Well like a lot of parents at this time of the year, I took my son back to school for his sophomore year at OKWU. I had to stop and think about how different it was this year versus last year. Last year I was a mess and my husband had to drive home because I kept tearing up all the way home. This year I was just ready to get back on the road to get home. Don’t get me wrong I was sad to leave him but I realized that he and I both have grown over the last year, he has his life and we now have a life that doesn’t revolve completely around him for the first time in 19 years. I think I have to give both of us a big pat on the back for being able to move on and to grow and not stay stuck where we were. Big things are coming for him and us I just know it.
This experience though had me thinking about all of those kids heading back to elementary, middle and high school and what their parents may be going through, and what kind of advice I would/could give them (and a younger me if I could go back).
I think the biggest piece of advice that I could give anyone raising a kid these days is to let him or her experience failure. Don’t start sending me hate mail over that statement but hear me out, I’m not the only one with this conviction; numerous doctors, psychologists, therapists, teachers etc. are suggesting the same thing. In today’s society, we are seeing way to many kids that lack basic skills such as coping and reasoning skills. We aren’t saying make sure that they fail, all any of us are advocating is let them take care of some of their “messes” themselves. By allowing them to get out of the messes they get themselves into you are allowing them to develop coping mechanisms as well as reasoning skills.
I realize that as parents, we want to protect our kids and we should in certain situations but by never allowing them to solve their own problems while they are still kids we are setting them up for failure as adults. (After all it wasn’t you who forgot that the math homework was due today)! Think about it this way, they forget to do their homework, you call the teacher and make some excuse and they get another day to get it done, then you make sure that they get it done and voila, you have gotten them out of a mess. Fast forward 10 years and they are given a project by their boss and they forget, or worse they blow it off because they didn’t think he was serious, and the boss is angry and upset with them and they can’t figure out why he’s getting so bent out of shape. By their way of thinking he should be a little more understanding and give them some more time, after all they always had do-overs in high school. Worse yet, they flunk out of college their first semester because they assumed that the deadlines for papers, projects and other assignments were just suggestions. Make them be responsible for their actions and let them suffer the consequences when they mess up, they will learn a lot more by experiencing consequences than they ever will learn by you bailing them out.
With that being said, I am praying for a successful school year for all those kiddos, their parents, and their teachers that started back to school today! May they all grow and learn things that will stretch them as individuals and prepare them all for the future.