Help! I’m becoming a helicopter mom!

 

I thought I was a “chill” mom, but I guess I’m not.

I’ve never really been a helicopter mom. When the kids both started pre-school, and the other moms were crying on that first day, and children were clinging to their mother’s legs, mine left me willingly. It was almost insulting…they couldn’t wait to get away from me! LOL

But I considered it a blessing. We’ve never experienced separation anxiety, except for one brief week in kindergarten for my son. I’m not sure what got into him, but it left as quickly as it arrived.

Now that they’re in their pre-teen and teen years, however, I find myself wanting to hold on to them tighter.

Maybe it’s because I know what I did as a teen and what my husband got away with, and that scares me to death. And, by the way, I was the “good kid” in my group.

My daughter is 15…she’ll be driving in a year, God willing. And there are some days that I’m surprised she remembers to put on shoes before she leaves for school. How will she be ready to operate a motor vehicle! We better do a lot of work this next year.

This weekend, she got an offer to got to her first concert with a friend in the big city. It was a dive club that they’d have to take the metro to. Her friend’s mother was going to accompany them, so I shouldn’t have been nervous, but I was. My husband wasn’t. He was all-encouraging and pointed out that we were driving ourselves to concerts in horrible parts of Hollywood unaccompanied, when we were 16. But I was the third and last child in the birth order at my house and figured that my parents had given up being strict by the time I rolled around. Besides, I was the “good” kid, remember?

My kids are “good” kids too. Really good. But the world has gotten a lot scarier than when we were teens…or at least it appears that way. Maybe my eyes are just more opened to what’s out there compared to what my parents knew what was going on. Thanks information age. #notemysarcasm

So, what’s happening to me? Why am I feeling the need to hold on tighter when I should be loosening my grip? I know it’s wrong and I’m not doing them any favors. They need to explore and make mistakes. It’s just that the older they get, the bigger the mistakes get, and there’s no way to make them understand that.

The concert thing worked itself out. Turns out the club they wanted to go to has an 18 and over age limit. At least I escaped this time. But more times will come, and I’m just going to have to trust that I’ve prepared them, and learn to clip my helicopter wings a little…but not completely. And maybe watching the news a little less would help too.

How about you? Do you find yourself letting go or holding on tighter as your kids get older?

Letter to my teenage children

 

It’s a precarious tightrope that parents walk: wanting to keep you safe and needing to let you go.

I need to give you enough rope to wander away, but not lose sight of home, yet still enough to pull yourself back home without getting tangled up in the process.

I want to guide you and help you with the circumstances that cross your paths, but I want you to use the tools we’ve given you to try to solve your own problems.

I want to give you freedom to experience things in your young life that will help form your opinions, your relationships and your joy. I want them to be your opinions and not mine, even if they are different from mine.

I can’t be there all the time. The world is a big place. It’s a place of wonder, a place of amazing sights and sounds, and, unfortunately, a place of danger too.

So how do I protect you without smothering you? How do I wait patiently by while you may not make the choices I would choose for you? How do I let you go and hope that you remember everything we’ve taught you? How do I know that you will come home when you get in over your head? How do I know you’ll seek wise counsel, even if it isn’t mine? I have to have faith.

I know you’ll try things you shouldn’t because, like you, I was young and curious once too. I know you’ll make mistakes, because I have, and still do. I pray those mistake can be reversed.

I hope that you find love, but not at the expense of your self. I hope you find success, but not at the expense of love.

So here’s where I have to trust. Here’s where I have to let you make your own decisions, and hope that I’ve equipped you well.

Here’s where I begin to set you free into the world, and hope you remember that you can always come back home.

The door will ALWAYS be open, the table will ALWAYS be set, and I will ALWAYS have the time.

Love,

Mom

I’m not a yeller…but maybe I should be

 

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I’m not a “yeller,” but I’m starting to think I should try it. (not really)

I wasn’t raised in a yelling household, and we haven’t raised our kids in a yelling household either. Instead, we opt for “strongly suggesting” or “fiercely encouraging.”

How exactly does that sound? Instead of barking orders at the kids, I tend to say things like “You need to clean up your room now,” or “would you please take out the trash.” Things like that. And it usually worked…until recently.

Now that my kids are tween and teen, I’m competing with forces much stronger than the “Mom Look.” I’m competing with technology sucking their brains. I’m competing with “friend influences” that don’t make the best choices. I’m competing with emotions and boundary pushing like I’ve never experienced before.

It’s not that I want to be my kids “friend.” I know I’m their parent, but I need THEM to know I’m their parent, and as such, I deserve more respect than I seem to be getting. Now before you say “You have to give respect before you get it,” I do. As I said…I’m NOT the yelling mom. And that expression goes both ways.

I don’t want to raise my voice. I think it’s ineffective and not in my character. If I HAVE to raise my voice, you should know you’re in trouble. And if I have to see one more of those blank teenage stares, I think I may go mad. And don’t get me started about how many times I have to repeat myself. I should only have to say it ONCE. Shouldn’t I?

You should at least have enough respect for me to TRY to kiss my you-know-what until you’re out of trouble. Make an effort. Show me you’ve understood what you did wrong. Show me you’ll at least TRY not to do it again.

Don’t make me yell. I don’t want to, I don’t like to, and I think there are better ways to communicate.

Can anyone relate?