Do you remember how it was, when you were young? When you were a kid, without a care in the World? Do you remember your parents and how they were involved in your everyday life, play-time, school?
I started thinking about my childhood and the role of my parents more intense, when my two kids became age 7 and 8. Why? Because I started to feel like I am not giving them enough “freedom”, enough credit, that they can do something on their own.. That I started “over-parenting” as the modern expression is often used.
What does “over-parenting” even mean? Can it be true that we as parents are too involved in our child’s life? Is our parenting to centered on them? The way I see it, is that we try so hard to be with our kids all the time, from crafting to playgrounds, from childcare to school and after-school activities. We want to provide them with everything, make sure they are not missing on anything.
On the other hand, the way of life is so fast, the working hours often become evening hours. With that kind of working life, I often read and hear about “the guilt” of full-time working moms. They struggle with balancing work and family and I know it can be really challenging to do so. It seems that today, either you work all the time or you don’t work. The middle way is often hard to achieve, especially for moms.
It is quite contradictory, what we are doing. On one hand we want our children to grow into an independent, self-confident adults, who know the right from wrong, but yet we are always by their sides, telling them what to do or not to do and how to do it?! Not giving them a chance to make mistakes, a chance to learn something on their own, just to let them be.. Tell me, how can they learn?
So, if you have kids of the age of 7 or 8, you probably noticed that they started communicating with you on a different level. At least I noticed that. Simply saying “because I told you so” doesn’t work anymore. And it shouldn’t. They are quite a little adults at this age, they want to understand the process of making decisions, choices. They need to feel, understand and take responsibility for their actions.
I started treating my kids differently, talking to them in a different way, more compromising, taking them into count, let them make plans for our family activities. But still I make sure I don’t cross the line between being a parent and being a “friend”. With that line crossed, it can backfire and you lose respect and authority. To set the boarders is as important as giving them freedom to make decisions on their own.
Let them make mistakes, let them fall, don’t protect them from everything, give them a chance they stand up for themselves. Nothing is given in life, we all have to earn everything. Don’t build a World for them, build a life with them. Teach them to work hard, to love, to laugh, to cry, to hurt,..It’s all the learning process of life. teach them how to live.
I know I am far from perfect, but trying to be my best. I am learning as I go, realizing that every age my kids go trough, brings new challenges to overcome. Some easier, some tougher but with each we grow, we learn and we overcome it.