Friday, August 10, 2007

Letting Loose The Apron Strings

Marianne Richmond, a contributing editor at BlogHer, just recently posted on the phenomenon of parents researching their college freshman's prospective roommates on Facebook. Displeased with the roommates profile, the helicopter parents are actually contacting the schools, asking for reassignments. For Real.

I shouldn't be too surprised. My husband has worked in the college system for many years and described students coming in with their parents to register and sign up for classes. The parents do all the talking while the student, the one who will actually be attending these classes, just sits silently in a chair. Craziness.

I have a hard time relating. When I turned 18, I packed up my car--bought and paid for with my own money--with all my possessions and traveled hundreds of miles away from anyone I knew, to a college which I had chosen, applied to, and visited on my own. The hands-off, neglectful parenting I had received paid off. It had, at least, taught me to do things for myself.

While I am not sending my kids off to college yet, I have reached an important milestone with them. They will both be in school in less than 10 days.(10 days which can't come fast enough! I've run out of things to keep them busy this summer!)

Part of me is sad that their early childhood has ended, but part of me rejoices in seeing them grow and change, becoming more independent. It has changed our relationship from being simply parent and child, to being people who can relate to each other. I love to hear their opinions about things. I love to see them try things for themselves. I love handing off new responsibilities to them.

We started small. Brushing their own teeth. Wiping their own behinds. Putting their own clothes away. Making their own beds. Bathing themselves.(this is a new one...and can I just say, YAY!) Getting their own snack. Buckling their own seatbelts.

Each time they learn to do something for themselves, they need me less. That gives me a small pang, but it is soon replaced with pride and satisfaction that I am doing my job--because that's the goal of good parenting; to work yourself out of a job that you love.

Hover no more!


Marianne said...

Hover no it!

I was discussing all of this with my 16 year old who assured me that he only hung around because I fed him...if I stopped he said he would be gone.

I think if he left, he would probably get hungry and come back.

terri said...

just think...if he learned to cook for himself he might fall off the face of the earth! :-)