- Posted September 3, 2018
This week keeping it short – BREATHE. If, like me, you have a child under the age of 21 who is still in school you are, or have already, experienced what I have come to term “end of summer blues”. Speaking for myself, my son will be shifting back into a more “normal” sleep schedule, currently I’ve allowed him to go to bed by 2 am and get up whenever.
Perhaps some are asking “WTF” or, more politely, “why”? Think back to when we were over the age of 18, how many of us had parents telling us what to do? At what point did you start making your own decisions (good and bad) and learning from them? Yes, I fully expect he is going to be MISERABLE the first couple days of school, but I also believe this is part of becoming an adult.
Where “Breathe” comes into it is I cannot allow myself to “blow up”; because then he will respond to my reaction – not learn from his behaviors. I believe most people will learn from their own behaviors if they experience enough of a negative impact (w/o threatening their life or safety). Allowing my son to be exhausted (and within reason putting up with his attitude) will teach him more than I think he will ever learn from me telling him exactly what to do and when.
Losing my temper doesn’t help either of us. I (and all of you who choose a similar path) need to remain calm enough to get our message across – reinforcing what they are already experiencing. Asking questions like “what do you think led to you feeling like this” or “what do you think happened”? Steer them towards the answers you want by asking simpler questions (my son) or whatever they are capable of answering. But, and this is critical, do NOT visibly lose control.
We (parents) are not going to be around forever, and our children need to do as much as they are capable as soon as possible. In my experience, these capabilities far outreach what we give them credit for, because it’s incredibly difficult helping them reach it. We have so many competing responsibilities (work, family, friends, ourselves, etc); and we tend to take the path of least resistance in the guise of “it’s faster”, “they don’t know how” or “they can’t”.
I get it, I’ve said all of these and more. But my son has already lost one caregiver who did everything – I don’t trust the system to believe he’ll ever find another one. So this is self-preservation. I can’t (and if I’m being honest, won’t) do it all. I need him to do things for himself as much as he does. And yes, there are things we may never master – but with a LOT of patience we have a LONG way to go until we get there. In the interim, I just need to “BREATHE”.