I can understand why it happens, but parents never want to see their children fail. I know I feel that way on a daily basis and there is a part of me deep down that wants to do their homework and finish their projects for them.
I want to answer the questions they don't know and make sure that every creation they make is museum worthy and absolutely perfect.
Like most other parents, I want my kids to sail through life on a speedboat of success.
But I will not do, nor have I ever done, their work for them.
I remember specifically one morning many years ago in the children's room at the library. During story hour, each child got to create a craft that went along with the theme of the day. It usually involved gluesticks and shapes. One day's theme was beavers and as all of the children started gluing on the eyes and buckteeth, I watched them glue wildly and parents readjust so that it looked more like a beaver and less like a deranged llama. What good is it to have an art project that you, a full grown adult, made, I wondered. It was at that point, staring down at my daughter's craft that looked like a rabid beast that was struck on the head with a two-by-four, that I vowed to let my children grow at their own pace. My job would be to remind them of their capabilities if they ever needed it.
My son, always the kid who works harder at figuring out how to do the least amount of work to get by than actually doing the work itself, has a story of his own. He needed to design an animal with specific biologic features and create a poster. He invented the speedy sloth, and scribbled a few misspelled words on a piece of paper and turned it in. It was absolute garbage, and he knew it. Once he turned it in and received less praise than he expected, I handed him a new piece of paper and told him to do it again, this time with my minimal yet fierce guidance. Round two of the speedy sloth turned out much better. Of the two posters, I love the first one the most because it was when he figured out what junk work looked like, and how much better he could do.
These kids of mine have gone on in life with less and less of my help. They've made some terrible art and horrendous reports, and they've gotten all the wiser for my parental "laziness," or so I hope. I have no idea. Parenting is one assignment that never gives a grade or can hang on a museum wall. We just worry and hope that we're doing the right thing, learning from our mistakes like the rabid rodents and sloppy sloths that are safely tucked away in scrapbooks in the closet.