It’s not all about us

Once upon a time in a world not that long ago, people who chose to have children understood that the end goal was to raise the kids to be productive members of society. It was understood that well, the babies don’t stay babies and that while it’s bittersweet to think of our precious babes as grown ups… fact is it happens. Then my generation (that would be Gen X’ers) started having babies and well, many of us were unhappy with our upbringing and we swore we would do better than our parents. Damn our parents for working, divorcing or whatever crimes against us they committed. We would become Super-Parents! All the things we never got, by Golly Miss Molly our precious babes would get…and before you get snippy please know I am guilty of this. My folks had very little in terms of financial resources and I have struggled with being overly generous and never saying no to either of my kids as far as things and possessing things. It took getting a child who I swear was born with a materialistic streak to realize this never saying no is not a great idea.

In modern day parenting being a super parent often means always being with our child and never allowing them to quite grow up. I remember at 18, I was definitely an adult, shit I was married and with child. Now I definitely don’t think most 18 year olds should follow that path and I am quite thankful that elder child now known as college boy did not choose my path, on the other hand I think 18 year olds are most certainly capable of being the young adults that developmentally and legally most of them are.

The problem is super parenting creates a screen where we never quite see our kids in the correct developmental stage and well you have issues like this. For those not interested in clicking, the piece talks about how more and more colleges have to create diversions and tricks to get parents off the college campus when parents come to take their offspring to college. Many of us are so used to guiding the process for our kids that we are having a hard time letting go despite the fact its healthy for both parent and kids to let go.

However the way I see it this problem now starts early, in our eagerness to enjoy our kid’s youth many of us no longer feel the need to start the slow dance of growing up at the early stages. Home schooling which I have no beef with has surged in this country, and while there are plenty of places in the US where the schools are shitty, homeschooling is most certainly a better alternative to sending your kids to the shitty local schools. (There are also kids and situations too numerous for me to delve into where again homeschooling is a great choice) But in some cases people choose the homeschooling path because they simply cannot bear to be away from their progeny the 6-7 hours a day that kids spend in school. Hey, if that works for you and yours who am I to complain? But just remember generally speaking a day will come when the birdies will want to stretch their wings beyond your nest and you need to be prepared for that.

On the flip-side we have folks who send their kids to school yet cannot abide by the rules in matters such as dropping kids off and not walking the kids to the classroom. This is a big hot button issue for many, the kidlet starts kindergarten in two weeks and I have already be warned by my Mama friends who have kids at her school that even for the little’s, the expectation is that we the parents will drop them off with their teacher and classroom outside and the class enters the building together. I admit last year when I heard this I was emotional and weepy about it, now at 5 though and knowing that my girl is ready, this policy makes sense.

Maybe its because I did a brief stint as a teacher of kids before I taught adults some years ago but let me tell you, if 15-20 sets of parents bum rushed the classroom in the morning with their kiddos, let’s be honest…chaos! It’s already hard enough for a teacher to get the kids acclimated and adjusted to the classroom without a Mama Bear hanging in the wings. I know when the kidlet was in preschool, whenever I attempted to take her and stay a few minutes afterward, it was always a bad idea. My presence did not calm her instead she looked to me and often figured since I was present that listening to the teacher and following the instructions was optional since obviously Mama’s presence overrode the teacher. After a few weeks of sensing the teacher mentally sending me the “Mama Bear be gone” vibes, I kept my presence to a minimum and kidlet not only loved preschool but thrived and made deep connections to her classmates and teachers.

I wonder if because I was so young when my firstborn entered school that  many of the issues that are stressing my parental peers out make no damn sense to me. (I was weepy when the boy started school but it also seemed amazing that we had hit a milestone) Hell, in many ways going to school is a milestone, yes its an emotional thing but to actually say well fuck we are not going to follow the rules, well that is wrong. See I moderate a parenting discussion board and many Mamas have stated that rules be damned but they will be walking their kids in the classroom and staying to make sure little Dakota & Tiger are okay in the classroom.

Alrighty now…but let me ask you as parents we model the behaviors that eventually our kids will come to see as acceptable and maybe I am confused but blatant disrespect for the rules in an institution you have agreed to be a part of seems wrong. Yeah, if a rule is unjust definitely fight it, but even in choosing to fight unjust rules there is a way to go about it and do it in a manner that is still respectful.

Our kids are watching us and yet when they grow up and seem too focused on self if what they have observed us doing is thwarting rules and focusing on our needs well how can we be mad? Guess what? It’s not all about us…we live in a world with many and need to be mindful of others.

5 thoughts on “It’s not all about us”

  1. You know, often when I say I’m homeschooling my boys, folks respond by saying, “Why are you afraid of letting your child leave you for a day?” It seems like a popular sentiment these days: that homeschoolers homeschool so that their kids don’t leave their sight.

    I would personally like a situation where 2 or 3 days out of the week, I could drop my children off at a school. The other days would be spent at home. I do think kids spend too much time at school but I thought that before I had kids, while I was in grad school for teaching. A lot of that time is time spent doing nothing . . . it’s just the logistics of handling 20+ children at a time. But since I’m now re-thinking my decision to homeschool, I don’t feel the least bit anxious about sending my 5 year old to school 5 days a week. What makes me anxious is the school itself (the school I’m zoned too is just not one I’d send him too). Being with him all the time is really intense for me and it’s not like I have a whole lot of homeschooling buddies around me to relieve the pressure. I’m sure that if I did, I’d wouldn’t be so ready to send him off to school. Maybe I have control issues but I’d much rather oversee his education myself than relinquish that control to the schools. I might have to for sanity sake though.

    And I think it is kind of traumatic going from spending a lot of time with parents to spending more time away from parents. But as children get older, they can handle being away from parents better. I know that like you Shay, something happened when he turned 5 and I realized he’d be just fine at school all day. I know that by the time I got to college, I certainly couldn’t wait to get away from my parents and I’m pretty sure they needed a break from me too.

  2. Woah! I remember being a shy/potentially clingy 5-year-old. Come September that first, fateful year my Momma (who was a nurturer, potential Mom who’d walk to the classroom, but thankfully enjoys her free time!) sent me packing on the school bus with a little bus-shaped tag around my neck that I wore for the whole day.

    Scary, but liberating, I remember it well.

    I’m a fan of homeschooling but will one day be ushering my kids in to public school. After all, I’m already paying for it…and have been for about 11 years of being a worker in Maine!

  3. Since my daughter is a teacher in elementary school & has told me the horror stories about parents who disobey the ‘rules’ I have to agree with you. Not only are you setting an example for your child by doing what is asked of you, but you are not setting them up to fail. Many children whose parents ‘hang around’ to make sure little Johnny or Mary is ok, are actually enabling them. That child has a much harder time adjusting to their new surroundings. My daughter had 1 child who was SO clingy thru the year that her grades suffered; she interacted less w/ her peers. Its sad. Set your little bird free, Mama. Its time for her to fly.

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