The blatant, brazen, and agenda ridden hypocrisies of the western world are astonishing, flabbergasting, and outright stupefying. The media reminds us daily how intensely dangerous it is to be alive; selling us tales of heinous diseases, terrorism, kidnapped kids, tainted food ... the list is inexhaustible; meanwhile, promoting commonplace practices and goods that are equally, if not more, hazardous.
This is the climate in which helicopter parenting has emerged. Parenting is the hardest, most rewarding, trickiest, most delicate, exhausting job there is, and, on top of that, it is never finished. The road is filled with potholes and landmines, as well as triumphs where we have to constantly balance the role of hovering protector with staunch champion, agent of discipline with exuberant cheerleader, the mouthpiece of common sense with the voice of daring-do, often while being judged as deficient by society in-spite of everything we do.
Over the last 22 years, my mothering “fails” have been innumerable, looking back, those shortfalls were, most often, caused by an imbalance of those responsibilities – frequently on the side of too much control. Which caused me to lose sight of the big picture – happy, successful, self-reliant kids (adults). Thankfully, both of my children have always been intensely independent souls and were able to rise above my moments of insanity to become awesome, self–sufficient adults. Yes, they still need Momma love and reassurance, but they are following their own paths and are mercifully passionate about being completely true to themselves.
How then, in this age of hyper-criticism and propaganda, do we mindfully create that balance? How do we teach our kids to fly free when we (they) have the impression that the world is filled with disappointment, danger, and discomfort around every corner. How do we encourage confidence without sanctioning entitlement?
Turn off the TV – seriously! When I put gas in my car, yesterday, at a station that I had not used in a while, I was horrified to discover that there was an NBC news loop playing on the screen of the pump. Really! I was thinking about going into the station to complain, but realized I would be hassling an underpaid employee who had absolutely no control over the companies decision to put this offensive nonsense in front of us. The same can be said for waiting rooms, airports, and, yes, even the bank. We are inundated with premeditated, fear mongering messages at every turn; we don't need to invite it into the sanctity of our homes.
Trust the natural growth process! We all learn and grow through direct experiences of failure, hard work, struggle, and feelings of disappointed. Our children do not learn self sufficiency, intrinsic motivation, or, for that matter, the intoxicating feeling of accomplishment when we make a task easier or complete a job for them.
Cultivate an environment that celebrates respect and empathy; expect respectful, polite, sympathetic behavior, and, lead by example! Even when you are buried deeply within an emotionally charged negative moment, have faith that your children understand your concerns and worries and will ultimately emulate the positive values you have modeled.
Foster a love of play! Kids who are allowed to discover life's truths through experimental, hands-on, imaginative, and creative pursuits have a deeper sense of themselves and are more willing to explore new ideas without fear.
Understand that there are no absolutes, destinations, or requirements! Every single person on this planet is a unique being with completely different talents, desires, and needs. We each (including the youngest among us) have the intrinsic right to follow the path that speaks the loudest to us.
Create opportunities for conversation! Do not be afraid to talk about everything with your kids, yes, even the tough stuff! Keep an open dialogue about current events, your worries, their anxieties, your excitement, their anticipations. They are already aware of controversies and issues, speaking about them as a family, asking their opinions, listening closely, and involving them in important decisions reiterates your trust in them.
Your children will grow up and leave home. There are few things as guaranteed – except as the old axiom reminds us – death and taxes. They will be ready to meet life's challenges with bold anticipation, compassion, and poise, because you provided them with a nurturing background filled with loving mistakes, freedom to explore their ideas, and the knowledge that they are adored and cherished.
Opening day – Tuesday, September 6th.
The DRC space is (mostly) ready and waiting for our student members to fill it with their amazing creative energy.
It is not too late to join us! If your child is experiencing deep, traumatizing anxiety about school or is simply not interested in what is being offered, we can help. You can get in touch via email or phone (315) 244-3034.
Volunteer at DRC
Are you looking for an opportunity to share your knowledge or talents with some young people?
Follow this link to our Volunteer Application. We look forward to introducing you to some awesome kids.