Adventures in Parenting: Trust. How Much Is Too Much?

June 3, 2010 Adventures in Parenting 9

My husband and I are co-treasurer’s for the PTO at my oldest son’s school.  Fairly often, we rely on John to be our messenger, dropping off checks and other materials in the front office because our work schedules don’t always allow a visit to the school.  Yesterday morning, I asked John to drop off the PTO checkbook at the office for the PTO president.  I’ve asked him to do it before and thought nothing of it.  Until around 8:30 AM when I received a call from John’s teacher:

Teacher: Good morning!  Did you know that John had a checkbook with him today?

Me: Yes, I asked that he drop it off in the office on his way in to school this morning.

Teacher: Well, it didn’t make it to the office. I found out he had it because he was attempting to write a check.

Me: Really?! (Inside I was screaming “HOLY *insert expletives here*!”) Ok, can you ask him to please take it down to the office?


My mind was reeling!  Why oh why would John think it okay to write a check?  Ok, and I do have to admit that I thought it was  a little cute and I tried to picture John writing out a check.  I was also a bit impressed that he knew how to write a check.  I sent an email to the PTO president letting her know what happened, apologizing immensely. She said that she picked up the checkbook and the check was written in pencil so it was easily erased.

When I picked John up from school I asked him why he was writing a check.  He stated that he thought the school needed money for a particular event and wanted to help, so he wrote a check for $13.  BLESS HIS LITTLE HEART!  My heart did go a little mush, but then I quickly recovered and discussed why what he did was wrong, how one shouldn’t write checks in a checkbook that didn’t belong to him, why 11-year-olds shouldn’t write checks, etc. End of discussion.

This whole scenerio made me reflect on how much trust I put in John.  He’s an extremely sweet, caring little boy and perhaps sometimes I put too much trust in him. He is still a kid afterall!  He’s quite mature and responsible in certain situations, but I must force myself to remember that he is  still a child. Therefore, while what he did was wrong, I was at fault just as much as he was.

So what do you think? Do we sometimes put too much trust in our children?

9 Responses to “Adventures in Parenting: Trust. How Much Is Too Much?”

  1. Michelle Ryan

    Jon is such a sweet boy. I am not sure the issue is to much trust. Sometimes we just give out kids to much responsibility for their age. As parents we confuse the two. We simply ask them to do things in which they may not understand what could go wrong. I know I have been guilty of this many times. In my opinion kids deserve our trust until they have proven otherwise.

  2. Ronnica
    Twitter: RonnicaZ

    I think that’s perfectly appropriate (your trust in him, not the misappropriation of PTO funds 😉 ). Taking the checkbook to the office was well within a 11yo’s level of responsibility, but you handled it correctly.

  3. carol

    I tend to agree with Ronnica. I would trust my daughter to take it to the office. I think you handled it well, though, and it’s nice that his heart was in the right place.

  4. Pam
    Twitter: bookaliciouspam

    You know he was just trying to help. You have raised an amazingly aware son who cares about important issues. He did the wrong thing but to him he probably didn’t even see it as wrong. I guess it was an issue of too much trust.

  5. Jen-Girls Gone Reading
    Twitter: girlsgonereadin

    Older children always seem to get more responsibility. As an oldest child myself, I worry about how much pressure I put on my daughter-who is an only child right now. She is little, but already we encourage her to do a lot of things, be more courageous, help us out with small things, etc. I was thinking, while reading, your post that my parents used to have me do stuff like this all the time, and I think all the responsibilty helped me in the long run. Trust and responsibility go hand in hand. His heart was in the right place, but maybe next time he doesn’t get the whole checkbook 🙂 Congratulations on such a kind, sweet, little man.

  6. Stephanie

    That story is too cute! I have a ten year old stepdaughter, so I can relate! Sometimes their mindsets are so refreshing.

  7. Suzi Katz

    It’s great that kids always want to help and it sounds like he really wanted to do that. At that moment, while he didn’t understand the ramifications of writing a check from someone else’s book, it was a true teaching moment. I think you were fine in trusting him to bring it to the office at 11 years old. I am going through that now with my daughter who is 7 years old. She is wearing a heart monitor for the next thirty days and when she gets chest pains or her heart starts beating too fast she has to press record. I already caught her experimenting with it and had to sit her down and let her know how serious it was. We’ll see how it goes as today is day one.

  8. Heather J.
    Twitter: age30books

    Too funny! I can totally see Kiddo doing something like this. But I agree, it was more of him not understanding than of him trying to do something bad. Still, FUNNY. 🙂

  9. Lisa

    I always thought of my oldest son as so grown up when he got to be that age but I think some of that was just because he was so much more mature than he was a year ago and I had nothing to compare it to.