Do you hover over your children like a Boeing CH-47? Do you finish their puzzles and do their homework? Do you bubble wrap your children each day before school and walk your five-year-old to the park on a leash?
Take this simple quiz to find out whether you need to take a step back and let your children learn a few of life’s lessons on their own turf.
1. Your Kindergartener comes home from school each day with only her dessert eaten out of her lunch. You:
a. Have a talk with her about healthy eating habits. Fill her lunch only with wholesome choices that are nutritious and tasty.
b. Yell at her and threaten to stop giving her dessert. But then give it to her anyway. You can’t handle listening to all that whining.
c. Go to the school every day at lunch and monitor her while she is eating.
2. Your three year old refuses to eat breakfast and it is time for you to leave to take him to daycare. You:
a. Give him a spanking and send him to daycare hungry.
b. Send him to daycare hungry, but inform the caregivers what you are doing. Make sure that he has plenty of healthy choices in his lunchbox because he will probably be very hungry come lunchtime.
c. Spend an extra 30 minutes spoon-feeding him and arrive to work late. What can you do? He needs to eat!
3. Your fourth grader has a bad habit of forgetting his homework and expecting you to drive it up to the school for him. You:
a. Let the natural consequences happen. When he gets a poor grade, share his frustration. It is a bummer when you worked hard on something and don’t get the credit, simply because you forgot it at home! Brainstorm ideas on how he can remember to bring his homework every day.
b. Act exasperated but drive it up to school. You don’t want him to fail, do you?
c. Yell at him when he gets a bad grade and ground him for the rest of the semester. That’ll teach him.
4. Your four year old is upset during a play date because he and his friend cannot agree on whether to play Legos or dump trucks. You:
a. Observe what is happening. Watch the children negotiate and see if they can work it out on their own. Only get involved if the children become aggressive with one another.
b. This situation would never occur because you always mediate all your play dates and organize every activity.
c. Grab your child by the shoulder and drag him home. He’ll learn not to be a brat in other people’s homes.
5. The teacher sends home a note that your first grader is having trouble getting along with the kids in class. You:
a. Become a room parent. Get friendly with some of the cool kids and encourage them to play with your child.
b. Throw the note in the trash. That teacher is stupid. Your kid is just fine.
c. Talk to your child about what is going on. Ask him about his friendships at school. Discuss positive ways of interacting with school classmates. Also, make an appointment with the teacher to better understand her perspective. Learn more about the situation and make a plan for how to help your child integrate better into the classroom setting.