Forgotten Homework, Lunch, Gym Clothes: Why I Struggle to Do the Right Thing With My Kids by Dawn Taylor

Parenting Teens
2 months ago
Forgotten Homework, Lunch, Gym Clothes: Why I Struggle to Do the Right Thing With My Kids

I just dropped off my kids at school. No sooner had I gotten back home to my already cold coffee when my phone rang. My ninth-grader had forgotten her homework folder. After cursing, I grabbed the damned folder and drove back to the school muttering profanities the whole time, promising myself that this was the last time, knowing full well it wouldn't be.

I struggle with this one a lot. On the one hand they need to learn to be responsible, and they are for the most part. Both my ninth- and 10th-grader juggle honors classes (and are at the top of their classes), they participate in school clubs from Reality Check to Student Government, school plays, working in the neighbors' gardens to earn money.

They smash their lives and I know they will be successful, caring humans. It is understandable that they mess up on occasion. Right???

Inevitably they forget something. Not every day, and sometimes weeks go by, but when they do, I try to get it to them despite my being annoyed, angry, frustrated. Because my hours are flexible, I figure it is not a big deal, as these girls work their butts off.

I realize some parents can't leave work or have such tight schedules, and mine allows me to "save" them on occasion. But should I? I mean, they are human and they make mistakes. I forget stuff at home, too! See, I really do struggle with this one!

Fellow parents, what do you do when this happens??

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Donna John
I was in the same boat, Dawn Taylor . I always worked from home when my kids were in school. They called all the time asking for things or for me to do something for them. I was grateful that I was there and able to do it, but I think they got a bit relaxed about things because of the fact I was home. A few times I did tell them I wasn't able to bring something up to the school, and they did get better about making sure important stuff was in their backpacks before they headed out the door.
Dawn Taylor
Donna John I am in the same boat, and though they aren't terrible with this, I don't want to run every time they forget. I sometimes am tired and just don't feel like doing another task, then the mom guilt sets in, and that's another story!!
Elisa All Schmitz 30Seconds
This is a common parenting dilemma, Dawn Taylor , and I'm glad you brought it up. In my kids' grade school, the principal set a very firm rule that if your child forgot homework, their lunch, whatever, parents were absolutely NOT supposed to bring it to them. The lesson being that if they forgot their lunch, going hungry one day (or having to bum food off of classmates) would make them remember it the next day. And, if they forgot their homework, getting a zero should be the consequence so they remember it the next day. Natural consequences that are part of growing up and learning. It was SO hard to not do it, and I on a couple of occasions did when it was something critical, but my kids generally knew I would not bring it - not because I couldn't, but because I shouldn't. Mom guilt is definitely a thing, but this one is worth taking it on. Our kids are better off for it. (PS: I know your kids are extra amazing and diligent students, but maybe this is worth considering even for them?) Donna John
Dawn Taylor
Elisa All Schmitz 30Seconds I’ve heard of schools that do this! I used to be much stricter about my rule and was so worried they’d get reliant on my swooping in then I relaxed a little again with the thought that they balance so much with very little from me. I’m still working on it! But you’re right they need to mess up!! Thank you!
Anne Marie Tarjan Robbins
There are a few ways to handle this.

Real consequences. If you have to go back, charge them drive time. Or, pay you back with extra chores. They will not like paying you. It’s an exchange of services provided.

What I have to do with my son, ADHD , is make a list based on his schedule. It’s a very microscopic list.

Backpack
*homework
* math
* government
* English
*ipad

Classroom :
What needs to be done here.

The idea is for him to have a list that works for him specifically. The goal to take things off the list as it becomes engrained in his routine.

I made the list with his input. We adjust every week as needed. He puts the list by his backpack at night.

Of course only as good as it’s used. I did some reminders for that part and now it’s taking root.

I think they have so much on their plates that they are adulting too soon.

Yes, they need to be responsible but knowing your child and guiding it verses enabling is where you have to find the balance.
Dawn Taylor
Love your input as it mixes common sense and a plan of action with a dose of empathy! Moving forward, I told my girls that they need to understand that I can’t always save them so they needed to make sure they plan better, that my life can’t be disrupted just so that theirs can be easier. I think I’ll just have to consider any mitigating circumstances and make judgement calls sometimes. Thank you for such a wonderful and balanced response!!

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