Do you know the child, the one that no matter what, even though you’re sure he’s capable, he’s just not a good student? There’s no motivating them. You’ve taken the iPod away, the TV, he’s grounded until he’s 39 and there’s absolutely nothing left short of taking away his next birthday that could make something click or motivate them.

I’m old school. I’m not going to hand my children “life on a silver platter.” I wouldn’t be doing them any favors.

I think I’m a rare breed of parent. I don’t condone disrespect at school. If you’re my child and you get in trouble then you can expect to spend your time as the school official sees fit. I instilled that in all of my children. Sort of the old saying “if you do the crime, you’ll do the time.” They made a mistake, they should learn from it.

I’m the same way when it comes to my children’s education. I attended parent-teacher conferences this week. My child struggles in school, it’s no secret. I’ve been at this awhile, so I think I have a pretty good foundation or understanding of the way this works. My child has an IEP (Individualized Education Plan) but be that as it may, I don’t believe in using it as a crutch.

I think as the years go on “helicopter parents” are becoming the norm and parents like me are becoming rare. Everyone is so worried about hurting feelings, or bailing kids out because we don’t want to see our child punished, or calling the coach because “my child isn’t getting enough playing time,”that we fail to see that we ruining our children.

During an IEP at the beginning of this year, a teacher stated, “I can modify his assignments, break them in ½, so he has less to do.” Ummmm NO! Let’s tell him “You can do it!” and see how he does, let’s challenge him and watch his eyes light up when he aces that spelling test!

IEP’s are put in place to both protect the child and the institution. Don’t take advantage of it. You’re just as much responsible for your child’s education as the instructors. The IEP is not to make it easier on the child, it’s meant to assist in educating and finding a process or plan that works for your child. Just because your child has a special need does not mean that they are incapable of learning, it means they may need to learn in a different way than mainstream kids. I also know that it’s just as important for that child to be able to see that they can succeed. It takes work, patience, and encouragement.

I have strong opinions about special education. I’ll catch hell for this, but if you don’t advocate for your children than most likely no one will. I find too often that individuals with special needs are not a valued asset in the community.

My child took a career assessment test this week, my child is a freshman. They’re already gearing him to consider working in manual labor, in my opinion they are not confident he will succeed in college. I’m OK with that if that’s what HE chooses NOT the instructor. 

Hard work, sometimes tough love, definitely patience, and lots of encouragement shows your child you have confidence in their ability. “Baby! Reach for the stars; you can do whatever you set your mind to!” If your child is employable at whatever they choose, then mama get out the cake, we’re going to celebrate! 

Cynthia Smith Huhman

I am a mother of 5 children, with a difference of 20+ years from the oldest to the youngest. I’m a new grandma to a beautiful baby boy! I have worked in the broadcast business for 9 years; I’m putting myself through college, studying marketing and leadership, and I’m a self-proclaimed big mouth for Tourette syndrome and developmentally disabled. Previously divorced; I now co-parent with my significant other of 12+ years, in 2 separate homes. Unconventional, but with a combined total of 8 kids… his, hers, and little ours it works for us! I live for my coffee & vanilla chai. I love to teach my daughter new crafts & inspiring her creativity. I enjoy my gardening, cooking, wandering around the hills with my camera, and writing. You can also find me at my new blog My motto: Pick yourself up and keep on moving!