Thursday, May 22, 2014

Parent Goggles

"Dad, you are wearing Parent Goggles!"

I have heard a lot of strange and interesting words fly out of the mouths of teenagers, but this one left me a little confused. 

I was complimenting my son on, what I thought, was a job well done on an classroom assignment.  That is what parents do.  Right? 
Adults encourage students with positive words of affirmation.  Right?
Parents make sure their son or daughter know that you recognize their "special" achievements. Right?
But when I complimented my son, he accused me of wearing Parent Goggles.   What?
Here is what I learned from the obvious request for a definition and explanation.

Parent Goggles is a term used to describe a parent's or adult's over exaggerated compliment of a student's ability.  For instance, a parent who says, "My son is an outstanding basketball player" when their son is riding the pine on the B-Team is wearing parent goggles.   I am glad I could say to my son, that as far as I know (we all have blind spots I admitted), I have never provided a compliment via Parent Goggles  and that his level of achievement I praised was due to his own effort.  This led to an honest discussion of what I saw as his current state of ability regarding the various activities in which he is involved (don't judge-he wanted to know).  And you know what? He liked the honest dialogue. 

I believe the term Parent Goggles developed out of student reaction to the "everyone is special" culture (check out my last blog on that special word).  A culture, I argue, students' have always been able to see through and rebel against. the term parent goggles suggesting that adults not use positive words, compliment, or recognize a student's achievement?  No! 
The term is suggesting that parents and adults be more realistic in recognizing and highlighting their student's abilities and achievements.  They may not say it, but students (and adults for that matter) need honest feedback, direction and encouragement!

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