Recently a comment by someone sent me into a mini-tailspin. I don’t think the person making the comment had that intent, but that was the result, and it made me question my 18 years of parenting. The comment was in response to my Helicopter Mom post from a few days ago. I believe my post was misinterpreted and a judgement was leveled based on an extremely limited knowledge of my parenting style or ability. I was then gently chided and told that my REACTION to the comment was perhaps incorrect. The sort of situation that puts me in knee-jerk territory (but that’s a whole other topic). I took a deep breath and stepped back.
I was going to write a post correcting my earlier post, a blog errata. This afternoon, though, I got a really uplifting EMail from a dear friend down south who made me realize that there was nothing wrong with my reaction to the comment, there was nothing wrong with my initial post and there was nothing wrong with my parenting.
Having a close relationship with my daughter is not a bad thing. She has benefitted immensely from her upbringing and is not in any way resentful of our closeness. In fact, she told me last night “Mommy, you’re a GREAT Mom. Don’t listen to that stuff.” Were I doing something wrong, there would most likely be daily tension between us, frequent eye rolling, numerous arguments, and a lot of disrespect aimed at me, all of which are lacking. My parenting has allowed her to grow up secure, able to make mistakes and have failures, knowing there was someone to discuss them with and to design a plan of attack to learn from those mistakes. She has grown in myriad ways and will continue to do so as she goes through the college experience. Even after college, I will not abandon Louise just when she has the BIG Life questions, nor do I think that is a good thing to do. Our relationship is adjusting to her growth and is ever evolving, as it should. My parenting when she was young was different from that when she was a tween. In turn, the style that worked when she was a tween is no longer valid now. The parent/child connection is a living, breathing organism.
My intent when writing about helicopter parenting was to illuminate the separation pain that I am experiencing as she grows and starts to leave the nest. I was illustrating my growth in what, to me, was a poignant manner. I used as the vehicle for that an argument we had one day when we both were cranky. She subsequently apologized and so did I. The matter was settled and we both learned something from the experience. To take that ONE argument, that ONE instance and use it to categorize my parenting is plain wrong.
This is the one and only time I will EVER defend my parenting. It does not need defending, because it is good.
Parenting 101 Tip of the Day: Don’t ever assume you know what is right for someone else’s child.
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