Parental Control

May 9, 2008 at 7:18 pm 26 comments

Time is flying, I can’t believe I’ve been away for a week.  The writing frenzy yielded three new chapters to Julianne’s Wheels of Fire, a short story in the horror genre for a contest and the script for the upcoming Pottery Festival’s Queen’s pageant.  I even managed to squeeze in some gardening time and grandkids.  I am still flumoxed about how I managed to fit a day job into my life.   But all of that has nothing to do with what drove me to the blog today. 

I heard on the news recently about a school system that is permitting parents to log onto their teenager’s school and follow their every move.  Attendance, assignments, test grades all in real time.  At first glance, this seems like excellent, involved parenting doesn’t it?  But I must disagree.  To me, this is the equivalent of taking up the desk next to your kid for all 12 years of their early schooling, stealing from them the skills and habits necessary to be responsible adults.  Growth as a human being comes from messing up, taking responsibility, organizing ones own schedule. 

 The best parent I’ve met to date once told me that great parents do not do for their children anything they can do for themselves beginning in infancy.  What do you think?




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Down with Adulthood You’re Not the Only One

26 Comments Add your own

  • 1. bobciz  |  May 9, 2008 at 7:59 pm

    My wife’s school has had that system in place for a couple years now and it has its pros and cons. With the student’s schedule, assignments, and test results so transparent, the student has no excuse for not keeping up and parents have a more active role in their child’s education. That I think is a good thing. The bad part is the overzealous parent who is constantly monitoring the student’s every move and questioning the teacher’s methods and grading policy for every assignment. There is much to be said for a teacher’s autonomy in the classroom and the student’s learning responsibility for their results without the constant hectoring of interfering parents. But I would opt for more, not less, parental involvment in their child’s education, even if it means a sometimes stifling presence.

  • 2. Devin  |  May 9, 2008 at 8:15 pm

    I think this makes good since. I think Parents should know what there kids are involved in wether is schooling or social events. Thats a sign of a concerned and responsible parents. Myself and my ex -wife are always at our kids school,Good or Bad.This gives the staff, teachers and admistrators the since that these parents are involved and are concerned with how well there kids are doing. They know that we take the time to be involved with our kids and are kids will appreciate and respect us more in future.You know that there are alot of kids out there that don’t have those types of parents or even a decent roll model that will stand up for them in times of need. I’m not saying be BIG BROTHER and Monitor thier ever movements. But Just be involved. I as well as my ex-wife and even my current fiance have seen kids that have the “Baby sitter parents” The parents that drop the kids off at school and have no idea what that child has done the whole day. But are suprised when they get a call from the school saying “your son or daugther has missed ex amount of days” or “we missed you at the parent teacher conference”. Or worse yet. ” You’re son or daughter was caught fighting”.
    Just be there for them. and monitor there assignmets and activatives. It can only do positives.

  • 3. Shelli  |  May 10, 2008 at 3:05 am

    Can I just say, I don’t know? We check our kids grades on our local site where you can do that. Mostly we check up on Sam because he is the baby of the family and we have let him slide a little where we were more vigilant with the girls regarding their homework. Consequently, Sam didn’t develop very good study habits and tends to forget to turn in things. He also has ADD so we watch him a little closer and remind him to turn things in. So, I value that connection, I guess. It also helps us to keep tabs on his lunch account balance which has, in the past, gotten as far as $40 in the hole before we were contacted by the lunch lady. (Are we bad parents? Or are we just tired? I think a little of both.)

  • 4. anhinga  |  May 10, 2008 at 6:06 am

    Such monitoring was not available when my children were in school. It might have helped with the youngest. Why is it always the youngest? 🙂 I SO agree with your “best parent’s” thoughts. I hope she/he is right because my sole goal was to rear independent children, able to think and take care of themselves. They were doing whatever chores they could do at their age level, i.e.: the youngest could only reach the garbage, so his job was scraping dishes while another cleared and one put in the dishwasher. I am far from a feminist, but taught daughter and sons to do the same jobs in the house an outside. I assumed they would live alone before marriage and need all the skills. They still need me as a sounding board mostly, but are very skilled in life. We can only hope we pulled the right levers when rearing them.

  • 5. Quilly  |  May 10, 2008 at 9:13 am

    Kat — I think everything has already been said up above. This takes away the parents ability to say, “I had no idea Johnny was failing.” Because if they wanted to have an idea, they’d have logged into the system and checked. It also means teachers have to gade assignments in a timely manner and stay on top of things. I am all for that. Some teachers don’t bother to grade papers until report card time, then they take home STACKS of the stuff. The students of those teachers really don’t have any idea how they are doing in school because they never get any graded papers back and get no feed back on their performance.

  • 6. katcampbell  |  May 10, 2008 at 2:34 pm

    Bob – Like all things made available by the internet, I agree there’s good and bad in this system. I hadn’t even thought of it from the teachers standpoint.

    Devin – I absolutely agree that parents should know what their kids are into, and be involved in all their activities – usually as spectators. This system I’m speaking about is definitely “Big Brother” .

    Shelli – Even those overzealous parents who use this as a tool to hector their kids night and day aren’t bad parents. My thoughts are more about the shift of responsibility from the child to the parent. Remember also, that I’m talking about High School kids here. Sams not in HS yet is he?

    Anhinga – It isn’t always the youngest, sometimes its the oldest! I thought the same thing when I first heard this story, then I remembered my problem child’s biggest problem was rebellion, no amount of monitoring was gonna help with that.

    Quilly – Good point regarding keeping teachers accountable.

  • 7. rel  |  May 10, 2008 at 5:01 pm

    I’m opposed to this system! What next; watch your childs every move in college? Why not keep an eye on him in his work place after you’ve secured the job you want for hom? Humans tend to be over zealous when faced with new and intrusive toys…no moderation for us.
    Do I believe thet parents should be involved with their childrens education? You bet! It’s called Home!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    A few years ago during a conversation with my youngest, he said, “you know dad, You caught us most of the time when we got into mischief, but not every time.” Now mind you, this conversation was taking place after he had graduated from college with a dual degree in accounting and business. I sad to him, “what didn’t I catch you at?” He said, ” I’ll tell you when I think you’re old enough to handle it.”
    This week this CPA son graduates with his MBA at the same time he is the controler for a major international corporation. He, as well as my other two children, has done well in their lives and did so without me having an intrusive presence in their day to day in school lives.

  • 8. Tim Id  |  May 10, 2008 at 10:42 pm

    Being aware and involved are different than spying and controlling. But then again, I am a new parent. Ask me again in 14 years 🙂

  • 9. Absolute Vanilla (an  |  May 11, 2008 at 10:24 pm

    Whoohoo, Kat! Sounds like you’ve had a stunningly productive week. Way to go!

    As for parenting – I don’t like the sound of what you describe at all – but then I’m not a parent. I do, however, think that children need to be able to experiment and learn in their own ways – with guidance, obviously – and even, in some cases without. After all, some of the best lessons we learn come from making mistakes. The system you describe sounds like parents logging in simply do not trust their kids and are being over-zealous and probably for the wrong reasons – and no kid is going to develop healthily if they feel they are not trusted and are constantly being watched.

  • 10. stacy  |  May 12, 2008 at 7:20 pm

    I’m thinking this might not be necessary for the majority of kids, but then there are kids like mine who manage to ‘work the system’ and avoid an awful lot of the work they should be doing. Nine times out of ten I don’t find out there is a problem until it’s a BIG problem. Something like that would be a godsend for us. Maybe the system would work if it was only accessible to parents of students the parents and school had determined to be at risk?

  • 11. Jon M  |  May 13, 2008 at 2:27 am

    Bit late coming in on this one. I think it’s unhealthy and who has the time to do that unless you have some kind of OCD! Healthy neglect is probably too strong but I reckon imagination and resourcefulness, problem solving comes from having to do some things for yourself! I reckon…if you’re asking me…which you did…I’ll just check this with my wife before posting it…see if it’s okay…

  • 12. Dr. John  |  May 13, 2008 at 2:49 am

    I think like any system it depends on what the parent does with it. If you have a child that lies a lot you can check their attendance etc. Some children need more direct parenting than others.
    From what I have seen you don’t have to worry. Most parents just won’t bother any more than they bother to go to teacher parent conferences.

  • 13. Hayden  |  May 13, 2008 at 3:56 am

    Dunno, I’m not a parent. But my thought is to wonder when they will develop fundamental skills like responsibility, managing their own schedule, etc. if they don’t have practice and consequences. Seems to me you could hound a kid all of the way through high school, “picking up after them” only to have them blow up in college or on the job. At some point they need to be responsible – seems to me being responsible from the beginning for as much as is possible is best. helicopter parenting isn’t my notion of good training.

  • 14. katherine.  |  May 13, 2008 at 8:16 am

    didn’t read all the other comments….sorry

    This is kinda thing is one of the reasons why they call us helicopter parents. Studies are showing this is not working out so well when these kids hit the real life workforce…or in their personal relationships.

    I know sometimes kids get into real trouble…and maybe need a bit more watching during those phases….but it would be too easy just to check on every little move they make. And the ones who want to…will be able to get around the system.

    And then…it will become common place as these kids get older…and everyone will be tracked…adults…on the job…your kids will start to track you…smile.

    Mine are 26, 20, and 17. As much as I want to know about them…truly…I wouldn’t have wanted to know their every move all day long.

    it is a slippery slope for personal privacy and not very good for the kids….

  • 15. Jamaican Dawta  |  May 13, 2008 at 6:16 pm

    I agree that parents should be involved in their children’s education, but this method seems a bit oppressive, and may have the opposite effect than what may have been intended for it to yield.

  • 16. FatWhiteMan  |  May 13, 2008 at 6:20 pm

    I would have agreed with you last week. This week, I took my little angel to register for Kindergarten. I would like to be able to check on her all day long! She is so little.

  • 17. catch  |  May 20, 2008 at 12:35 am

    I dont know about the educational system anymore….they consolidate all these schools to benefit the students, but half of these kids look like they are too dumb to tie their shoes. They are educated in sexual ed but more girls than ever are getting pregnant. What works anymore???? Im sure its great to check on your childs grades, but I doubt most will bother. I think its all very sad.

  • 18. diesel  |  May 25, 2008 at 9:51 am

    I think children who are watched all day need to be watched all day.

  • 19. DaveM  |  May 29, 2008 at 9:39 pm

    Who can remember “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off ” didnt he hack into the schools system and change his grades?

  • 20. MsGoldbloom  |  May 30, 2008 at 1:24 am

    I totally agree. It is our job to teach them right from wrong and then point them in the right direction. We have to let them pave their own road through life if we want them to be independent, strong, and successful adults.

  • 21. anhinga  |  June 6, 2008 at 5:12 am

    Just to let you know I’m checking in and missing your comments. Hope everything is okay.

  • 22. Wanderlust Scarlett  |  June 7, 2008 at 1:18 am

    I absolutely agree, 150%.

    I was discussing this just today, with someone who has done so much for her son and daughter-in-law that it has regressed back in to the dark ages.

    Where do the lessons come in, if everything is given and not earned?

    Scarlett & Viaggiatore

    PS – Seamus has retired, he is no longer blogging.

  • 23. anhinga  |  June 9, 2008 at 10:29 pm

    Congratulations, Kit. I see you made the War Child book. I didn’t. 😦 But I’m so happy for you. It has been a long wait.

  • 24. smielymamaT  |  June 10, 2008 at 7:09 am

    yep I’m really late on this one, but I agree with you, Kat. Here we have progress reports delivered by email, and a close-knit school that goes K-12, 5 minutes from home. But no daily monitoring – I leave that in the hands of the capable teachers, as I do meet with them on parent-teacher day -and ask questions as needed.

  • 25. Shelli  |  June 11, 2008 at 2:42 am

    Sorry it took so long for me to get back to this. Yeah, Sam is still in middle school. He will be in 8th grade next year. Plus, aren’t boys generally slower to mature than girls?

  • 26. Fear  |  June 23, 2008 at 3:36 pm

    Somehow i missed the point. Probably lost in translation 🙂 Anyway … nice blog to visit.

    cheers, Fear!!


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