I wanted to follow up on my recent Parent Report card blog. You may have noticed that we changed it up and created our very own ModernMom version.
I highly recommend every parent to consider giving this report card to your children. It inspired many valuable conversations in my home. Last week, The Today show paid me a visit in Malibu to discuss this thought-provoking concept and interview my family.
I want to reiterate that this report card is by no means meant to challenge parent authority. It’s an opportunity to create dialogue between children and parents.
I want to know how I’m doing as a parent periodically as I am always tweaking my parenting tools. Raising children is an every day education for me. I learn from them every day, and I learn about myself through every challenge I face with them.
I realized very recently that I have been merely “surviving motherhood”. Juggling a career, raising four children in a blended family and managing all of their precious lives has been overwhelming. I have always said that I never strive for perfection – balance is a fantasy and my secret to sanity has been learning how to simply manage my chaos. Finally, today as a mother of a 1st grader, a 2nd grader, a teenager, and a tween, (kill me now), I can honestly say merely surviving isn’t good enough for me any more. I am finally becoming a connected mother by learning how to understand their individual needs, and tap into the essence of who my individual children are. The difference between becoming a mother and just being one is amazing.
I have also had to give up my “judgment job”, which was a valuable surrender.
The parent report card allowed my children’s voices to be heard; they felt that their opinion was valuable and they really enjoyed the chance to turn the tables on me and evaluate our family structure. I did not allow them to grade me with the intention of tweaking my philosophies so they could like me more. I do not want to be my children’s friend. Often being a parent means you get less love than you hope for and instead receive resentment and anger. My kids may even hate me on some days.
What I did do with my grades and feedback was some self-evaluating. Three of my kids gave me an F for the same question (btw, being defensive and in denial is not allowed in this exercise). It was one area that I know I need to work on and can definitely improve. My son gave me a D on another question that I was very happy to receive. I explained to him why I parent that way and that I understand his point of view but this will not be changing.
The report card and ongoing discussions were an eye opening and meaningful experience for all of us. I was also surprised to get many A’s in areas I thought I would have received a lesser grade.
I took my grades and looked at myself as a mother and gave myself credit for the many things I do right. I also decided to give myself credit for the work I will do in the areas that need some growth. Yes, we deserve credit ☺. The adjustments I will make are not based just on the wishes of my children, but on what I feel are appropriate and positive changes for me as a parent.
Raising a family for me is all about dialogue. Kids don’t always ask for what they need. It’s like trying to decode “Teen” lingo and read minds on a daily basis. I have to speak a different language with all of my kids. A respectful, safe space for honest dialogue is the best way to stay connected with my family.
If you haven’t had the courage to give your kids the parent report card yet, you should. Do it. They may surprise you and you may be able to shed some light on why you do what you do. I’d love to know how it goes. Please share…