• I was helping my nine year-old son with his homework last night after he lied to me and told me that he had already completed it at school during his break. I hate having to check up on him but his track record isn’t that great. I found myself erasing more than half of the problems as the answers weren’t even close to being correct. I thought he knew the material and couldn’t understand how he got so many wrong. So, I asked him what was up? He admitted that he copied the answers from a friend and didn’t even try doing it himself because he wanted to watch a basketball game later that night. Man, did he pick the wrong person to copy. I was disappointed with him and of course, didn’t let him watch the game, but was happy that he, at least, told me the truth.

    With all the advances in surveillance cameras, internet safe-guards and other spying techniques, it’s become way too easy to catch our kids when they mess up. But even without all those gadgets, I often feel guilty, like a reformed criminal, because I can always tell when my kids have done something wrong. Usually because I’ve tried it myself. I’m sure that there are still plenty of things they get away with, but I’m definitely more “on top of them” than my parents ever were with me. Who knows what my parents would think if they knew half the crazy stuff that I tried, like cheating on tests, lying, stealing, impulsive sex acts, smoking, and hanging out with troublemakers, just to name a few. All hypothetically, of course, just in case my kids are reading this. Right?!

    I hate catching my kids when they mess up. On one hand, I regret having corrected him on his homework because he already knows what he’s supposed to do. Instead, I should have let him learn the hard way. Why should I care if he does his homework more than he does? But then again, I can’t stop myself from caring and get involved. It’s hard for me to just sit there and watch my child fall into the same hole that I climbed out of. Who wants to see their kids suffer? None the less, no matter how much I warn and try to prepare my children, it’s seems as if they want to fall in the hole themselves just to see how deep it is.

    Finding that balance, of when to let them fall, is very difficult. But I realized that if I don’t let them fall, they’ll never learn. Plus, I’ll have to be there, every time, to save them and that’s not realistic. I realized that all I can do is give them the tools and teach them about consequences but the rest is up to them. That way, they’ll fail while they’re young so they don’t try to get away with it later on in life. Relationships, the workplace and other real-life responsibilities are the wrong place to learn. So, provide a good foundation and know when to look the other way. Let them figure some things out on their own, since that’s the way you learned and probably the only way that they will!