As I sit writing to you this morning, there are two cars parked up at the corner. These two cars are there every morning, rain or shine. They have been arriving there since the first day of school, over three weeks ago. Inside sit some kids who are waiting for the school bus to pick them up and take them to elementary school.
I guess I can understand a parents worry on the first few days of school but now that the kids are used to their new routine and the bus experience, I fear that these parents are doing a disservice to their kids. Kids need to learn to how to become independent.
Perhaps I am one of the lucky ones, who had kids who survived being tossed out the door into the big bad world. Many peers of mine have told me outright that their kids have issues that did not permit them to parent the way I did. I dropped my kids off at high school, grade 7 and I never went in to interfere with their learning. By interfere, I mean I did not run in to solve every single problem that came up. I did not do their homework for them. I left the teacher to do their job and I admired what the kids produced. The only time I would go in was if a teacher specifically requested a meeting. Actually that is not true, I did speak to a principal once when I was concerned about a teacher, “chatting socially” with my child on Facebook at 8pm on a Wednesday night, when it had nothing to do with school work. In that case, I stated my concerns and I left the administration to deal with the matter. I monitored from a distance.
The school environment is the perfect place for kids to test their wings on all sorts of things and if they get into trouble, there are caring teachers and administrators there to help them out. If we overprotect them at this time, then they have to learn the lessons the hard way while at their job. My daughter, now 20, is the manager of the waiting staff at her place of work. She has told me how hard it is to find good workers her age. She says that most of them whine about their job, simply have no sense of commitment and to top it all off, get into ridiculous arguments with co-workers. One of the workers actually came in with their mother, to defend her daughter over a work place dispute!
In her book, “How to Raise an Adult,” Julie Lythcott-Haims speaks about how parents are showing up with their kids to university! I heard her being interviewed on CJAD one afternoon and it was so refreshing to hear someone reflect my ideas on parenting as there are not many around me who share my view.
If your kids are young, I suggest you pick up this book and plan for the future. Do you really want your kids with you forever? Yes, we love them and want them to always be in our lives but my hope is that you want to have a life of your own as well.
I hope that eventually these parents who are sitting outside my window, in their cars with their kids, actually let go of their little ones. We live in the least threatening place, surrounded by trees and nature. No traffic and no danger. The worst thing that could happen to them would be they would get dirty, climbing down into the ditch to pick the raspberries on the branches.
Have a great day.