My boy is a teenager and already stretching his independence wings. I'm surfing the net and reading, taking notes and making tip lists for how to do it "right". I know there is no "right" and we all do the best with what we have and what we know, but the trick is to keep advancing what we know and keep applying it, right? It's one thing to read a million parenting books and another to read one and apply it. Knowledge is wasted if not applied. My life keeps poking me with episodes that make me search and learn and leave myself a note and this is one of those notes.
I want to raise kids who are sure of themselves and ready to go be a solid part of the world they live in. I want to give them the training in the life skills they need and help them chase their passions. I want them to know how to make decisions and how to own the outcomes of those choices. I want them to be constant learners from other and from their own life experiences.
As the parent I want to be supportive in their successes and failings. I don't want to judge and guilt and condemn especially in the guise of expressing my own feelings. I want to make sure I'm doing that in the right channels. That's why there are peers and partners and therapists.
I want to be slow to speak and I am not. I am training myself to be. I've come to believe that maturity is thinking it, thinking all the way to the fall out of the words and then deciding whether or not to speak it, or email it, or tweet it, or blog it. It's a tough learning curve for a quick sharp tongue like mine. It's also a realizing that in the end if I'm trying to justify or explain myself, there is something bigger going on inside of me. Accountability and awareness isn't easy or pleasant very often, but necessary always.
I want to be quick to own my part in these two sided relationships. I want to respect them and their reality, knowing that shared experience and history doesn't equal the identical experience or history. Even now, at their relatively young ages, I see often that I saw something unfold one way and they experienced it in another.
It is only a few short years before I start handing over car keys and and watching them pack for college or whatever comes next in their lives. I want to have been able to give their independence over to them in bites so it's never a cold shock for either one of us. I want to have grown into it with them instead of them struggling to grow an independence under my thumb and then them struggling and fighting me to break free. I want it to be a mutual thing. I toss them into the air just as they jump for their flight, that way we both "win".
Maybe it's being naive or straight up arrogance, but I don't think it's going to be all that hard to do. Why? See it's like this. I like my kids. I like who they are. I like the people they are growing into. Yeah, there are already things about them that I think oh, maybe I could have shaped that differently or maybe I should strive to change that about them, but then I think, no, they are who they are.
Not clear. I know. It's OK. It doesn't have to be clear to you. These are the blogs to myself so later I can come back and reassure myself that I'm still on track. It's a memo to self so I can come back for tips and wisdom-not my own, but others.
So here's an article I was reading this morning, and yeah, I know, it says adult kids. Whatever. It applies as we're racing down this path from teen to adult. I'm tucking these things into my heart and dwelling on the thinking, quietly.