Raising Kids: Making Time for the “Other” Important Things

Posted November 15, 2010 by

School has been in session for awhile now.  My granddaughter Maddy is in sixth grade now and she is expected to take on a lot more homework and a lot more responsibility. It’s a good life experience for her but it’s not easy to convince her of that.

Maddy has ADHD and accomplishing anything seems to be such a chore.  We are rewarding her when she 1) gets up on time and catches the bus,  2) finishes her homework (or at least gives it her best try before she asks for help), and 3) gets ready for bed in time to settle in before her second wind hits.  Obviously, I can’t be with her during school to watch over her, so she also earns points when she remembers to write down her homework in her homework notebook for each class. She is also expected to unload the dishwasher each day and practice her flute and piano on alternating days.

But I do have to say that it is hard to get all these things done in the little amount of time we have each day. Sometimes I feel like we are spending so much time “getting things done” we miss the moments that we could be spending more time together, talking,  praying, laughing, and having fun. Instead of allowance or filling out a chart for a material award, she earns points to do things that she loves to do: going to a movie, walking around town and checking out all the little shops, a long bike ride, finding shapes and funny faces in the clouds, or a special Saturday lunch at a favorite restaurant – just her and me.

Somehow we have to find time to do the “other” important things in life. I hope Maddy looks back at our life together some day and thinks that we did accomplish these things, in addition to learning “responsibility.”


Nicole Roswell is married with four grown children, and she and her husband are now raising their eleven-year-old granddaughter with ADHD. They also have two dogs and two cats, and a mole who lives in the front yard “whose life long goal is to destroy every blade of grass that we own.”

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  1. Carole Banks, Parental Support Line Advisor Report

    Dear ‘Frustrated’:

    Don’t think of yourself as ‘bad parents’ if you decide to stop paying for private school because your son is not taking advantage of this opportunity and keeping up with his class work. It can be uncomfortable to set limits on our kids or see them experience negative consequences because of their choices. We want them to feel happy as much as possible and it’s natural to feel sad when they’re sad. But if you save your child from all unpleasant experiences because it’s too hard for you to watch him suffer, your child will miss the opportunity to learn important lessons and skills and learn the wrong lessons instead. For example, doing his homework for him because he would not, then turning it in for him, might teach him that you have no confidence in him–that you actually believe he’s not competent to achieve tasks. He may also learn if he acts out, less will be asked of him and that others will solve his tough problems for him. Allow your son to experience the positive or negative effects of his choices. As uncomfortable as it is to watch our kids when they’re unhappy, we need to learn to manage our feelings to help our kids learn to problem solve and overcome obstacles.

  2. Frustrated Report

    have an 18 yr old young man who has been defiant most of his life. we entered him in a boarding school because he wouldn’t stay in school and upon his return (after 18 months) we put him in a small private school which he liked the first year and played football even though he didn’t qualify all the time due to his grades. This school year he is still a junior for a while (he needs a quarter credit to become a senior) because in one of his classes he failed to fix a meal for his final and received an F. He is doing poorly with grades this year and we decided to write a contract for him to sign so he could focus with his grades and chores(he doesn’t bring books home or study, although he says he does). He is now refusing to sign the contract and the consequence was he had to seek other alternatives, so he left home. He still wants to do things his way which is the lazy way and he is not getting good results. He doesn’t want our help and the teachers stated he could come to them, but he says he doesn’t need help. Does this make us bad parents if we pull the funds for school and he would have to finish his education the best way he can or not at all? We are totally drained of his constant defiance. Basically, this is his last chance and he’s not seeming to maintain the momentum and keep up. I literally did some of his homework last quarter because he wouldn’t turn it in. I turned it in late for partial credit.



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