let them go

Okay, all you parents who are easily offended, line up.  You are about to get schooled.

There seems to be two types of parents these days.  We’ve got the morons who pay absolutely no attention to their kids, figure their responsibility to their spawn ended the day they plopped them out.

I’m not talking to you.  Your kind has always been around, and should be euthanized immediately.

No, the kind I want to talk to have some hope of being salvaged, because most (certainly not all) have their children’s best interest at heart.  So open your ears, suckers–message coming in:

LET.  GO.

Holy Mother of Perpetual Motion, how do you think your kids are going to mature into independent adults if you don’t let them experience life on their own?  If you structure their days, make their decisions, keep them safe every moment and never let them take a risk, how do you expect them to grow up?

This year, I have:

Met a 16yr old boy who didn’t know how to pump gas.

Encountered innumerable 16yr old boys whose curfews were 11pm or even 10pm.  On a weekend?

Been inspected by scores of parents, who don’t trust their children’s judgment on whether our family maintains a safe environment.

?

Honest to Stinky Pete, when do you think your kid will learn to rely on himself?  College?  Because let me tell ya Stella, by then, it’s too late.

If you want your kid to make good choices when he/she goes to college, be a good judge of character, have street smarts, know how to think on his/her feet, be able to take care of him/herself–then your kid has to start doing it a lot sooner than the week before they leave for Wotsommata U.

We live in an area where the kids can walk to an ice cream store, dime store, toy store–and that’s just what we let our kids start doing with a friend at the age of 10.

When they were 12, they could go to a different movie in the cineplex than the parents went to.

14, we dropped them off and picked them up from the cineplex.

15, they could stay out at supervised friend’s homes until 11:30.  I trusted THEM to tell me if the parent was present, and if there was any nefarious activity going on.  That doesn’t mean I wasn’t talking to them, watching them, inspecting the house from the car when I picked them up.  PARENTS, JUST BECAUSE YOU DON’T HEAR FROM ME, DOESN’T MEAN I’M NOT PAYING ATTENTION. I know what a drunk kid looks like, or a high one.  Come on.  I grew up in the ’70s.

16, they were driving.  Boy, did their world open up.  Bottled Lightning drove a carload of friends to Fort Scott for a ghost tour at Halloween.  And she drove them to Omaha for a day trip to the zoo.  Yes, I let her do this.  The friends’ parents let them go.  And today, they are all brilliant, self-sufficient college students, world travelers. Freckles McYoungest has laid out her proposals for road trips to me.  When they have come to fruition, I will let you know.

Heck, the first summer after his freshman year of college, Boywonder cranked up his 30yr old Honda Civic and tooted off to Gettysburg for the big Battle re-enactment.  His Missouri unit backed out at the last minute so he drove, literally 1,000 miles, without knowing a soul.  He met up with some North Carolinians and had a great time.  BECAUSE MY KIDS KNOW HOW TO MAKE THEIR WAY ON THEIR OWN.

So Helicopter Parents? Please. I’m beggin’ you.

Power down.

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About Lisha Cauthen

Lisha Cauthen writes YA novels for guys that girls like to read too.

Posted on February 23, 2010, in end of western civilisation as we know it and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. Terrific post. I wish I could say I was a Great Mom like you. I was the mom that let my elementary schoolers walk to the bus stop alone…while I watched from the bushes (hey! they couldn’t see me, so they were doing it solo, right?). Oh, sure, they were driving four freeways to school by 16 — but I was always, always around…volunteering on site, peeking around corners, reading the cell phone bill…hover on silent like a Stealth Bomber.

    I didn’t always know the parents but I knew the kids. And some of them had reason to be afraid (of me).

    Somehow my three beauties ended up okay — all on their own now, working, schooling, making babies…living. I’m inordinately, consummately, flagrantly, mawkishly proud of them.

    I think (loving parents) do the best we can, in the best way we know how. Then as empty nesters we beat ourselves up for the stupid stuff and multitude of “if onlies.” There are things I might’ve done differently — if only I’d known YOU then!

  2. Cindi–

    I agree that if they don’t know they’re being watched, they ARE doing it on their own!

    And I did all the Scout stuff, room mother stuff, etc., in grade school. But when they started having junior high dances and high school mission trips, I bowed out of the chaperon role. It was time for them to have some privacy from their prying mother.

    You ought to be proud of them beauties you raised.

    And Marci,

    I’m proud I inspired you to prayer. *bruhumph*. Any mother who is raising a boy who is keeping his artistic inclinations intact is doing things just right.

  3. I’m trying to ground my helicopter and use in emergencies. Not always successful, but pushing them to think! If they can accomplish that, then I know they stand a fighting chance. Enrolling them in survival skill-type classes (swimming & karate) help me feel better about their abilities. Note to self: unclench fists, and applaud their successes and failed attempts.
    Great post!

  4. Donna–

    “Pushing them to think.”

    You and I have a I mind-meld. ;-D

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