Thursday, September 15, 2011

I can do hard things...

This summer I became a recovering "helicopter parent". You know the kind....overprotective, doing things for their kids that they can do for themselves, jumping in at the first sign of hardship or pain. Yep that was me pretty much. I was contributing to the "woosification of society"

My oldest son turned 12 in May. He went to Scout Camp for a week...without me! He survived...but more than that he THRIVED! He did really hard things that he didn't think he could do. He swam to the bottom of the pool and recovered at 10 lb brick to earn his lifesaving merit badge. He earned 4 other very difficult merit badges as well. He grew up on that scout camp and his confidence SOARED!

Later that summer my husband decided he wanted to climb Mt. Olympus to honor two of his brothers. He invited my oldest to go with him...purposely withholding how difficult this hike was. My husband said it was the hardest hike he has ever been on (and that is saying something for him), my son said if he had known how hard it was beforehand he would not have gone. But you should see him light up when people congratulate him on doing it. It was quite possibly the hardest thing my son has done in his life...and he did it! I can't even tell you how proud I am of him!

This has changed me. I wasn't purposely trying to do things for my kids or trying to be a smothering, helicopter Mommy. It was just me trying to be loving and nurturing to my kiddos. But I took a good hard look at myself and my kids need to learn to overcome obstacles and how to do things themselves. I read a blog recently (can't remember where so I can't give credit) where when the child is having a hard time or needs help the Mom says, "You are a capable and smart person, what do you think you can to do accomplish that?" I love the positive nature of that comment and the confidence it instills.

I refuse to be the parent that my child needs me to swoop in and be in a job interview when they are 16 or fills out their college application. I think I can give them roots without strangling the roots with weeds of dependence on me. I am working on it, but my kids are doing more to help around the house, doing more for themselves and taking on more responsibility.

Old habits die hard, so I still find myself doing things for my kids that they can do for themselves (and sometimes that's okay...that's part of being a Mom). But kids gain confidence when they can do things for themselves and when they accomplish hard things, so I will continue to make my transformation and hopefully raise 5 confident, capable children!


Wendi said...

I've been working on this as well. I'm thankful that my kids are gradually becoming more independent and confident. Most things are hard for me these days, but I try to force myself to face things that are hard for me regularly. I hope that my kids will see that and know that they can do hard things too.

Sarah said...

When I think of Jackson going to scout camp, I break out into a sweat. I have already told Eric he has to go with him.

This past year I was reading a friends blog who said she wants her kids to grow up knowing they can do hard things, and can push themselves, especially in physically demanding situations. It taught me a lesson. I have started to push my kids harder, especially when hiking.

Cheryl said...

Dave went up to scout camp for the last 3 days, he wanted to give him a chance to be on his own for a couple of days before he arrived. They grow up SO much between 10 and 12 and they are ready to go. (not that I wasn't nervous, but he did so great!) I agree with pushing your kids a bit, that is why we have started hiking more and doing more active things as a family!