Friday, May 17, 2013

Parents Please Stop Doing A Disservice To Your Children!

Let me start out by saying that I work for a University. A pretty good one I think....we aren't like those Ivy League folks, but we have a good reputation, for the most part anyways. We graduate a lot of science nerds and Engineers. Most days I wonder how the majority of these kids have gotten as far as they have. Parents, all of you, listen up. Helicopter moms, dads, grandparents, parents afraid to go ahead and cut that cord, it is time to pop that child of yours off the tit and let them be adults. TEACH them to be adults. You are doing your children a very big disservice by not teaching them how to do things alone and by themselves. Here are a few rules you should follow when raising your young adults and sending them off into the world.

1) Teach your children how to make phone calls on their own behalf. I hate the phone, but I have been calling and making my own appointments and things of that nature on my own since I was about 13. And I can guarantee you that if had asked my dad at the age of 18+ to call my doctor or the college I was attending to set me up an appointment he would have laughed in my face. They need to do these things themselves. Here are a few things I've encountered :

A mother calls and asks if we can tell her where her daughters final exam will be, which building and time please. Ok, first of all, I'm sure they went over this in class, and she should've either written it down or put a reminder on her phone/laptop/tablet/other electronic device. Second, it's on the SYLLABUS, you know that thing they hand out at the beginning of classes? Third, I work in the BUSINESS office, we deal with money matters for the most part, I don't know your daughters schedule, nor do I know the times and locations of exams for our 30+ faculty members of this department. I can't even tell you where their classrooms are. Lastly, she should have a phone number, an office location, and an email address for said professor, and it's HER exam. Not yours, not mine, hers. She should be the one trying to figure out where this is, not her mommy.

Mommy #2 calls, because her daughter needs to change her schedule. Again, HER schedule, why isn't she calling? Again, business office, I am pretty sure at orientation they told you all that things of this nature have to go through the advising office, we deal not at all with scheduling or classes.

2) If your child has any intention of working while they are away from home, please send them with their legal documents. Birth Certificate, social security card, passport, etc. They can't work for us as student wage employees or anywhere else for that matter without proving they're working legally. And no, copies are not ok, I have to see orginals by law. "But my mom has that at home in Indiana, and I don't have access to it right now. Well sorry Charlie, you can't work until I see them. These are things you need to have access to in life, and if you're going to send your children out of your house to live, then send this stuff with them. You can get another copy, just fill out the paperwork if that makes you feel better, in the event they can't keep track of these things (though they need to learn that as well). While we're at it, please explain to them what these are, and that even though their school ID is called a XXXXXpassport, it does not count as the passport from list A on the I9 form they need to fill out for a job, that is in reference to the kind of passport that can get you into and out of the country legally.

3) Teach them responsibility and priorities. I know those Superbowl tickets you bought were expensive, as was the rest of the trip. But just because you treated your son and his friend to this awesome trip to New Orleans does not mean he doesn't have other things to do at the end of the semester, you know like turn in his required assignments for a big grade, so he can graduate, from this University where you're spending your hard earned money, so he can get a J-O-B and stop leeching off of you. Priority. Emailing after you get back and asking for an extension is not OK. Assignments aren't just sprung on you all of a sudden. Telling your Professor that you had no email/computer/etc access while you were "out of town at the Superbowl", doesn't fly in this day and age. I hope once I forwarded this to the person they were actually trying to email that they were told what I wanted to reply and tell them, which was along the lines of Sorry you're an entitled feeling little brat, but shit like this doesn't fly in the real world the rest of us live in and you're shit out of luck. I hope this kid has to retake this class and his graduation was pushed back because of it.

4) Teach them to take their jobs seriously. From the first one they ever have, until the last. I don't care if it's cleaning toilets, flipping burgers, or working as a work study student in a lab on campus. I don't care if they make minimum wage, or $20/ hour starting out, take it serious. Your future career and the rest of your life depends on it. My first job was cashiering at Kroger at 16, it was 35+ minutes from my house. I was putting in a full class load at school, and working 40 hours a week. I thought that $5.15 an hour I was making back then was awesome, and even then I didn't understand how the other kids there just goofed off and did whatever. No customer service, no politeness, no sense of needing to be on time, or any sense of respect at all really. I still see that with the kids we have working in our labs. Teach them that if they make the commitment to work they need to do that, work. When they're supposed to, for the whole length of time. These kids take these jobs, and while the schedules are flexible if you have one set, you can't just say F it and come in whenever you want. We all have unexpected things pop up, but there has to be some responsibility and accountability. I'm sorry you were scheduled to work, but your Sorority was having a party, you still need to be at work when you're supposed to. This also isn't acceptable. And please tell them not to act all kinds of surprised when their supervisor fires them, and calls the Financial Aid office, they did this to themselves. There is email documentation showing the argumentative and "I don't care" attitude, they stacked the deck against them on their own. Again, real life stuff here. Own it.

5) Please stop teaching them that they can have anything they want, anytime they want, just by asking (or throwing a fit), whether they deserve it or not. You're not helping them. Things, big or small, are worked for and earned. Put in the work, you can earn it, opt not to and well, go without. They're not entitled to a diploma, or a good grade just because they've gotten every other thing in life handed to them. Today on our campus is graduation, and I can't tell you how many kids have called their advisor this week asking if they can withdraw from a class, pleading for it. Begging. After final grades have come in. What in the world do they think this is? "I'll do anything please. If not I can't XYZ, it'll cause XYZ" Well child. I'm sorry your parents set you up for failure by giving you this attitude, but you caused this. This is no ones fault but your own. Accept responsibility, learn from it, and move on. Don't come in here throwing a fit, it won't change things, and you should use this as a learning experience for the rest of your life.

I know it's hard, and this isn't even covering all of it, but these are things that need to happen. Sooner rather than later. For the well being of your children, who are going to be running things, in the not so far off future.

1 comment:

  1. This is excellent advice, and as the mom of a young man headed for college in the fall I hope neither he, nor I, do any of these things.
    Friends keep asking if I will be upset when he goes to college. I keep saying heck no, he's off on the great adventure, this is what we raised him for. We'll be here if he needs us, but he's grown now.