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Turning the parenting level up to eleven

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Turning the parenting level up to eleven

Up to eleven

As a parent there will always be milestones or challenges. This goes without saying. Sometimes you manage to take these as either lessons learned, or masterful achievements. Unfortunately, the results for my next crash course in parenting wont be realised for years to come, if ever.

I find myself writing this, the day after my ‘intro to GCSE options’ meeting at the school last night. Being the grand old age of 12 and currently in year 8. The eldest boy (and myself), are about to be thrown right in to the middle of directing his future life. 

Until last night, it hadn’t actually dawned on me how important and thought provoking picking four subjects would be. Out of the 8 GCSE’s he would be doing, four it turns out are obligatory. Science, Maths, English Literature and English Language. These four are known as ‘facilitating’  subjects and considered vital for future employment or further education. They sit there with others such as Spanish, another science or Geography, amongst others. These sit next to creative subjects, such as, design and technology or drama. Finally we have the ‘other’ subjects such as PE, RE or business studies. 

Long gone are the days of the eldest wanting to be a Premier League footballer, or a successful  YouTuber. The dreams are still there, but he has matured enough to have a back up plan.

I say plan, like most 12 year olds, he has  no idea what his grown up self wants to be. However, in a moment that almost shed a tear or two from me, he announced that he needs to pick carefully,  to cover as many eventualities as he could. Maybe university was an option, maybe a trade was an option. But he was wise enough already, to know that his choice of GCSE would be vital to him, whatever his choice in the future. 

Although this process has only just begun from a parents perspective. The school have been readying the kids for months. I only know this from overhearing conversations and interrupting Whats app calls. The kids have been steadily planing their next three years of reactive learning and guiltily, I was chuckling along.

‘I’m doing food tech, that’s bound to be easy’

‘English lit sounds good, cos you only gotta read books and stuff’

 ‘I ‘aint picking PE because its all boring and about the body and things’

The near tear shedding incident came about because my 12 year old had realised the importance of his upcoming decision, way before his 44 year old Dad (who, still doesn’t know what he wants to be when he grows up). 

After a long chat and in depth look at all the subject choices, we managed to pinpoint some that may suit and dismiss altogether some others. We both went away mussing lots of ideas. When  I finally sat down afterwards, pondering how sensible and mature he actually was, underneath that bravado and angst,  that all pre teens like to hide behind. I came to realise that I must be doing something right. 

With regard to his options, it is a work in progress and I am sure thoughts will change fairly regularly until the final choice is made. I will continue to guide rather than dictate. If he doesn’t think he can cope with double science, he doesn’t have to. Yes it would be great for him to become a doctor, but equally great if he wants to be a plumber. I’m still secretly hoping the airline pilot or racing driver choice materialise, but only for selfish reasons.

I feel, that my main job is to make sure he understands his options and potentially guide him into picking ones that may be more suited.

busy note taking parentsWe still have lot’s of meetings and subject open evenings to attend and while discussing those, he made me promise that I would never be one of those parents who turns up to these meetings,with a dictaphone and busies themselves making shorthand notes on reporter style notepads throughout. He wanted me, to remain the kind of parent that rocks up

armed with his phone and takes pictures of the important bits from the presentation.

Which was just as well, because that will never change. Especially now I am rocking my parenting skills and turning them up to eleven.

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Part time Gardener | Part time Blogger | Dad

(7) Comments

  1. It’s such a tricky time and they’re so young to be making such big decisions. My third teenager is just coming up to her gcses and it seems in my experience there’s always at least one subject they regret choosing(but then do well in anyway – maybe they put in more effort who knows!!!)
    Congratulations , someone loved this post so much they added it to our #blogcrush linky

    1. If I’m honest, I super proud of him for taking it so sensibly. He isn’t the most studious lad sometimes and I half expected to have to push him harder. Next step, open evenings and chats with teachers …… watch this space.

  2. […] also have another article about this on my own blog, which can be found here. All of my other ramblings and some delicious recipe ideas can be found […]

  3. We are at the same stage with my daughter and I am so afraid, that it is too early to make important choices about qualifications.
    Waiting for next dad’s insights 🙂

    1. We have just been to the parents evening and spoken to all the subject heads. So watch this space……

      I also write for Don’t Believe The Hype Magazine, and have an article there about this topic

  4. […] the eldest getting close to becoming a teenager, he has found himself with more responsibilities and in turn more trust. I am  happy to leave him […]

  5. […] I’m not sure what is cooler. My middle boy singing Gold with Tony Hadley at the O2 Arena, or my eldest lad saying to me ‘ blimey, he’s still got it, hasn’t he’ from the audience, aimed at Tony […]

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