As a parent you just do not know if you are parenting ‘right’… it starts when they are babies, then moves to toddlers, then continues right through the school years and teen years. And here I am.. Knee deep in the teen years.
A couple years ago, I started to go through giving my oldest daughter some independence. I have always given my kids some freedom and independence until I felt they could not handle it. It’s a definite struggle to just step back a little and give them more and more independence.
I remember when my oldest started staying up later and later, I knew eventually she would have to figure it out that she would need more sleep. Eventually, she realized that if she wanted to make it through the day with school and practice, she would need to not stay up late watching netflix.
And now I am going through my middle daughter trying to gain herself some independence. And this has been the biggest test for me. I have realized that all of my children are so different. It just boggles my mind, how really different they can be. So here I am thinking, well my oldest daughter handled it, I am sure she will be fine also. News to me…
I have learned that they both handle independence and responsibility very different. And it has been a definite learning curve. I feel like I am tested daily with this one. My oldest was motivated by getting to be with her friends. She is very social and enjoys sleepovers and hanging out with them. If I ask her to do something or follow certain rules, she does it because she gets to see her friends.
Then we have my middle child…. She is very smart and school comes easy for her. She is content being at home and does not ask to do much. She loves her netflix and watching tv. A couple months ago, she asked to switch to complete distance learning and we agreed with some expectations. I thought this would be a good test at some independence. We gave her six weeks and then we would evaluate how it was working. It was a complete shit show… missing assignments, missing classes, and grades falling.
So, we discussed that after Christmas she would need to return to hybrid. Now, it should not have been a complete shock to her because the weeks leading up to this conversation, we discussed her grades and missing assignments, along with the importance of getting them in.
It is the day she is suppose to return to school and she just doesn’t go. I tried all of my tactics and bargain tools, nothing worked. Now, with my oldest, taking her phone away would have done the trick. I am pretty sure that the words “boarding school” came out of my mouth. I might have even mentioned that the principal might show up at our house… good god, I sounded like my mother 30 years ago, I was rambling… and my daughter knew none of those things would happen.
I do not even know why I was trying, I knew how strong willed she was…and I knew when she made up her mind it was stuck.
And now she has still not returned to in-person school. Of course, she is doing her learning still from her bedroom and of course, she is actually getting up on time, but she will not return. I have tried everything to get her to go back to school and she just will not do it. She has no phone, no tv, or no electronics. I am sure her friends wonder what happened to her….but she seems to not care. She is ok with the consequences.
And so here I am, still in awww on what to do. I have asked my friends, I have read numerous articles, but still everyday I am wondering if I am doing it right. I wonder if I am not doing enough or doing too much.. Should I just give in or should I have more consequences. Honestly, its a gamble. And I am sure 20 years from now, we will laugh about it.
And the reality is, each of my children are so different. They function so differently. Just when I think I have them figured out, another curve ball. And I am stuck thinking… how many more years until I finally figure it all out….