Dear Snarky – Am I a Bad Mom for Not Doing My Kid’s School Project?


Dear Snarky,

My son is in the 3rd grade and this is his first year to participate in the school Science Fair. I’ve helped him decided what he wants to do, bought the supplies and the display board and have offered what I would call gentle guidance. The rest I am leaving up to him.

I thought this was okay until at a Cub Scout meeting I hear other mothers talking and it seems like they are doing their kids ENTIRE project. Am I wrong not to do more?

Signed, First Time Science Fair Mom

Dear First Timer,

Put down the glue gun and slowly step away from the note cards and the color markers. You are 100% correct in not micro managing every aspect of your son’s Science Fair entry. It’s the rare parent these days that can resist the urge to not completely take over every school project. You name it – book reports, the diorama (hate it), the Invention Competition to the pinnacle of parental participation – the Science Fair – have become parent showcases. 

Most of these projects have the tell-tale signs that a 40-year-old did some if not all of the work. Sure, I’ve been guilty of telling my kids when they were younger to take their chocolate milk and go watch “Sponge Bob Square Pants” while mommy just fixes one or two things on their display board. But, it’s wrong and brace yourself because when you walk into the Science Fair your son’s project board and experiment will look like, well, like an 8-year-old did it and 90 % of the other exhibits will look like a cross between a rocket scientist and the design team at Apple.

That’s a nice way of saying your son’s will stink but in a good way because he did his own work and you let him – making you both big winners.  Also, I think it says a lot about the character of the school if the winners are picked based on the work a child did not the parents. So no worries First Timer, you’ve got this! Get your Mom swagger on and be proud you’re raising a child to do his own work and think for himself.

7 thoughts on “Dear Snarky – Am I a Bad Mom for Not Doing My Kid’s School Project?

  1. g2-fd06e51253cc37324e4697d134f3b561 says:

    I totally agree don’t do your son’s work! Parents who do this are doing a great injustice to their children!

  2. Sarah says:

    Totally agree with you on this!! When I was a teacher, I remember the teacher next door turning to the student’s parent and complimenting her on the child’s project. My daughter’s teacher refuses to give projects to be done at home because “if I wanted to see what the parents could do, I would ask them.” Yeah, that covered it! By the way, are these parents going to follow their kids through life? ARe they going to write their college applications and essays and do their projects for work? When does it end??

  3. Jodi Blackwood says:

    Absolutely! The third graders in our school build Indian Longhouses each year, or, as the teachers say, the parents build them. They are all displayed in the media center and it is amazing to see the architectural wonders created by “the kids” (3 stories, with balcony, canoe, fire pit, and accompanying wildlife). There are the few, clumsily made, with half of the structure falling off, or lopsided, but those are the most fun, because they were clearly made by the kids. It’s okay to help think of the idea and suggest materials, but leave the creativity to your child!

  4. Jany Warnica says:

    I actually had a mother get mad and tattle to the Supt. because I wouldnt let her take her son’s “in-class project” home so she could have time to work on it!

  5. Sheila Beam says:

    I realized when my kids were very young, that parents were COMPETITIVE with their children. Einsteins at the age of 4. I thought then and now, how ridiculous, if you want to be competitive, do it with your own skills, not your child’s developing skills. What that tells your child even if they WIN, is they’re not capable and a liar because THEY know they were not involved in the project.

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