Do you remember that muffled sound played on the Peanuts cartoon, whenever a nagging teacher or parent hassled Charlie Brown’s gang?
That’s what I think I sound like to my teenagers… when I remind them to do something… or worse, when I try to teach them something.
I’m an educator by profession — I work with kids for a living. In spite of my training and experience, however, my teenagers are better off learning some skills and lessons from someone else.
Through my kids’ lives, I’ve hired outside experts to tutor and teach my kids skills such as driving, skating, and skiing (to name a few). I’ve registered them for all kinds of programs, in spite of my own ability to impart information and model skills effectively and patiently to kids of all ages.
Why waste the money?
I want to maintain a healthy relationship with my kids. They know how to push my buttons, and aren’t interested in listening to me about many things. Also, I’m not an expert in everything. There are better teachers out there for many skills and lessons.
Should you outsource?
Outsourcing is necessary in our fast-paced society:
Time is tight for busy, working families, and parents don’t have to tutor. After a long work day, and rushing home to do food preparation, errands, and extra-curricular activities, parents don’t have to tutor also.
You may know how to do something, but that doesn’t make you an expert.
Just because you can do something, it doesn’t mean you can teach it.
You are not the expert in everything, and I hate to say it, but to your tween or teen, you are the annoying parent.
Even if you are a natural teacher, you may not realize you need to differentiate for a child’s learning difficulties. You may not know the best practices.
Your mode of teaching (likely the one your own teachers used) may be different than the trends your child is used to.
Experts will maximize the use of technology and other resources when teaching your child.
You may have anxiety when working with your child — impatience — and your child may have anxiety also. Tutors take the pressure off everyone.
There are negatives for outsourcing. Here’s the other perspective:
When you outsource, you can’t be engaged with your kids in that area.
If you outsource everything, you’re saving only a few moments to spend with your kids (probably the transition times between activities and school?!). Outsourcing too much can rob you of precious time to build a relationship with your child.
Balance is the key.
Think about what matters most in the long run to you and your family. Resist outsourcing too much, and too soon.
Never be just a spectator in your kids’ lives — be involved! Shrug off the odd “eye roll” from your tween or teen when you doteach them something meaningful, and then pass the torch to an expert when it’s appropriate. And don’t feel guilty about it.