Kids Under Contract

Not all technological advances are as beneficial as we would have originally thought as parents. We have a new system that is great in theory. I mean I guess it is. It’s kind of sucking in this household though!

It gives us as parents daily updates on our children’s progress at school. I hate it. I don’t want to know. I just want to send them to school clean and well fed in the morning and have them come home with a good attitude and straight A’s. Neither is happening.

Back in my day, I told my parents I was doing “very well” in school. Usually, I was not. I would get a progress report that was not so good but I would make up a pretty good story and promise my parents it would improve.

Maybe they knew I was not destined to be a scholar. I just wasn’t interested in school. I loved lunch, yearbook, shop class, photography and anything social. The rest was boring! In high school, I was voted most likely to be on America’s Most Wanted. I wasn’t exactly lighting things on fire, but I kind of was the class clown and liked to cause a little trouble.

I knew when report cards were coming out, so I generally would be the one to be checking the mailbox every day. Hopefully, my Mom and Dad would not get the mail and see that I got a bad grade that semester. Well, that doesn’t happen anymore.

Let me just start by saying that I have four very bright children. Far, far brighter than me. One of them has a very strong homework ethic and she is the one who did not start going to school permanently and consistently until the second grade. That’s Mia. She comes home every day after school and spreads out all of her stuff on the kitchen island, gets a snack and gets down to homework time.

All four of them could easily achieve straight A’s, but in our household, they need to get A’s and B’s to stay in our good graces.

We get email notifications every day for our kids’ school work and we can tell every single move they make.

It blows!

We had been chasing them around every day to make sure that their work is done, that they are studying for an upcoming test and that they are doing well in classes.


They did not give a shit, they knew that we were going to follow them around to make sure that they made the grade they needed to by the end of the grading period.

They ignored us, they lied, said they turned in the work when they didn’t. They made up stories and said that it was in the “inbox” and the teacher hadn’t corrected it or hadn’t “updated” the online systems.

It was always someone’s else’s fault. Lots of heartfelt discussions, lots of promises.

I think what the creators of these programs initially intended was to help the kids be able to focus and keep organized. To keep up with what work was upcoming for their classes.

But, unfortunately, what has happened is that it just makes the parents feel like they have to be involved every single day and keeping the kids on task.

When and how do these kids experience having the space to figure out how to manage their own time and have consequences if they are not taking care of their own work?

There is absolutely no way that they’re going to have any natural consequences if we are following them around every day, making sure that they take care of everything.

Also, how in the hell do we have time to chase them around every day when their work is not being turned in?

I’ve got an actual job (plus a household with five kids) and so does my husband. On top of that, we have a 10-month-old who keeps us very busy. Plus, we are really freaking old to be keeping up with a 10-month-old. We are tired!

None of our naggings actually really helped anyway. It was so frustrating.

Scarlet and Aaralyn both rode a low C most of the last semester. At the end, Scarlet made up EIGHT zeros to pull out a B. She ended up with a good outcome but why the stinking runaround?

Aaralyn just flat out lied most of the semester telling us she “had no homework” or that the reason she had a zero was that her teacher had not put in the grade yet. Such horseshit.

Don’t get me started on Cooper. He’s just as big of a fibber and lazy-ass as the rest of them. He will gladly go and work at his job for 30+ hours a week. He hangs out with his afterschool activity MMET media crew, but cannot seem to find the time to study to pass his chemistry test.

Needless to say at the end of the semester I’m pretty tired out from chasing those three kids around trying to make sure that their grades are up to snuff.

As far as punishment is concerned we basically would take a phone away. The problem with that is is once the phone is taken away then they just spend more time on the TV or their computer. I’m chasing them all around like a ninny. “I think that’s enough tv time today!” Drives me crazy!

We definitely felt like we needed to take a tougher stance… We wanted to find some kind of a system that involved less of US and would force THEM to be more engaged and taking care of their own business.

So we made a “Paquet Family Contract” and basically what we did was we took ourselves out of the equation.

We made it so that if they dropped any grade below 80% they lost all social contact after school with friends, no going to friends birthday parties or having buddies over. No electronics, TV, computer, phone until their grades were back up.

The approach is total lockdown and it stinks for me. I don’t want them around the house that much.

My God!

Cooper turns into a total jackhole. He starts to debate the California educational system with me. Um. I’m not interested in that.

I don’t know why he has to learn chemistry if he’s not going to be a chemist. I’m sure there’s some reason! I can’t explain it! I don’t really want to talk about it! I just want him to do the work and do well for crying out loud!

Curious though, on Tuesday morning while I was making him his egg whites, that big turkey asked to go downtown to the street fair with friends. I said, “sorry buddy you have a C in chemistry unless you get it up to an 80% by tonight at 5 PM there’s no way you can go.”

At about 2 PM I got a screenshot of his “B” grade. He had asked the teacher for extra credit got it done, turned in and she had moved his grade up to a B. Amazing!

Well here is the contract. And in the spirit of hanging up this semester. Trying to turn over a new leaf for the next one, here is the following.

I hope it works and God Bless us All!

“Paquet Family Contract”

You can’t be in the shower past 7 AM on weekdays.

Short showers, please. Everyone needs hot water.

You must be ready to go to school on time and you need to have your room straightened up with the bed made.

If your grades are all in the A/B range (that means 80% or above), you have the privilege of using your phone, computer and TV for a reasonable amount of time. If you can’t use them in moderation, they will be restricted too.

Go outside and play, ride your bike, scooter, rollerblade, use the trampoline, play frisbee and get some exercise.

After school when you have finished your homework and checked in with Mom to see if you need to help with any chores you are welcome to have some free time to spend with friends, on the computer, TV or phone. You must do your chores and your homework FIRST though.

NO PHONES PRIOR TO HOMEWORK AND CHORES! If you forget, you lose your phone for that day.

You are completely responsible for your grades staying in the 80% or above range. If at any time they drop below 80% you will lose your phone privileges, your TV privileges, your computer privileges, and your ability to be social. No birthday parties, no friends over.

The reason that you will have all of this stuff pulled away is so that you can have the time to focus on your grades and get your grades back up into the A/B range.

This will take preparing on your part because if you do not study for a test that is upcoming or if you have zeros for not turning in homework that will bring your grade down, making it harder to keep it up.

We suggest you take advantage of all extra credit opportunities to safeguard against bad grades.

You alone are responsible for keeping up with upcoming school projects, knowing when quizzes and tests are coming and preparing for them. Use your calendar like your teachers suggest.

Good grades are earned by working each day to stay ahead. NOT by playing catch up on stuff you didn’t turn in.

Your grades and keeping track of them are NOT Mom or Dad’s problem.

Hard work is rewarded.

You can do this!

You will get +$20 per “A” and +$10 per “B” at the end of each grading period. A “C” or lower gets you (-$5) each. If you get straight A’s you get a bonus $100!