Do kids or parents call the shots in the home?

Last week, I commented on Winnipeg School Division considering implementing later start times for students based on studies and feedback from parents. I came out swinging and suggested kids are being catered to too much and they should suck it up and get ready for the real world.

Most of you agreed with me. Some — parents mainly — were defensive about letting kids call the shots at home.

“I couldn’t agree more,” wrote Les. “Too many studies muddy reality with conflicting analysis. It seems we are too intent on trying to find the right solution for every malady, that we overlook the essence of grooming our young people to evolve into responsible adults. A good work ethic is re-enforced by punctuality, not by trying to bend to the whims of parents and students. Pursuing a job after school will be a huge eye opener for them.”

To that point, Sandra defended the concept.

“If you haven’t had to deal with a teenager you really can’t comment,” wrote Sandra. “If surveys find that people work better when they start later in the day, then why not allow it? Lots of offices have flexible start times to accommodate people’s needs.”

True. But there’s a difference between needs and wants. A need could be a later start time because a parent has to drop off a kid at daycare. It’s not something they personally want to do, it might be something they have to do at a certain time. A want is sleeping in because you stayed up too late the night before. You don’t need to sleep in, you want to.

As Les says, all of these habits start at a young age and can be difficult to shake if you’re catered to and have all your demands met.

“That’ll be the day I let my kids make decisions like that,” wrote Jen. “Of course they’ll learn better when they’re wide awake. Who wouldn’t? But for generations of adults who’ve woken up before sunrise to do what they have to do to support themselves and their families, that’s what I’m going to make sure my kids do. They might have the expectation that what they say goes but it’s the exact opposite. No good can come from giving into that.”

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