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DID YOU EVER THINK YOU WOULD BE HOVERING?

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Parenting has evolved into a lifetime commitment. I am not suggesting that it was NEVER a lifetime commitment, but the scope of parenting seems to be less about letting go. As a parent of two kids I can tell you first hand that being a parent now is a lot more responsibility than EVER.

From the very beginning of your child’s life everyone is measuring their success. The pediatrician will let you know if your child is developing at a normal pace or not. There are books to let you know what to look for in the first few years of their lives. If you have a child who is right on course or just a little behind it is of no great concern. But if you have a child like my daughter who struggled with her speech, you now have one more thing to manage. IEP’s (Individual Education Plans) must be filled out, and evaluations are made by experts to correctly diagnose and implement the right course of action.

Couple the speech therapy with pre-school, and you have a pretty full schedule already. Add to this an activity of some sort and then you have become the manager. You have schedules to fill out for every week. You have to make sure that everyone (except you) gets a break. Little kids can only take so much. And if you have more than one child ,you are entertaining the child who waits with you. They are usually the younger sibling who has yet to be eligible for activities of their own.

Once the kids get into kindergarten, this begins a whole new level of responsibility for parents. If those little darlings do not get their homework done they may have to stay for detention. This could mean missing an after school activity that YOU (the parent) has already paid for. This is where HOVERING begins. Making sure all the homework is getting done, is only half of it.

Whether your child is involved in dance,karate, swimming, or soccer,this is yet another venue where parental responsibility has increased dramatically.It does not matter how much research or interviewing you do as a parent. Placing your implicit trust in a complete stranger for after school activities,brings out every maternal instinct within us. We fear that our children might end up on the evening news being a part of some scandal. This fear only increases our HOVERING.

I can attest to this increasing FEAR. With a half an hour ride each way to my kids after school activities. It became clear I could not multi task the hovering. I decided to take a BOLD step.I began educating my children on how they should behave. I was exhausting myself with worry and concern over what was happening during the lessons. At first I would worry about my daughter at dance. I was there for every lesson sitting in the waiting room with all the other parents. That ended when her brother was 5. I signed him up for karate.

When the karate instructor finally got him off of my knee, (this took 45 minutes) it was the first time in 8 1/2 years I had actually a moment to process a thought independently. I was prepared as well. I had bought a newspaper and was ready to read it. I found myself to be the only parent who had done this. Everyone else was following their children down the stairs to “watch”. I sat upstairs, basking in the solitude . Those 30 minutes went by all too fast for me. When my son came out he had a great time and so did I.

As time went on I spent less time watching and waiting at karate and dance lessons. After all these things were for the benefit of my children. Whether or not I was there watching, they would progress at the same rate. Without my presence, they learned some skills of their own. They learned how get along with other people. How to be part of a TEAM even when you are not in the front line.

By my own admission I am a tough parent. But I do it for my children not because of them. In the process of allowing them to pursue their own activities, I developed a few of my own. I discovered the joy of baking and started a small cookie company. While that venture did not work out the way I had hoped, it would not have been possible if I were HOVERING.

Today, my kids are 21 and 17. My daughter is now a dance choreographer where she used to take lessons and she attends community college. My son is a senior in high school in the top 12 of his class. I have never gone to a parent teacher night. My son and I both are aware of how bright he is. I do not need confirmation of that fact. When it is time for him to go to college in the fall, I will only stay as long as it takes to unload the car. He can and should handle the rest.

Instead of hovering have some FAITH in yourself and your children. You have taught them well. They will end up doing the right thing if you give them a chance! Even the most stubborn child does not WANT to fail. Trust me I have one of those! While they are decorating their college dorm, you should take yourself out for a cup of coffee or something!