We are not perfect people.
We are not perfect parents.
We didn’t have perfect parents to follow.
We did have a “perfect” love for our daughter. We knew we wanted to provide the best life for her. We knew our job was to raise her to be a loving, caring, productive adult in society.
We didn’t always make the right decisions. However, there a few times we got it right. Hannah is a young adult now. We are so proud of her and her decisions.
Here are 5 times we got it right! At least we think we did.
1. We bought our daughter an alarm clock
The summer before Hannah started kindergarten, we were shopping and she saw the cutest Hello Kitty alarm clock. She insisted she would use it.
We bought the clock and turned it into a teaching “game” of sorts. She was excited to get up every morning to her own alarm.
Once she was older, we insisted we would not wake up her up for school and she would have to wake up with her alarm. It worked.
I think the fact that she picked her own alarm clock and had control over getting herself up is what did the trick. We NEVER had to wake her up for school.
2. We never paid for grades
When I was younger, my parents never paid for grades. Same with Wayne’s parents. The expectation was we were to go to school and learn to the best of our abilities.
We carried on the same tradition with our daughter. She would be rewarded with a special dinner or treat with a good report card.
However, a good report card to us is not all A’s. There are some subjects she was not as proficient in. The fact is, if she did her homework and showed p for class, we would accept she did her best and would reward her.
This brings me to the third time we got it right….
3. We inspected what we expected
Trust is earned. Children don’t automatically know right from wrong unless you teach them.
Hannah’s school had a website that allowed us as parents to look at her grades, check homework ad communicate with her teachers. She knew we would be checking her homework was done (not asking her if her homework was done), checking her phone, checking her backpack and checking to see she was where she said she was going to be.
One time she went to the movies with a friend. This was the first time we had allowed her to go alone to the mall to see a movie.
Yep, as soon as we dropped her off we parked the car and snuck into the same movie and sat in the back. Thankfully (!) she and her friend came into the movie and did exactly what she said they were going to do.
We let her know when we picked her up. She was a little upset, but she realized we were always going to make sure she earned our trust. And she did! We didn’t always follow her and we trusted her and told her so.
4. We paid our daughter a salary, not an allowance
My parents devised a stupid game to earn allowance when I was growing up. There really is no other way to describe it other than it was a stupid idea (sorry mom).
They put $10 in an envelope and had a list of chores me and my brothers had to do to divide up the $10. It was a sliding scale. Whomever did the most work received a bigger slice of the pie. To be honest, my brothers didn’t hardly do a thing. I worked my tail off to try to earn the $10. When the end of the week came, I received $5 and my brothers got $3 and $2.
I realized I did 90% of the work and only got 50% pay. Needless to say, that plan didn’t work.
With Hannah, we felt that there were certain chores that she needed to do because she was part of the family that she didn’t get paid for. We listed those chores on the top half of her chore list. On the bottom half of the chore list, we listed chores with a payment amount attached to. Basically, if she didn’t do the chore she didn’t get paid. It really worked.
We were consistent on paying her on time and inspecting her work. She was consistent on doing what was expected on both halves of the chore list.
There were occasions (more than I wanted) where she would do the chores that she received payment from and skip the chores she was required to do. What we did was withhold the payment on the paid chores until she completed her required chores. (Isn’t parenting fun?)
5. We taught our daughter basic life skills
We started teaching Hannah when she was about 10 years old how to do a budget. We gave her a specific amount of $90 a month to budget for her expenses. This may seem like a lot for a child, but we explained to her we would pay for food, shelter and clothing, but she would pay for skating rink, birthday parties, miniature golf, etc.
If she wanted a specific expensive pair of shoes or jeans or clothing, we would pay a portion, but she would have to pay for the rest.
She quickly realized she needed to budget her money for the finer things in life. 🙂
We taught her to balance a bank statement, change the oil in a car, cook and bake, change a tire, sew a button and hem pants. She is very self reliant as a young adult.
When I was growing up, I learned quite a bit from home economics class at school. This class is no longer offered so we had to teach it to Hannah. I am sure we didn’t teach her everything, but we sure tried our best.
Every parent is different and every child is different and unique and special. There is no right way to parent.
The most important thing is to trust in YOUR parenting skills and do what is best for you and your child.