When Your Child Writes an Essay, Which Parent Are You?

Coauthors/writing coaches Melissa Mead and Diane Stafford want you to confess:

  1. If your child gets frustrated while writing an essay, you usually
  1. Write it for her.
  2. Provide candy and/or cookies.
  3. Talk about the “stupid teacher.”
  4. Give encouragement and walk away.


  1. If your child complains “I have nothing to say!” when writing, you:
  1. List ideas to include.
  2. Try to pull ideas out of the stubborn kid.
  3. Buy him a new game or toy.
  4. Reassure that something good will come to his mind and walk away.


  1. Your main reaction when your child gets frustrated with writing is:
  1. Why aren’t teachers doing a better job of teaching writing?
  2. Maybe this kid is not a good writer.
  3. Why does she have to use that prompt?
  4. Just tell yourself that frustration is part of growth—and your child will find her way.


  1. While your child is writing, he says that he is just “dumb,” so you jump in:
  1. And write the essay for him
  2. Reassure him of his intelligence
  3. Tell the kid there is no need to do the assignment
  4. Smile and hug him and say, “You’re feeling frustrated and that ‘s normal; it will help you get to the words you need…”


  1. If your child shows you her first paragraph, you:
  1. Talk about what you would write.
  2. Point out each mistake.
  3. Explain that having writing ability is not important in life.
  4. Offer a positive comment, a big smile, and say, “Keep going just like you’re doing. It’s working.”



  1. d
  2. d
  3. d
  4. b and d
  5. d


  • If all answers are a, b, or c , you’re a Helicopter Parent Extraordinaire.
  • Mostly a, b, or c and 2 or 3 d’s, you’re a Quasi-Hovering Parent.
  • If you chose d for all questions, you’re a Super-Smart-Savvy Parent.