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Tutoring For Your Needs • Passion For Education

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Feb 062011

Does your child want permission to do something you are a little uncomfortable with, but might be willing to let them do?  Being a good parent is never black and white.  Wouldn’t it be easy if the decisions they make were always the same ones you want them to make?   But kids come with their own personalities and their own ways of doing things.  Part of growing up is trying new things, seeing what works, what doesn’t, what’s easy, what’s hard, what’s right, and what’s wrong.  Bottomline is, you want them to think about what they’re doing and what the consequences are of what they do. Good parents want their children to explore their individuality. But they also want to know that they’ve given thought to their actions.  Allow your kids to show you that they have considered the pros and cons of a particular action.  A great way of doing this is to ask them to write you an essay. 

When I was in high school, bleaching your hair was the “cool” thing to do.  I was adamant about wanting to bleach my hair, but I knew that I would have to ask my parents and I was pretty sure that they wouldn’t be onboard with the idea.  After telling my Dad my desire on numerous occasions, he made a compromise with me.  He said that if I wanted to bleach my hair, that I would have to write him an essay telling him why.  At the time I was excited that I had been given  a way to hopefully get the permission I wanted. 

I handed my Dad my completed essay the next morning before he went to work.  He told me that he was reading it in the car and had to pull over because what I had written was so funny.  Now that I’m older, I think my dad’s parenting skills here were brilliant. There was no arguing, just a constructive way for me to present my case.  If he objected to any of my reasoning, it was easy for him to point out his concerns to me.  

After reading that essay, my father was okay with me bleaching my hair.  One of my favorite keepsakes is the team photo of my soccer team that year right after we won the national championship — we’re all filthy, sweaty, bloody, elated … and blonde.  One of my dad’s favorite keepsakes is my essay that he has tucked away in his office drawer. 

I was happy that I was able to do what I wanted. My dad was reassured that  I had thought things through and that my reasons were genuine, if a little frivolous. Humor didn’t hurt.  Not only that, but I was able to take something that I had been learning in school and use it to achieve something I really wanted. That helped strengthen my desire to perform well in school.

Some parents might feel awkward asking their child to write them an essay, but in the right situation, it can be a lot of fun.  I know that when I wrote my essay about bleaching my hair, it was extremely easy to write because I was very passionate about it at the time.  So, whenever you feel like you and your child are at odds and they are making a decision that you personally would not make, consider asking them to write you an essay on the subject.  You might be surprised what you get in return.

If you need help convincing them to write an essay, you can refer them to previous posts that I have written directed at them, How to Win an Argument Against Your Parents:  Part 1,  http://thecatutoringsolution.com/66/how-to-win-an-argument-against-your-parents-part-1/ and How to Win an Argument Against Your Parents:  Part 2, http://thecatutoringsolution.com/354/how-to-win-an-argument-with-your-parents-part-2/

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