Dear Annie,

My 10 year old daughter can’t remember to bring home school assignments. She’s a very good student, well mannered, etc. We lovingly say she is off with the fairies. In fact, she’s always drawing fairies and unicorns! We’ve tried a planner, notes taped to her backpack, and taking away special things when she forgets to do what she’s supposed to do. Nothing works. She cried today because she forgot to bring home her state project to work on and it’s due tomorrow! I used the opportunity to illustrate that this is exactly why I constantly remind her to get work done in a timely fashion. I am out of ideas for helping her with her forgetfulness!

At Wits End


Dear Confused,

AnnieandGracie

I smiled when I read the phrase “off with the fairies.” When my daughter was that age she too spent a lot of time in her imagination, drawing and making up stories. As she matured she became more aware of the need to write things down and attend to the demands of the “real” world. My daughter never abandoned her creative side. Her first novel was published last year! I don’t mention this to brag. Well, maybe a little! I simply want to reassure you that we need to be patient with our children. They each develop in their own time, along their own path. Sometimes that’s inconvenient and frustrating for us grown-ups, who never visit Fairyland and value getting things done on time. But please appreciate where your daughter is at this point in her development. And acknowledge her creative gifts. The world needs dreamers!

As for helping her, here’s my advice: Rather than making it your job to constantly remind her about school assignments, I’d suggest you shift gears. Use patience, encouragement, and a system of notes that your daughter writes to herself. With opportunity and maturity she will learn to count on herself.

One more thing… In parenting, we’re not looking for perfection, just progress. So praise it when you see it. This is going to take a while and your daughter may never be as efficient as you are, but she isn’t you and she needs to know that you admire her for who she is.

I hope this helps.

In friendship,
Annie


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