That constant monitoring was being done by me... the person who swore pre-children that she would not be one of “those” parents. I was always ready and waiting to swoop in to assist, on alert for trouble and ready with an encouraging word. I wanted to protect him from every obstacle or uncomfortable moment, so he would grow up to be confident and successful.
He started middle school this year, and it didn’t take him long to socially adjust. He quickly made friends, got used to a new routine and experienced his first crush. It was when he came home from school day after day saying, “Wow, Mom... we’ve got a lot of homework tonight,” that I realized it was time to land the plane.
So even though I have many... many... days where I’d like to climb back up into my command tower, I know he is growing more self-reliant every day. He knows the expectations we have for him and the consequences for failing to follow through. This was presented to him on a neatly typed piece of paper when I granted him his autonomy.
If I open up the online school grade book and see a missed or late assignment, he knows exactly what privileges he is losing. He also knows what he needs to do to get them back. I do swoop in on occasion — not able to help myself from taking over — but hopefully, I too am learning from my failures.
It takes a lot of grit to push through and wait for him to make the right decisions, to hand in missing assignments, study for tests or plan ahead for upcoming projects. Sometimes, I bite my tongue, and other times I give a gentle nudge. I just try to keep my eye on the prize, which is an independent, well-adjusted kid with a positive self-image.
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