Wednesday, 20 January 2016

Parenting a High Schooler (is that even a real word)

    When you bake (at least when I bake) I follow the instructions.  I carefully put in what the recipe says to and I bake it for as long as the recipe says to.  In the 30 - 60 minutes ( I always set my timer)
whatever the recipe says to cook it for, I take it out of the oven and when it's cool enough I get to try the fruits of my labour.  It might have turned out amazing, or it might be a  fail, but it's quick results.  Parenting is not like this.  No parenting is like that time that you asked your Grandma for a recipe and she told to throw in a handful of this, and if you didn't have a handful of that to substitute it for this.  When you asked for actual measurements she looked at you like you had just landed from another planet "I make it the way my mother made it, I just throw in handfuls".  That is more like parenting.  You throw in what you think is best, and pray that you are right.  Sometimes you make mistakes, and pray that you can correct the mistakes.  Unlike a recipe, you wait 20 years to see if you were successful in your endeavors.

    We as parents are now in uncharted waters.  We have a high school girl.  It is that day that she dreamed of all last year.  She would be with other kids "like" her.  She made the honor roll last year.  In grade nine she would be in a class composed of other honor roll students.  There would be no children disrupting the class with their out of control behaviors.  The teacher would be able to complete a lesson without having to put out fires in the classroom (both real and figurative ... mainly figurative).  Her dream came true, but like most dreams it is not exactly how you envisioned it.  All of the kids in her classes are smart, and the teacher teaches without interruption.  There is no mental break while the teacher has to stop a wrestling match.  Being one of the smartest kids in your class of 30 children who all have different abilities is very different from being one of 25 smart kids in a group of 25 smart kids.

    I have always been that hands on mom.  I bake treats for the special occasions.  I am the mom that the teachers know they can count on to help with class trips.  We  help the kids with their projects and inject it with my perfectionist attitude (oh the kids just love it when I tell them what they have done is not good enough).  I am not one of those mom's who does the project for them, but I am very involved.  I think of life as a learning opportunity.  We have always been right on top of due dates for assignments and projects and tests.  We want them to be their best.  This is my parenting style, this has been my parenting style for the last almost 21 years.  I'm not sure if that parenting style will work for a teen.

    At what point do you throw your child into the shark infested waters having taught them how to swim?  For us it's high school.  We have tried to help ease our big girl into high school life, but I feel like it is now time to stand back and let her sink or swim.  I say this and yet I am wracked with indecision.  How can I have been such a push parent and then all of a sudden stand back and watch her possibly fail?  This is one of the hardest things as a parent I have had to do.  I do it knowing that it is for her own good.  She needs to make mistakes and learn how to get out of them.  I say this but I don't like to see my kids get hurt.  It's time to take Tiny Tim's crutch away and hope he (or in this case she) can walk.

    So here we are in uncharted territory.  We/ I have to trust that Grace has listened to what we have said.  I have to trust her to find her own way, and that way may not be the route that I would have chosen.  Oh this is difficult, but I know that we have to loosen the reins.  We have to allow her the opportunity to fail, and then how to pick herself back up.  I have thrown in the handfuls of things that I think will make this recipe great, and now is the time where I let it bake.  Unlike a recipe from Grandma there is no passive allowing the recipe to sit, this recipe has to make active decisions on the way she would like to turn out.  I'm not sure I am ready for this part of parenting......

No comments:

Post a Comment