This post originally appeared on Perfection Pending, the opinions expressed are my own and should in no way be taken as professional medical advice. If you have any questions or concerns about your family’s health, please consult with your doctor.
It’s 7:30 p.m., well past the point when we begin the bedroom routine for our two children. My oldest son is running through the house. It’s a special night because we are going to see a movie at the drive-in. Neither of my kids has been to the movies before, and my four-year-old is screaming with excitement because he can’t wait to see Cars 3.
I finish packing up my bag when I hear wailing coming out of my bedroom. I gaze over at my husband who has the distinct “What just happened?” face all parents know. My gaze moves to my son whose forehead is bleeding from a fresh, gaping wound.
Many parents, in that moment, would have rushed there kids to the emergency room, but not us. My husband rigged together some bandages, and we set off for the drive-in as planned.
I knew the wound was bad, but a tantrum over missing the film would be way worse.
Raising children is a lifelong lesson in letting go. From the moment they are born, our instinct is to protect them, to shield them, to make their lives easier. We help them with as much as we can — not because we are overprotective — but, because we love them and want them to succeed.
Ultimate success, however, comes by stepping back, and letting our kids do more on their own. Each age offers new opportunities for growth, and each family can decide what works best for them.
I look out for signs from my kids to guide me about when they might be ready to try new tasks. So, when my son, who is five, started insisting on making meatballs on his on, I let him. Continue reading →
Being a kid in the 1970s, 80s or 90s was so much better than today, or so says countless essays, listicles and Facebook rants. We played in the street, stayed put until dark and used our imagination instead of iPads. Our parents were stern, but still gave us freedom to explore. We tell our own children of the good old days and wax poetic about how wonderful their lives would have been back then.
Raising children today can never be like it was. Society changes, values evolve, technology grows, new challenges emerge, etc., etc. Our grandparents grew up very differently from our parents, as did our parents from us. Our great grandparents may not have had much of a childhood because, back then, kids were expected to work at a young age.
Our ancestors are looking down on us and wondering what is wrong with us. Our kids are fortunate in so many ways. They are not suffering the burden of a Great Depression or the terror of a World War. And while, as a New Yorker, I do not discount the real fear of terrorism, the truth is, kids in the United States are safer than ever. Instead of bemoaning the fate of our children, let’s give them the childhood they deserve. Continue reading →
My mother often calls me, “Miss Law and Order,” not because I work in the legal field, but because, from a young age, I tended to always follow the rules. If my family played a game together, you can bet I observed everyone’s moves closely, lest they attempt to cheat. My mom, who is never one to just go with convention, would chide me for being no fun.
My innate desire for things to abide by a predetermined set of regulations regularly clashes with my desire to let my children engage in free play. I fight my urge to grab the instruction manual and shout, “No, this is how you do it!” Continue reading →