As a mother of two strong willed teenagers, I have been learning how to be an effective parent while, at the same time, letting go, in the last few years! Figuring out that balance is the hard part, especially when you are an involved parent, which I like to believe I am My daughter is now in 9th grade. At the start of this grade, she had to make her subject choices. For one of her electives, she picked Art. My husband and I, both the hard core science types, did not expect this. Add to this, our son, also one of those hard core science types, claimed that these courses were very hard, and good grades would be hard to come by.
We had to make a choice- either to support our daughter in her decision (even though we may not be able to actively help her in the subject) or convince her out of it citing our experience and saying we knew best. I knew my daughter wanted to take the course badly. And so, I said to myself, how does it matter even if she does not get an A in this course? After this, she may not have a chance to explore a subject like this again.
So, after much consideration, we let her be with her choice. This was at the start of the year. Fast forward to the present. My daughter is not finding the course a cake walk, but she loves it. The outcomes are not always commensurate (the grades I mean). She does get disappointed at times and once even wondered if she should have taken Computer Apps instead. But, she resolved to fight it out and figure out how to up her grades rather than “cop out”. Since it was her decision, she is doing what it takes to improve and is backing herself to do better even though she has had her moments of doubt.
I realized that this “growing up” experience will be far more valuable than the experience of scoring a relatively easy A in a more conventional course. As parents, we need to consciously stop being over protective and all-knowing and let our children experiment and take their own decisions, as they grow up. That is, if we want to raise self-reliant children! Do you agree?