My parenting style comes from my upbringing...my parents did not do much in the way of helping me. For example, if I were to forget lunch or an important assignment at home, they would not have brought it to me to school. Not even once. If ever I wanted to do anything afterschool(like tryouts for cheerleading or whatever), I always had to find a ride home, or I couldn't do it. I try to be helpful and accomodating, but not to the point of pandering. My kids rarely forget anything important at home and it's like once/twice in a whole year they call home to ask me to bring something. I happily pick them up late if they need to stay late, or take them to the football games if they aren't already riding with a friend, things like that. Alot of times their friends ride with me. I try to be *that* parent where the friends hang out. My friends didn't like being at my house growing up, but my kids' friends like hanging around.
Ok...an issue has come up. My oldest is a senior, and working on her senior project. In 2 days, she is supposed to have a paper turned in, filled out by the person who is going to mentor her, saying they agree to do this. She is wanting to do her time at the animal shelter, which is over 30 minutes away. Weeks ago, she was given the deadline for this. Every time she has brought it up, I remind her to call the shelter and talk to someone before driving there. I have reminded her to do this several times, I'd say weekly. So she has not called yet, and this morning before drop off, let me know she has to have thsi done in 2 days and that she's been reminding me over and over and is just waiting on me!! I reminded her how I have told her she needs to call the place first. I feel she should have called and gotten this worked out. I always have told her to do her part and I am happy to take her where she needs to go. She doesn't have her liscense, so can't drive herself. I am feeling doubts about myself, am I being mean or unreasonable? What would you do differently? Is it unreasonable to call the shelter first and make sure there is someone to mentor first before driving all the way there?
It sounds reasonable to me, but I also understand that it is sometimes easier to approach someone with a request in person. She might actually have more success just showing up in person because it is much harder for someone to say no to someone's face. I actually am not fond of using the phone and would even rather stop in at the dentist and make an appointment in person than call if I'll be in the area. When I talk to someone, I like to be able to tell what other demands are being placed on their time, how busy they are, etc, which I can't tell over the phone. But, in this situation that involves you spending an hour chauffeuring her, I'd want to make sure someone was there to talk to, at least. Maybe hold off about the mentoring until she is there in person.
Does she have a back up plan?
I admit, I'm the mom that doesn't run back to school with forgotten items. I do drive my kids all over the county for activities almost everyday but I'm a stickler for communication and the kids respecting "my" time. I don't do last minute "oh my gosh, I've known for a week but I forgot to tell you can you drop everything and drive me and then wait 2 hours for me to be done" trips. I'd absolutely expect my kid to call the shelter first to see if doing a project through them is even a possibility (and it may not be if she's underage... I know our shelters don't take minor volunteers period.) Volunteer coordinators at shelters can have very erratic schedules. It's silly to go out there without seeing if who you need to talk to is even there that day! You've also been far more generous with reminders than I would have been.
These things take time. I was a Girl Scout leader for a decade and my DD has to do an internship every semester. It can take weeks to arrange this sort of thing... tracking down the right person, seeing if there are spots available, getting OK from insurance, getting the OK from superiors, sometimes these things have to be brought up in staff meetings that may only happen every other week, asking anyone to do last minute paperwork is hard, ect.
She's a high school senior. She's absolutely old enough to have made a 2 minute phone call whether it intimidated her to do so or not. Her failure on this is HER failure, not yours in the least. I'd not give anymore reminders and just expect that she's going to miss this deadline.
I honestly think you are wasting your energy telling your dd over and over what to do. She is not listening or doesn't believe you are right.
You might advise her that, in your experience, going without calling first might be wasting her time as the person she needs may not be there. Maybe she really needs to learn this by experiencing it first hand though.
I might also point out that it has been your experience that it is a good idea to have a plan B in case plan A doesn't work out. But maybe she also needs to experience failure in order to feel the need for a plan B in future.
It is her project and part of it is apparently her finding and interacting with her own mentor. She has most likely been told by the teacher (and you) how to go about contacting people. If you want her to deal with things on her own I think you have to accept that she does it her way just like if she blew off taking her lunch for weeks. Her way is apparently not calling or e-mailing first.
At this point I'd go ahead and drive her to the shelter and let her deal with whatever she finds there.
I think part of the learning intended in this assignment was the planning - that is why they were given weeks instead of 2 days. It is the student's responsibility to follow through in a timely manner, and that lesson will be entirely lost if Mom takes up the slack at the last minute. I would let her fail the assignment, and then let her do whatever it takes to make up the credit. Then perhaps she will learn the lessons of advance planning, having a Plan B, not procrastinating, and all the real life skills involved in this sort of assignment. Scrambling at the last minute and inconveniencing others to make up for your own poor planning are not valuable life skills to encourage.
Well, the day I wrote the OP, my daughter came home, called the shelter, and had her boyfriend take her the next day. They had to wait around after school, then take his siblings home, then clean his car or something, and then they went to the shelter. Or where the shelter used to be 2 years ago...it was relocated. By the time they made it to it, it had closed. They had 3 hours to do this. So they went on Thursday, today is Tuesday and she hasn't said anything about going back. I'm just letting her take the lead. She knows the times they are open(every weekday) and where to go, all she has to do is let me know when she wants to go. We have other issues with her being lazy about things and then blaming others for not doing what she should. She's planning on moving out after she graduates, I have no idea how she'll make it, that worries me. I've tried! Her sister, who is almost 16 is not like this at all, so it seems like a personality thing, but it still feels like I have failed.
Oh, and when she called, she didn't ask what age you have to be to volunteer there, so she still doesn't know if she can. So if she makes it up there we don't even know if she'll be able to. I think it's awesome she is doing her project on this type of thing, she has a huge heart for animals, but the lack of responsibility gets to me. I can count on her to "assist" me in an emergency, but not day-to-day things.