Blink—And They're Grown

Parents, Families and Child Care

Report Cards for Parents?


Have you ever thought to ask your child to grade you as a mom or dad?

I learned about this phenomenon recently, but wasn’t sure I wanted to ask my children how I was performing as a mom. I wasn’t sure I wanted to know. What parent would want to be that vulnerable?

But then I thought about it some more.  As an employee, I am evaluated by my supervisor. It is always helpful to hear from others what my strengths are, and also where there is room for improvement.  What was I afraid of discovering about myself as a mom?

So, holding my breath and gulping with courage, I asked my boys to evaluate my performance as a mom. I explained to them that I wanted to improve my parenting skills, and that I wanted them to be completely honest and that there would be no repercussions.  I also asked them if we could talk about my grades later.

I thought they would not want to do it but they gladly accepted the challenge.

Based on the results of my “report card,” I discovered that my kids really are watching me.  I got good grades in a few areas: my kids felt safe and protected, I offered healthy food choices and I was interested in their dreams.

Of course, there was need for improvement, too. They want me to lead by example, spend quality time with each of them individually, reward them for doing chores and to stop texting and driving.

Jansen and I had a great talk after I got my report card, and we’re making some changes. But while my older son Jared eagerly graded me, he was unwilling to talk about it afterwards. His reasoning was that it was too late as he is an adult now and it doesn’t matter. As a mom that hurt a bit, but it’s because in a way I know it’s true. I wish I could wind the clock back for Jared to when he was little again and do things differently.  I know that of all my children, I failed giving enough time and attention to him.  He wasn’t deprived but he was the middle child, sandwiched between two siblings.

But I can’t change the past. I can only try to do better now. Jansen agreed to evaluate me again in three months, and I’ll be curious to see if I can bring my grade up.

5 thoughts on “Report Cards for Parents?

  1. Ha. My adoptive, foster, and bio kids all make sure I know how I am doing as a parent. Usually in loud terms like “how come you’re the kind of mom who violates our constitutional rights and makes us go to the library?”

    Seriously, though, if the kids had to give me a report card, maybe it would be a little more thought through and I would get some positive feedback, too. 🙂

  2. Wow, I’m not sure I would have the guts to ask…

  3. It was kind of scary to ask my kids. I wasn’t sure if they would flunk me. I knew I wasn’t always at my best all the time. But who is? Based on my experience, it was a nice tool to communicate with my son who was willing to have a conversation with me.

  4. What a great idea Diann! Maybe I’ll give it a try.

  5. Thanks Daneane! If you decide to try it, please keep me posted. I’d love to hear how it went for you and your children.