How High is Your "Parent Over-Investment Dial?"

March 18, 2011

Is your Parent Over-investment Dial (P.O.I.D.) set too high?

Parents are often in pretty deep with their kids’ school work. However, by the time the child has reached middle school the typical message from the teachers is, “Parents – It is time for you to bug out. They are big boys and girls and should be doing the work on their own.” This puts the parents in a quandary.

For many middle school children such wisdom is fine. Probably about 60 percent or so of the children in middle school are able to manage their own school affairs without too much parent involvement. For the remaining 40%, the ones that have trouble staying organized, getting started and sustaining their mental effort, they tend to need more parent input.
 

The difficult part is knowing how much parent involvement is too much.  A guideline that I find helpful for parents is the suggestions that they should be 10% involved, as a general rule. 

What does 10 % involvement look like in real terms?

It means that the child is largely responsible for managing his own school affairs. The parent would help the child in terms of orienting him to the task, cuing him in and guiding a bit so that the child is on the right track and not floundering around aimlessly.
 

The 10 % solution means you turn down your Parent Over-Investment Dial. You know your dial is set too high when you are swirling around and worrying about your kids’ homework, while your child has barely broken a sweat.

If you’re doing 60 – 70% or more of the worrying, why should the child? If I were a child in such a situation, I’d be thinking, “That’s a good deal, keep going. Thanks, mom for doing the worrying for me.”
 

It’s human nature, no? Who wants to do the homework anyway?

So, put your feet up, pour yourself a glass of wine and turn down your P.O.I.D.  to 10%.

"Ahhhh."

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