One day a 21-year-old student come late to our 9am class. His mother, two time
zones away, hadn't called to wake him up. He announced this oversight of
his lazy mother to the entire class as an excuse to interrupting.The
derision with which he was met by his fellow college students ("Dude--use
the alarm on your phone! Sheesh, how old are you?!") was enough to embarrass
him into growing up.If only the mother of the 19-year-old student
who called me EVERY DAY for updates could have heard that classroom exchange. I
was ever so grateful for the FERPA laws that didn't allow me to share with
Mommy every detail of her son's grades. Little wonder why he
moved so far away from her.
My children accuse me of helicopter parenting. I have to hang my head and agree
with them. However, after reading your list (ATTEND THE JOB INTERVIEW?), I now
feel much better about myself. They could have had it a lot worse.
If your children can't make decisions on their own by the time they are
eighteen, then you have failed as a parent in that area. Kids will naturally
acclimate towards independence and, as hard as it can be, we (parents) have to
start stepping back and allow our children to learn the outcomes of decisions,
consequences, etc. It is our children's best interest to let them take on
the responsibility for their lives.
Today many young people who have long since graduated from college are still
living at home with mom and dad, blaming the economy. Certainly there are times
when our adult children need some assistance, but it is a balancing act. When I taught my grade school children to make their own sandwiches for
their school lunches and at age 12 to do their own laundry, I was criticized and
felt some pressure knowing that other parents were doing this for their
children. I tried to balance it. For example, if they truly had
forgotten something at school and it was not a habit, I would certainly help
out. But if missing the school bus had become a pattern, I did tell one middle
school child that with one more incident of lateness a three mile walk to school
would be the alternative. It happened. I don't know who it was harder on
- me or the child! That child is now a successful Wall Street
financier.Criticism aside, I believed I was doing the right thing,
and this article has confirmed it. Everyone makes mistakes. In that case,
saying you're sorry can go a long way.