Sometimes I’m a bit of a helicopter parent. You know the kind – the parent who hovers near their kid at the jungle gym, just in case they fall; the kind of parent that has a hard time letting go (the exact opposite of a free-range parent) and usually ends up doing too much for their kid(s). Ever since reading up on Positive Parenting, I’ve been trying to delegate more to my four-year-old and instill in her a sense of responsibility. Between daily chores (making her bed, setting the table, clearing her place after a meal) and making her accountable for keeping track of her personal belongings, I think I’m doing a pretty good job.
There comes a time, however, when the only lesson they’ll truly understand is one that’s learned the hard way.
Today happened to be library day at school. As we were getting ready for J-K, I mentioned that her library books were due. When all I got was a blank stare I figured I’d be a bit more direct, so I asked her to please go get her books from her bedroom so she could return them today during library period. My request was met with a firm “no” and some excuse about not wanting to go all the way up to her room to get them. After asking again, I actually started for the stairs to get them myself. Then a funny thing happened… I stopped myself.
The helicopter parent in me said it was the right thing to do (go and get the books), but the Positive Parenting principles running through my head won out in the end. The natural consequence of my daughter not taking responsibility for her library books was that she would probably be gently reprimanded at school. In turn, I’d wager that the chances of this scenario happening again are probably pretty slim. However, if I robbed her of her opportunity to learn, we’d be in the same situation next week.
I’m so glad I didn’t rob myself of a learning opportunity, too. Because, no matter how much I want my kids to succeed, sometimes I’ve got to let them fail in order to truly grow. You live, you learn.