A few weeks ago the top news story in the Northeast was about a teenage girl who was suing her parents for money. From all accounts, it looks like she is just a spoiled little brat who was devising a plan to get all that she wanted (including keeping a degenerate boyfriend and staying out as late as 3am if she so chose to) while her parents pay for her education.
I believe the judge denied the teenager’s request and the girl went back home. It ended well for all of us parents. Could you imagine if she had won? I shudder at the thought. I was going to write this big post about how I felt about the situation. And then this morning I had a conversation with a friend about kids today and how spoiled they are and how badly we hover. Which could possibly be partly what happened to this child.
We live in the age of The Helicopter Parent. We all do it. Ok, excuse me. Most of us do it. There is the exception. I have a friend who is the parent of 4 kids and she’s got these kids doing what they need to do, when they need to do it without a complaint from them. I am in awe of her. Still, at the end of the day, there is some overprotecting going on. What, with all the crap we hear in the media about kids going missing, etc. how can you blame us?
But there is a price to be paid. My generation figured it out. My parents didn’t do it for me. We had street smarts. Hell, when I was 11 years old I had to walk to and from school where we lived in Yonkers. Alone. I lived in 7 different places in 12 years. I had to suck it up. I would become close with other kids, then BOOM. The Army moved us again. Too bad. I had to pick myself up, brush it off and move along. There was no time to mope and cry. Besides I wasn’t allowed to. Seems rough, right? No. It’s called life. And quite honestly, I’m grateful to my parents for the way I was raised.
So if I was raised that way, as I’m sure most of us were, why is there so much coddling? “Oh, let me clean your room because you have too much homework. Oh, why don’t you take the day off of school, you need a breather. Oh, no, you can’t walk down the street to Diane’s house, you might get stolen.” Everything from doing their homework to calling Abercrombie to see if there is a size 1 in the faded skinny jean they just “have to have.”
I do it all the time. Actually, I don’t do the homework. I don’t believe in that. Besides, my kid would fail. Anyway, guess what? We aren’t helping our children. Not at all. We make it too easy for them.
The Kid and I toured a college last week. A college that is at the top of her list. When we got there, I was expecting a show of extreme excitement from her. Because she is, by nature, an easily excitable person. She will deny this for the rest of her life, but I could tell by the look on her face that she was completely freaked out.
I’m hearing a lot of stories of kids dropping out of college lately. Kids just not able to take the pressure. They don’t know how to take care of themselves. They can’t keep up with the work. They miss mommy. It’s scary. What do I do to prevent this from happening to my kid?
Suddenly, we are on the final stretch of our parenting journey. And it dawned on me that we have about 2 years to get her ready. Because as much as I will miss her and will probably cry my eyes out for a good week after she leaves, I do not want her coming back home. Not under those circumstances.
Oh God, I have to go. This helicopter just ran out of gas and is plummeting to the earth. Which is good, but I have some repairing to do. It’s going to be a long 2 years. Wish me luck.