As a mother, I make many parenting choices every day. Some are relatively minor, like what kinds of groceries to stock. Others, like when to give your kid enough rope to hang him or herself, require more thought and impose bigger risks. For me the most difficult challenge is handling the uncertainty–the not knowing whether I’ve made the right choice until it’s too late to reverse course.
This semester has been a real test. For the first time, my middle-schoolers both decided to prioritize their social lives over academics. My husband and I made the conscious decision to buck our natures (and the New England trend) and let the kids’ grades flounder. Our rationale? Middle school would be a better place for them to stumble and fall (and learn the consequences of their actions) than high school.
Well, we’ve stumbled, fallen, and are getting up a bit bruised. I’ll admit, I feel a bit depressed and torn about the parenting choices we made. IF, next year, the setbacks motivate them to work harder and strike a better balance among their various interests, it may have been worth it. However, if the defeat causes them to give up instead of motivating them to “overcome” the setbacks, then my husband and I have failed terribly.
In the great scheme of our lives, rationally I know these are relatively common and minor issues we’re dealing with compared with many parents. Still, no parent likes to watch their kid struggle. I think the reason it’s extremely difficult to stand aside and make them find their own solutions is that we can’t “see” the outcome and “know” all will be well. We can only hope, pray, encourage, and lead by example.
In the meantime, like my kids, I, too, need to dig deep and find my own resiliency so I can live to parent another day!
Whether you choose to micro-manage your teens’ lives or hand them the reigns, how do you handle a setback (drinking lots of wine is NOT an acceptable answer–LOL)?