Now I’m not a parent and not even close to being one. However, I do have them. As someone who just turned 18 within the last couple months many of my friend’s parents, along with mine, are finding the happy medium of involvement still while beginning the letting go process.
My parents were young when they had me. My mom was 18 and my dad was 20. Even if they were grown adults I’ve always seen it as I grew up with them. I got to enjoy my parents in their prime.
Getting married right outta school and beginning their family I’d imagine there were tough times. I remember one time my mom telling me she wanted to prepare us girls for life so that if we chose to take the same route she did we would be ok. My mom and dad raised me to be very independent and self-sufficient.
For as long as I can remember I was told if I wanted something I had to save up and buy it. It wasn’t ever just handed to me. Nothing in life is free and if you want something you have to work for it. My parents taught me that at a young age. I hated it at the time because my friend’s parents didn’t do that, but having my own bills for the past two years I am so thankful my parents made me use my own money. Now I can manage my money.
It was more than just money though. As soon as we could make a sandwich it was our responsibility to make our lunches for school. If we forgot homework at home mom didn’t bail us out and bring it in. Like I said before I hated it at the time but all of this made me more prepared for this exact time in my life.
Most parents I know are getting ready to send their kid to college as one big push. My parents are too, but, the difference is my mom has been removing herself from certain aspects of my life and allowing me to make my own decisions for about two years now. It’s not all at once, it’s more gradual and allows for me to easily regain my footing if I make a mistake.
I always tell everyone that my first summer job I worked at a campground and my main work schedule was weekends and holidays. Which was also the time my family went to the U.P. all summer. My mom knew she could leave me home alone for the weekend and they did just that. It stunk cause I couldn’t go but I had a bigger responsibility. My mom didn’t make a big deal about it just said keep us in the loop and have a fun weekend working.
As I watch other kids parents they are having a really hard time letting go. It’s senior year, they’re getting ready to go to college, and parents think it’s the last time they’ll see them. Sure my mom is gonna miss me, but she knows she has done her part and has to trust all her and my dad taught me will carry me through. There isn’t a scene when I choose to go with my boyfriend and his family for a weekend instead of my family. She gets that I’m building my own life and that she has to let go. It makes it a lot easier for me.
More independence is great cause you don’t feel like you can’t breathe, you’re more prepared for being on your own. Yet, through school, you’re the kid that can’t go to the movies with your friends because your insurance is due and you don’t have any extra money. On the flip side, someone who is waited on hand and foot has the money to go wherever whenever, but won’t know how to handle themselves, by themselves when the time comes.
There are pros and cons to both sides and the fact is neither one is superior to the other. It’s all a matter of what the parents think is best. My mom may seem heartless because she chose to raise me this way; because she chose not to make me a sandwich when I was very capable. I don’t see it like that at all, I saw her and my dad loving me so much that when it got to be time for me to graduate and go to college I was ready and prepared as much as I could be.
Eventually, parents have to let go, let their kids fly, and see where they go. Some will succeed and some will fail. It’s life; it’s not going to give in, it’s not gonna back away on a bad day, and it sure isn’t going to let you coast through without a little work. Anything in life requires hard work and money. I was fortunate enough to have parents that taught me that at a very young age and I believe I benefit from it now.
My mom isn’t the one breathing down my neck during my senior year because she is gonna be “broken to pieces to see me go”. She is gonna be the one standing proud because of all I’ve accomplished up to this point and I hope she feels secure in how she raised me. Her and my dad did a pretty good job if I do say so my self. I’m not scared of the world or what it holds. I know it can stab me in the back, break my heart, and take everything away, but no matter what I will not give up.
With all my rambling it comes to this, speaking on behalf of most kids my age…Parents give a little leeway. It’s ok to step back and watch us fail no matter how hard. I go against my mom’s advice a lot and wish I didn’t but it was for me to figure out and I’d never know unless I tried. If they’re 17-19 let them go. It’s not like they’ll go off to college and you’ll never see them again. They’ll always be your little boy/girl. You have to trust us and trust that you’ve prepped us in the best possible way to survive in this scary world. We’ll make mistakes, we’ll fail at things, we’ll face countless things. It’s life and it’s ours to figure out.
And kids realize your parents have dedicated years upon years, however old you are, to you. From the time your mom found out she was gonna have you and after your dad found out you have been a whole new part of their world. Your mom carried you for 9 months I think she deserves some time to be sappy and sad that her baby is all grown up. Cut them some slack and reassure them everything will be ok. So take that picture with them, ride into town, give them what they want because pretty soon you will be on your own and when you run out of toilet paper in the bathroom they won’t be there to bring you a roll haha. You’ll miss them just as they will miss you.
Mom- I don’t say it enough but thank you. Thank you for making me make my lunch and making me wake up by myself for school. Thank you for making me use my own money to buy stuff and not letting me spend it on useless things. Thank you for putting up with my tantrums because I thought none of this was fair when other kids didn’t have to do it or got to do it. I see now that you and dad were only helping me in ways you guys may have struggled at first. I am ready to face this world because of you and dad. You guys taught me things I would’ve never learned in school. There are too many times I criticize you for doing these things and make you think you’re a horrible parent. You’re not even the slightest bit, because when I look at my classmates around me at graduation I know I will be one who will succeed.