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Childrearing

Parent Report Card Gives Kids A Chance To Hold Parents To Impossible Standards

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Parent Report Card Gives Kids A Chance To Hold Parents To Impossible Standards report card a plus 280x186 jpgWell, Folks, we’re done here. We have reached peak levels of ridiculousness and now we can all pack up and go home. TODAY reports parents are now allowing their children to grade them using an online parent report card. The report card — available at Modern Mom — is a 28-item questionnaire wherein kids have the option of giving parents grades ranging from A to F on such important parenting duties as doling out rewards for chores and making birthdays special.

The report card is based on the idea that kids don’t get enough of a say in how they’re being parented and should be able to give us feedback. It flips the script, so to speak, giving kids a chance to deem us failures if we’re not parenting to their standards.

NBC’s Darlene Rodriguez asked a group of children and their parents to take part in the exercise and the results were enlightening. The children were quick to note that they thought the report card would be useful.

“The things that they’re doing bad, we should probably tell them that they need to improve on it,” 13-year-old Tori said.

The report card does include a few useful questions, such as “Does your parent make you feel safe and protected?” and “Does your parent give you enough love?” but those questions take a backseat to more ridiculous tripe like, “Is your parent fun?” and “Does your parent pack good lunches/snacks?” The report card even asks kids to grade whether or not their own punishments are fair and asks if parents “act the way you want them to” at sporting events and “embarrass you in front of your friends.”

Creating a respectful relationship with your kids that includes healthy boundaries is important, but this report card doesn’t actually seem to be doing that. In fact, this report card seems to cross some huge boundaries. Since when do kids deserve the right to grade their own birthday celebrations and give you an F in parenting if it wasn’t “special” enough? And what does it say about our expectations of parents that this sort of exercise seems valuable?

The main issue with this report card is not that it gives kids a say, but that it sets an unattainable standard for what makes a good parent. Presumably, someone who can get an A in all categories is doing it right, while the parents who can’t afford to pay an allowance or who don’t have as much time for “fun” because they work three jobs are failing.

The parent report card is an exercise in vanity for people who already have it pretty good. Just by nature of having time to print it out, give it to your kids to fill out, and talk about it, you’ve already proven that you’re thoughtful, concerned, and privileged enough that you have time to ponder whether or not such arbitrary things are fail-worthy. It’s important to know that your kids feel safe, respected, and loved, but it’s possible to have that conversation without also giving your kids the expectation that being a good parent means attaining an A-plus on a graded list of first-world problems.

(Photo: Shutterstock)

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