The other night while waiting in the parking lot for the kids to get done with film club, another parent asked me, “What do you think of the physics teacher?” It took me by surprise. I don’t think about the physics teacher.
“Well….” I stalled, searching my brain for what I am supposed to be thinking about the physics teacher, “I haven’t met [uh oh….him? her?….avoid pronoun] the physics teacher, so I guess I don’t have much of an opinion.”
“Well, the boys [this parent has twins taking the same classes] say that he [Ah Ha! the physics teacher is a man] doesn’t explain the subject matter well and that they have to go to the chemistry teacher for explanations.”
“Oh, yes, I did hear a little about that [yeah, one comment at supper from my daughter.] I guess it is good that the kids have found someone who can explain the material to them.” [There is a lull in the conversation where I guess we are thinking similar things, i.e. we have very different parenting styles. I have had conversations with the twin’s mother that lead me to believe that she sits down with them every time they study for a test and reviews the material with them.]
His next remark reveals this: “My wife says that the parents of six children do not give them the amount of attention that the parents of one child do.”
I agree, “This is true. I parented differently when I had one child then I do now with four. Now, I’ve just got my nose down, working to put food on the table.”
He nodded and the conversation drifted to other topics.
The next night at supper, I asked the kids if they felt they were missing out because I don’t help them study. They were of one accord, “I would find it really, really annoying if you were to do that. I am glad you are not a helicopter parent.”
Maybe the twins like/need the studying attention. My kids do not want it. Parenting is a dialog between parent and child, sort of an open feedback loop in which the child lets you know which parenting interventions are successful and which ones aren’t. [See previous post on gardener vs. potter parenting http://wp.me/p1fMoF-25 ] The kids (mine and his) are getting good grades, have friends across a spectrum of interests and ages, can hold their own in a variety of social situations. So far, so good.