Saturday, January 9, 2016

Operation NO MORE NAGGING: Day One

Last night hubs and I had a rather heated parenting discussion. Oldest is halfway through fourth grade, which for students in our district means he is a mere eight months away from


Pardon me while I collect myself.

Okay, I'm better now. The way I see it, there is a significant amount of mental and physical preparation required in the months ahead. We've already warned him that "THE TALK" is coming this summer and I've started to make sure he knows all the anatomically correct names for body parts so that we can skip over the giggling and get right to the sighing and nose pinching (he pinches his nose and shakes his head when he deems the conversation cringe worthy).

Side note: the day I taught my kids the word "anus" we were in the car on the way to weekly dinner with my mother in law. The boys entered her house loudly chanting "ANUS, ANUS, ANUS!" Perhaps not the best timing.

Aside from the coming of age inevitabilities, we are trying to create a stronger sense of independence and internal motivation so that the boy is able to handle the increased work load and hands-off approach of his future school years. Let me tell you, this is not easy. Hence last night's argument.

P is asked to complete various charts that track his progress, and each chart has a set number of required minutes. He is supposed to read 30 minutes a day, review math facts 10 minutes a day, and practice his violin 20 minutes a day. Personally, I don't think one hour is all that unreasonable, but tacked onto that is daily math and spelling homework that usually take him an additional half hour. Still not too bad. We get home three days a week at 2:30 and he has time on the other two days to complete his homework during the after school program. Soccer is two nights a week and scouts is one. It is entirely possible to complete his required work AND still have plenty of time to relax and have fun.

The problem is the charts. Days pass and he forgets to fill them in. I nag. He makes up numbers and asks me to sign the sheet. But if I don't, there isn't much of a consequence at school. The charts have little value to him, and it frustrates me to watch him become complacent about his responsibilities. I nag some more. He acts as if I've asked him to cut the grass with a pair of scissors.

And now hubs has started to rally against my nagging. He told me yesterday that if I keep kicking our son along the only thing he's going to have is a bruised ass. But I don't know how to let go. My parents tried to push me when I was in school and it didn't work. I was smart but also pretty lazy and knew how to do just enough to get by. It wasn't until graduate school that I finally figured out that, hey - if I try hard I can do amazingly well! I don't want that to happen to P, but my pushing is only repeating the cycle.

So after having it out with hubs last night, he challenged me to give up nagging for one week. No reminders to practice violin or read a book in the required genre. Let P figure it out for himself and if he fails, he fails. Of course there's a big math test this week, and it is going to take a whole lot of discipline for me not to tell him to study. Last night we sent him upstairs to get ready for soccer practice. He had ten minutes to change and get his bag together. 15 minutes later he was still upstairs screwing around with his brother. I bit my lip. Eventually he came downstairs and ended up being seven minutes late for practice.

That kind of stuff makes me batty. But something has to give, and I can only hope that in this next week he'll realize the method behind my madness. That I just want him to do his best, to do what is required and then a little bit more because that's what keeps you ahead in the world, and... sigh... it's going to be a long week.

No comments: