Plea to fellow parents to stop micromanaging kids' lives
Original post made by Paly Parent, Palo Alto High School, on Aug 13, 2013
Let's stop driving them everywhere and start teaching them to use bikes, buses and Caltrain. Let's teach them how to use their legs for transport and not just organized sport or organized exercise. Let's also stop the culture that makes them expect a car for a 16th birthday present and a smartphone for becoming a teenager.
Let's stop giving them money to buy food at whichever "cool" food vendor, but teach them how to make a sandwich or whatever and take lunch to school and make a simple pasta/rice/baked potato meal at home. While we are at it, let's teach them how to sit at a table to eat and to take away all screens while they do so (in my day I was not allowed to take a book to the table, so I realize times have changed).
Let's allow them to be bored and find how to fill their time without our help. Let's allow them to do something because it is fun rather than for college applications. Let's teach them that it is OK to sometimes fail, come second, or not have enough money to see the latest movie or buy the latest fashion.
Let's teach them some manners, particularly how to speak to other adults, friends' parents, teachers, using please, thank you and excuse me, and how not to interrupt an adult conversation thinking that their immediate need requires immediate gratification.
To finish, even if you don't think that these issues are worthy of consideration because of whatever situation you and your family are in, please at least give consideration to what values you are teaching your kids and what values you would like them to have to teach your grandchildren. There is more to education that what is taught and expected at school. It is time that as parents we taught our kids to think and act for themselves rather than act like the privileged Palo Alto kid that we are perceived to be producing.