Cat and Mouse

My son has been having a tough time getting his homework done. The first term of Grade 8 was quite a shock for my newly minted teenager. I admit, he didn’t have much homework in Grade 7 (it wasn’t a focus of the class apparently) and I had never stayed on top of his homework in his/my younger days due to my lack of organization. Plus, we all want to think of our children as precious little angels that can do no wrong but this way of thinking set my family back a few years when it came to checking up on homework.

We spent the first couple of weeks getting upset with each other. I was angry because he wasn’t doing his homework and he was stressed out from the overwhelming homework and his Dad yelling at him every night.

One night I had an epiphany. I don’t usually let people affect my mood. I try to stay chipper and happy as much as possible. So why was I letting this tiny individual get the better of me? During a conversation with one of his uncles, “boys will be boys” was brought up and it made me think of human nature.

*I’m not usually a fan of the phrase “boys will be boys” because it tends to give boys carte blanche to commit whatever stupid act they want without fear of major repercussions, but more on that in another post.*

This everyday back and forth reminded me of one of my favourite classic cartoons, Tom and Jerry. Every episode, Jerry was getting chased by Tom and every episode he would get caught, get let go and live to antagonize the cat for another scene.

That’s what this situation was. Cat and Mouse. Everyday my son was going to try and get out of doing some of his homework and every day his dad is going to try and catch him. This metaphor combined with not wanting to have a screaming match every night led me to my current position. I watch him like a hawk. I talk and email with his teachers and counsellors. I check his agenda every day when he comes home and make sure he has written down his homework.

Most importantly though, when I do catch him I don’t punish, yell or lose my temper. I look him in the eye and tell him, “BOOM! I caught you trying to BS the BS’er! I win.” And then I sit down and figure out how he can get his work done. If he needs some help, we schedule in some time for one of the many homework clubs at his school or extra time with a teacher.

In my opinion, it is important to help your children get excited about learning. High school is that time in a young persons life where the most doors and opportunities are going to open. Music, Sports, Art, Drama, Language, you name it, they can learn it here. And being more heavily involved in their education shows you care and lets your child know that they should care at least as much as you do. In my case, as a single parent, there is only twice the focus on my sons education. In a family with two parents, you can focus that much more on your child(ren) and really help to get them ahead in life.

Now if only we could really value our teachers and educational staff……..

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