Reality Checks in Parenting

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The other day the thermometer shot up to 80. I had been pulling from my winter wardrobe when the heat compelled me to put on a pair of pants I hadn’t worn for the past 6 months.  Hmmm.  They didn't fit as I had expected. 🙂  Reality check.

Reality checks are good for me, but I don’t seek them out naturally. I started thinking about reality checks when it comes to parenting. I can remember a few:

  • I was nursing newborn baby #2 when my two-year old toddler wanted water.  Out of frustration, I said, “You know where the water is…just get a chair and grab a cup and get some water out of the faucet.” I laughed at myself because I had never talked to him like he understood and was capable.  Guess what.  He marched in the kitchen, pulled a chair over to the counter and proceeded to do just what I suggested.  Wow!  Who knew?  I sure didn’t.
  • I had just walked away from the umpteenth argument with my middle school son about clothing choices.  My last salvo: “I’m simply not going to spend that much money on a pair of jeans!” My husband suggested, “Why not give him a budget and let him make his own choices…and his own mistakes.” Why not, indeed!
  • After living a dozen years overseas, we returned to the States as one of my sons was entering high school.  I began stressing about what high school he should attend—the base school? …a magnet school?  …a private school?  In the midst, he approached me and said, “Why don’t you let me decide? After all, I’m the one going to high school…not you.”  True that!  Why not?
  • Jump ahead to college.  My sophomore called me to say he just landed a neat summer internship—paid even—in his career field but he needed a car.  Oh, bother! We couldn’t afford to buy a car.  What to do?!  I chose to worry and had a fitful night.  The next morning I must have looked a little weary and one of my coworkers noticed.  I told her what was going on and she reminded me of my mantra, “Whose problem is it?”  Ah, that’s right!  It’s my son’s problem to solve.  So, I gave it back to him and he devised a very elegant solution.  He would give me the money to rent a car for two months so that he could use one of the family cars.  Brilliant!  Who knew he could figure it out on his own.  I didn’t…until I did.

Michael_Mom_Cute

Now I have adult sons on their own out in the world. I know they are a step ahead of me and I’m glad of it. My parenting reality is all about asking good questions to give them space to continue to become their best selves.

If you have any parenting “reality check” stories you’d like to share, I’d love to hear them!

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About Author

Page Cvelich

College/Teen Program Manager

Page Cvelich has brought a wealth of knowledge to the Work/Life Center from prior experience as a high school guidance counselor and parent education coordinator. Page has been responsible for setting up a high school college and career center, designing a career exploration program for teens and serving as a counselor at a backpacking camp in the Rockies. In her role as Teen/College Program Manager, Page enjoys interacting with small groups of parents and teens, as well as consulting one-on-one with parents and referring them to resources so that they are better able to provide the support and encouragement their kids need.

2 Comments

  1. Amanda Pack

    Love these thoughts! Our kids ARE much more capable than we give them credit and it's so hard to let them take the reins. Just this week, my 4 year old used a chair to reach the microwave to heat up leftovers for breakfast. While it scares me to think of him using the microwave without instruction and I might not have chosen chili for breakfast, I was really proud that he effectively took care of himself before I made it down the stairs. Life skills lesson planned for later this week: how to safely use a microwave. Thanks for the reminder that reality checks are good!

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