be twice as hard to catch up. Although it is not easy for me, I let him fail and I also let him take the consequences for his actions. 
D and I often joke that we were blessed with one last chance to try to do a few things right when we had P {our bonus baby} several years later than our oldest four. This time around, I’ve decided to give him what he needs instead of what he may want. I’ve decided to help him through the academic struggles in life by facilitating other means that will not prevent or stifle his learning and growth. I’ve done this by giving him the gift of struggling, the confidence that he knows he can do it, and the result has been self-esteem and independent learning. The beautiful thing is that when he brings his report card home I know that he has truly done the work, and even better, he knows it too. And that, my friends, makes this mom happy.
*For actual research about why parents should not help with their children’s homework there is a wonderful article covering this topic HERE.
Join mFullSizeRender282729e as I write a series of articles on “Midnight Mommy Confessions” in regards to raising my five children. As a well-intentioned mommy who loves her children more than anything in the world, I’ve learned and recognized that if I could do it over I would do a lot of things differently. Besides, you know what they say, Parenthood is the scariest hood you’ll ever go through. We need help foraging through this demanding and overwhelming century to find the best way to raise independent and successful children. I know, first hand, that even the best of intentions can be closed-minded and inhibiting. I ask you to open up your hearts and minds to seeing things a bit differently. xoxo
 Articles in this series:
Midnight Mommy Confessions: Smaller House = Bigger Life
Midnight Mommy Confessions: Helping = Hindering

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