It is so easy to criticize others. After all if we criticize others, then we can spend less time beating our own selves up. When it comes to parenting, we all have our opinions, ideas, etc. However, parenting ultimately can be very humbling and while we may think we know what we are doing, it seems to me that we are ultimately learning as we go along more than anything else.
This past weekend my family and I spent some time in a park nearby. My 8 year old (BR) wanted to go as some kids mentioned they were going to be playing baseball. I was not anxious to go. He has gotten better at the sport. However, these other kids are already veteran little leaguers and take the sport much more seriously. Was it that big a deal if they were better? Was that the right thing to do? Aren’t I supposed to protect him?
My wife and I tend to be overprotective. Or so it seems compared to other people I see and how they are with their children. We keep them within our sight or check on them regularly at all times and places. My 5 year old turns the corner of our street on his big wheel, and I can’t see him for a moment, so my mind races. Anyway, I would venture to say that both of us are cautious people and this caution extends to our parenting. Is that terrible? After all, it seems that you hear about harm coming to children on the news on a regular basis.
You know that Kelly Clarkson song (yes, I am quoting a Kelly Clarkson song. I am comfortable with that – sort of. “Those aren’t pillows. How about those Bears?”… Plains Trains and Automobiles.) “Because of You”? In the song, the protagonist talks about how she is afraid of straying to far from the sidewalk – which I interpret as taking chances. The song seems to indicate that her parents caused her to behave this way and filled her with fear.
So, maybe my wife and I should be more free with the children. I want them to be able to make decisions on their own and feel like they have done their best even when things don’t work out as they wish. I remember I had this line I used to use: I want my children to feel confident enough in themselves that they can ask for help when it is needed.
A few months back I wrote about an occasion when I sent my 8 year old on an errand. He got lost for a bit, and it scared the hell out of me. Naturally, this experience has made me more cautious with him. He is not ready for such independence. I just don’t want to miss the boat and hold him back. I know I have to let my children fall and give them space. This is the only way they will really grow. However, letting go seems harder than holding on.
As parents, I know we are sending our kids to the psychologist’s sofa (‘tell me about your mother’). However, my concern is to not screw them up too badly and for them recognize that they are loved.