Before I start criticizing other parents, I have to share… I’m not a perfect parent.
- Let the occasional cuss word slip in front of the boys
- Play Monopoly with Thing 2 on my Kindle just so I don’t need to pick up the mess
- Don’t always serve fruits or vegetables with dinner
- Will tell the boys they can play on the PS3 if they let us sleep longer
- Have overflowing laundry baskets waiting to be taken care of
- Let the boys watch rated-R and scary movies
- Will play Hide-and-Go-Seek with the boys, then take a little longer to find them just for a few extra minutes of quiet
- Am a push-over and will let them have second desserts
With all this said, however, I/we support our children in Every.Single.Way.Possible.
Thing 2 likes to ask me, “Mommy, what should I be when I grow up?” My only response, thanks to my parents, is “Whatever you want as long as you are happy and it’s legal.”
Seriously. How can I/we NOT support our children and their dreams and ambitions? When it comes time for them to graduate high school (attending/graduating high school is NOT a question, unless they become a superstar before then, at which point private tutors will be hired), I can not deny that yes, I will push them in the direction of college. However… If college is not for them, that is their decision, not mine/ours.
Just recently I have met a really great young lady, in her very early 20’s, who is in college out West. During the course of conversation, it came out that her parents don’t want her to go to college, so they are making it as difficult as possible for her to go. For example, they purposely turn in the FAFSA forms late so she doesn’t qualify for aid and can’t get student loans. Yes, I’m serious. And because she’s not yet 23 she can’t file independently. I want to drive 1,000 miles and smack them.
I don’t care if you have money to put your kids though college. If any of ours were heading off to college next month they would be on their own (financially). We could/would send them monthly allowance, but beyond that, our assistance would be co-signing on student loans. But we would do that. Without a doubt, we would do that.
Between Dave and I, our oldest is about to be 13. This gives us 5 years to prepare for what she wants to do post-high school. In the meantime, we have 8 years and 12 years before Things 1 & 2 will be old enough, and that many years to have any say in their lives. We can control our kids’ curfew when they’re old enough to go out without us, have a say in whether or not they can drive, and try to have a say in who they date (but I only plan on having a say in that if the age difference could get either of them in trouble). Beyond that it’s our time to support and nurture them.
In the time that has passed since I left Turtle (the name we have given the boys’ dad), I have been amazed by the progress our little family has made. With Dave’s help, the boys have become much more responsible, respectable young men. Rather than have to think about what we can’t do because of their bad behavior, we now look forward to what we CAN do as a family. It’s all a matter of respect, both given and received between the four of us, and we’re a happy, healthy family unit because of it.