I feel the above is worth sharing.
Hearing it from a former Dean of Freshmen of one of the top colleges should benefit parents on both sides of the spectrum; that is, those who over-pamper their kids on one spectrum and those who are too strict with their kids on the other end. I’ve been on both sides of the spectrum until one day I chose to intentionally “let go.” Oh how I wished I released (or dropped) the hammer sooner and just allowed us all to live.
When my daughters were in middle and high schools, they thought they had Cinderella’s step mother as a mom. But, on starting college, they couldn’t stop raving and thanking me for the chores I made them do though they didn’t like it at the time. I might have mentioned this before in one of my blogs. One of my daughters had a roommate in freshman who didn’t know how to lay her bed, another didn’t know how to wash dishes or clean up after herself. She was willing to pay her roomies to do it for her. She also didn’t know how to call to make a doctor’s appointment. My daughter was happy to show her. “Where did you learn it from?” she asked my daughter. Our Mom taught us. Her mom, on the other hand, did everything for her.
I’m not bashing my daughter’s roommate, but merely collaborating the essence of the TED video.
I never allowed my daughters to take the bus or train alone until they were in high school. I went with them on the first rides and allow them afterwards on their own with instructions and advices. They had friends who had been riding buses and trains alone since middle school. It’s all a matter of parents’ comfort level and styles.
What’s your parenting style?
Parenting styles are different. And like the proverbial “one man’s meat is another’s poison,” parenting styles can and do often clash. Within households, fathers can be too overbearing, while mothers because of their nurtured wirings, might be ones with the soft touch balancing dad’s acts. It could also be the reverse where mom is the stricter of the parents. This is not uncommon in households with all, or more, girls/daughters. Because Dads often are softer with their daughters, moms step in and up to ensure the necessary discipline.
Notwithstanding the differences in styles, it is essential that our kids be balanced in life. How we ensure the balance depends on a variety of factors. Each household is unique and the balancing act also will be equally as unique. As the TED video shows, the balance is more profound towards academics than other areas. We would rather wash their dirty dishes and clothes, while our kids “study” or do their homeworks. We are more focused on their grades than their welfare.
As an example, my daughter, while a freshman on her high school’s varsity basketball team, which was a rarity at the time (first in the school’s history) allowed her grades to suffer because I gave her “some freedom” and didn’t micromanage her in order to keep up being a best on the team. When asked why, she told me “I thought freshman’s grades don’t count. I’ll make it up through my sophomore to senior years.” I felt like “strangling” her. Instead, I sat her down and explained to her that without the grade, she can’t continue to be on the varsity team which would be double-jeopardy. She ended up taking college classes to make up her grades. She loved the idea of being a high-school in college and took classes till her first semester of senior. She graduated high school with excess credits as a result because I disallowed her taking the rest of her senior semesters off.
I don’t think that I could have lived with myself having her flunk any class. Could I have slacked more and allowed her to make it up in the subsequent years? Maybe. But what if by her Junior year, her grades are still not where she had hoped they would be? Then what? We would have had no time for any recourse. An alternative would have been for her to give up basketball, but that would have been taking away something she was good at and worked hard for.
Again, it’s a parenting preference.
The key point of the post is to know where and what to forgo in order to help our kids be alive and have a successful balanced life.