12. December 2008 · Comments Off on Helping Your Children Leave The Nest · Categories: Ramble

I have suggestions for parents of juniors and seniors in high school. I should probably put together a list of these. (I have suggestions for parents of younger children too … I’m goofy that way, thinking I have answers and all that jazz. Go figure. I wasn’t a perfect parent. Nor was I a perfect child. Shoot, I’m not a perfect anything … except perhaps a perfect whiner!)

One that I think is extremely important is letting high school students start to take charge of certain things. I really appreciate communicating with parents via email (I’m an email addict), and I love seeing them so involved in their child’s life, but when children reach high school I highly recommend letting the student contact me. Learning to cancel lessons in a timely fashion, learning to schedule make up lessons, learning to communicate clearly with an old person … those are handy things to start doing so a student is more capable of all the responsibilities he or she will encounter once the nest has been abandoned.

I even recommend having children wake up on their own for school. Give them an alarm clock. Tell them they have to be responsible for waking up. Heck, then they can’t even get mad at you for yelling “rise and shine!” or whatever thing you do. (And no, we didn’t do this … but that doesn’t mean I can’t recommend it. Right?)

Some college students are entirely unprepared to do things on their own. (I’ve even had parents communicate with me, which is a no-no around here.) Some don’t really understand how to communicate with a professor. While things are extremely relaxed and informal at UCSC I highly recommend not starting your very first email to a instructor with “Hey” … and yes, that’s happened to me a number of times. When an instructor goes out of his or her way to do something for you I highly recommend saying thanks. And saying “I’m sorry” is good for anyone to learn how to do, as long as it’s genuine and necessary.

Speaking of “sorry”, though — that word has become somewhat meaningless to some people. It’s just an automatic thing some students say after making a mistake. I do get a bit weary of that. (Along with “I always do that” when a mistake is made. If you “always do it” figure out why and correct it, please!) And saying “sorry” for the umpteenth time at the umpteenth lesson because the student hasn’t really ever practiced is pretty meaningless as well. I try to get my students to stop saying it. They don’t have to apologize for errors. They merely have to fix them. Like I say, “I don’t ask for much … only perfection!” 😉

But here I go on a PattyRamble™ again.

So parents … just do yourselves and your children a favor; let them start to take responsibility for things before they go off to college, maybe …? You might actually enjoy what you see. Or not.

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