Parental Paranoia

My son, is going through a very important time in his life. He is very private so I won’t go into detail but it got me thinking of how I can best support him as he finds his way this next year.

Then I asked myself, what one thing would I have done differently as a mom?

Should I or should I not?

I started to beat myself up on all the ways I failed. Hindsight being so 20-20, it wasn’t hard to find an avalanche of mistakes. One instance in particular stands out in my mind as an attitude I had about parenting that was colored by MY childhood.

I was raised, in MY opinion, very sheltered. I think, looking back, that my mom watched me too closely and swooped in to keep me from making mistakes a bit too soon. In the 60s, parents were VERY concerned about what the neighbors would think. I was first-born and my parents were both strict. As a result, at least in my case, I went looking for the path that would lead me through the most crap and I would have to find my own way out of it somehow. I just felt like I was constantly grasping for some type of freedom to get out there and be apart of the world, see it with my own eyes.

As a result, when my son was small and watching me light the stove with a match, he asked me…after I had blown the match out…if it was still hot. My mother would have told me, oh no, don’t touch that! It will burn you.

So what did I say? It might be…touch it and find out.

So he did, the tip was still hot and burned his little finger and he looked at me like, I can’t believe you let me do that.

It’s such a fine line…the protecting thing. I think I over protected in some ways probably, then not enough, other times, but my intention was to give him the freedom to find out for himself. If he spent all of his allowance on one thing, he would have to work to earn enough for the other thing. As a result, he balks at the idea of asking us for help from time to time, because he calls it “mooching”. Oh well, what can you do? It’s okay to ask for help, I tell him. One day I might be asking you.

If you are a parent, what is the one thing you would have done differently?

6 thoughts on “Parental Paranoia

  1. I taught the older one to do more for himself b/c I was raising him on my own; we definitely babied the baby. As a result, the oldest was self-sufficient early on; I’ve never had any doubt that he could survive nearly anywhere. The younger one is just now being allowed to do his own laundry … shame on me. Yes it was easier for me to “just do it” but I should have let him “do” (and fail?) sooner … hard lesson learned.

    And where on earth are they standing? Gives me shivers just looking at it!! MJ

  2. At the edge of a low water crossing drain on the river. It was such a classic place for boys to stand I had to take the shot. I think my next words were, “you guys don’t stand so close to that, will ya”?

  3. Yes, parenthood brings a lot of guilt to the responsible adult. In the end, those who are good and have done their best should not beat themselves up. And, no one is perfect anyway. I have a quote here I would like to add, if you do not mind:

    “Another important consideration that must always be borne in mind is that we, as parents [and teachers], can only try to stimulate our child toward a change in behavior. We cannot always suspect to succeed even though we do the right thing. Each child makes up his own mind about what he will do. Influences outside the home [and school], especially those of his peers, impress him very much. Should our efforts to guide him into another direction seem futile, we must remember that he is an individual and makes his own choices and decisions. We cannot take responsibility for this; it belongs to the child. This, also, is part of the meaning of equality.” – Rudolf Dreikurs

    1. Thanks Stephen. As time goes on, I relax more and more in my past and present choices. I just appreciate being allowed to watch at this point! Thanks for your addition.

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