The number one reason parents hire me to tutor their high school student is because they are burned out!
Burned out from getting up before dawn, working all day at a difficult and tiring job, just to come home to spend hours and hours on high school homework that their student wasn’t understanding. Then start the whole process over again the next day.
I have personally worked with parents that would stay up until 2am every night, in order to finish assignments. Very tiring!
These parents were so burned out from helping with homework, double checking assignments, editing essays, and planning projects, that they eventually found it easiest to just do the work for them.
And you thought you were the only one?
Nope, it’s true. I have known PLENTY of parents that just do their student’s homework, projects, and essays for their student.
Hey, I don’t judge! Parenting is hard!
Some parents think, “I just want them to get a better grade in this class”, or “I’m too tired to help them do this right now. It’s easiest if I just finish it”, or “they will do it next time”.
Although with good intentions, helping your student by doing the assignment for them is actually hindering them more than you may realize at that moment.
You may help them in the class, but not in the long run. (which, as parents, we need to be focused on).
By doing the assignment for them, you prevent them from learning how to do it themselves. And by “learning the assignment”, I don’t mean the specific information for that class. I mean that your student will never learn deadlines, data research, time management, critical thinking, responsibility, etc.
"By doing the assignment for them, you prevent them from learning how to do it themselves."
How do you know if you are guilty of being overly helpful? If your student consistently “forgets” assignments and needs help, or if you are consistently doing every assignment for them.
Doing the assignment for them can actually be the WORST thing you can do for your student!
So what are the consequences of not being overly helpful?
Maybe failure, but maybe not.
Even though your student may result in a poor grade for the assignment or project, they will learn valuable life lessons for the next time. Like proper preparation, stronger effort, and a good work ethic.
“But if I don’t help, my child may not get a good grade in the class!”
Here is the dilemma I see parents stuck with every day. They want to be overly helpful for their student, and, ultimately, do most of the work. The student results in a good grade at the end of the year. Their grades are so good, that colleges want them. The student goes off to college and fails every class their freshman year because they do not know how to do their own work.
PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE!
Please don’t think that you can help them through college like this either. (sad to say, I have known a few parents like this).
Now you KNOW that if it is hard doing their work for them now, it will be MUCH harder doing their class work for them when they are hours away (or even states away).
Even IF you did help them through college like this, let’s say they graduate college. Then what? Will you follow them to their first interview and do that for them? What about their first job? Will you do everything for them the rest of their life?
Of course not!
At some point they will have to do their own work for themselves. And be prepared, they WILL fail. Failure is a part of life. But it is through failure that they will learn to do it on their own.
And teachers know when parents are completing assignments for their student. And, unfortunately, this puts a target on your child for stricter critique in the future. (It totally happens!)
And, don’t get me wrong! Helping our children daily in schoolwork when they are struggling is a part of parenting. You have been helping them with schoolwork since first grade, so why stop now?
I am not saying to never help your student ever again! I’m just encouraging you to help them in the right way.
It may be hard to find the balance of being helpful and overly helpful. Only you can determine the level of helpfulness for your child. (again, we don’t judge!)
Just remember what the ultimate goal is: sending off a high school graduate fully prepared for college classes!
And if your child is as amazing as you know they can be, then they will learn to thrive!
"The ultimate goal is sending off a high school graduate fully prepared for college classes!"
So we, as parents, need to focus on the positive ways we can help our students, without being overly helpful.
What balance of helpfulness and assistance do you have with your high school student? And how well do you think it's working?