Times are very different from when I grew up. As a kid, I had to learn to accept my circumstances and deal with life. If I made a mistake, I had to face the consequences. My parents weren’t on top of my school work, they didn’t get in the middle of solving my problems with friends and frankly if I didn’t like a teacher they certainly weren’t making phone calls to try to make sure I didn’t have that teacher anymore. Nothing was handed to me on a silver platter and I’m so thankful for that. I learned the principle of hard work and I also learned that life isn’t always fair but we have to learn to deal with it instead of throwing a fit. My parents did a good job with that.
Today many of us, including myself, fall into the ideals of wanting to make everything perfect for our children. It starts at a very young age. When they’re babies, we do everything we can to make sure they’re safe and happy. If that means holding them all the time or having them sleep in bed with us, we often do them. Those are things I know I did. We continue to coddle them as we send them off to school. How many parents out there do everything possible to make sure your child gets a specific teacher because you feel it is best for them? I know I’ve done it. I could go on and on but I think you understand what I’m saying.
At what point do we stop getting involved and let our kids learn how to deal with life instead of fixing all their problems for them? How are we to help our children cope with difficult life situations? The hardest part of parenting has been finding answers to these two questions. Every child is different so you have to evaluate each individual uniquely. I know with my oldest I did everything I could to make things as stress- free as I possibly could, but at what cost? I caused myself so much stress and anxiety because I wanted to control everything. By the way, why do we have this need to control everything?! As life has trickled down all the way down to my youngest who is in seventh grade, I have let go of a lot of things. I can’t control which teacher he gets and you know what, I don’t want to do that anymore. Life is not going to be rainbows and butterflies all the time. Sorry to burst your bubble. If they don’t like their teacher they need to find a way to figure it out. Those are life skills that are essential for their growth. When kids are learning to walk, they will fall down and then they have to figure out how to get back up.
There is a term called “helicopter-parents” which are parents who pay extremely close attention to their child’s or children’s experiences and problems, particularly at educational institutions. Helicopter parents are named so because, like helicopters, they “hover overhead”, overseeing every aspect of their child’s life constantly.
If I’m too worried about my kids either making mistakes or just trying to fix everything, I am not doing any service to them. Some of my kids are stubborn and don’t want to listen to my advice. I have learned that they need to fall on their face (not literally) and figure out how to pick themselves up and get back on track. Unfortunately, children have to learn the hard way sometimes. As a parent, my job is to guide them, teach them right from wrong, and most importantly, just let them know that I love them unconditionally. I may not always agree with or like their choices but I still need to love them no matter what.