What Happened When I Quit Helicopter Parenting And Let My Kids Choose Their Own Path

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“I’m a safety mom. A safety person, in fact. During a past ski trip, I consistently arrived back at the chairlift last, underscoring my obvious preoccupation with not hurting myself. I checked my speed the entire descent down the mountain. Speed is not my middle name.

My teens were ahead of me. And though cautionary words were on the tip of my tongue, I made no effort to prohibit them from their rapid downhill flight. I didn’t want to harden their resolve.

People who thrive are people who are being who they believe they were meant to be. That is exactly what I want for my kids, and probably pretty close to what you want, too. We want our kids to mature into independent young adults who can make wise choices on their own.”

Implicit in this desired end result is that along the way, parents must let go. Helicopter parenting will only hold children back.

Today I added my voice to TODAY Parents feature challenge on helping your kids follow their dreams! Read in full here.

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My Friendship With Older Moms Helped Me More Than My Peers Ever Could

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In the beginning, it was lucky chance I ran into you, Older Mom. I didn’t pick you on purpose, I’m embarrassed to admit. I was expecting our first baby less than a year into expat life in Germany. You were the only friend I could find, an older Irish woman with two preschool-aged sons. Pregnant and in a foreign land, I obviously needed a mom-friend and you were it. Hand on ballooning belly, I complained I wasn’t ready.

“No one is throwing me baby showers!”

“What’s that?” You listened incredulously and then wagged your finger at the local drugstore a few doors down from where we were having ice-cream with your kids. “Everything you need is a quick stop. It’s not complicated.” By everything you meant diapers, what else was there to need? End of discussion.

I sucked in my breath and had a private palm-to-forehead moment.

Even taking into account different cultural practices, your reaction coming from one a few clicks ahead of me resonated deeply. I trusted you because you had already done this new mom thing plus one. I’m glad I stumbled across you Older Mom because since then, I’ve intentionally sought you out. As a younger mom, I felt you had my back.

Read in full:  Houston Family Magazine (pages 26-27).

What Happened When I Quit Helicopter Parenting

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“When I coddle my kids, I hurt them. If I keep myself at the center of their universe, helicopter parenting and serving their every need, the goal of independence is undermined. It’s much harder to stay in the shadows and watch them successfully dodge one bad decision only to perform a dramatic faceplant when the next major obstacle reveals itself. But how else will they learn?”

Thank you, San Diego Family Magazine, for publishing my essay on the perils of helicopter parenting.

Read in full: https://www.sandiegofamily.com/resources/parenting/1981-helicopter-parenting

My Son Listened To A Book, Not Me. And That’s OK.

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“I know I can’t take any credit for this victory and honestly, it doesn’t matter. I long ago accepted that it takes a village to raise a child. Today, I recognize that books are influential members of this community as well.”

Parents, sometimes the best thing to do is to step back and shut-up. Intervention can happen for your tween/teen, too…and often from places you didn’t expect. Parenting is not a solo job–it’s welcoming the ‘village’ around you! Thank you for reading  my essay on Today Parenting Team and sharing with others.

Read in full: http://community.today.com/parentingteam/post/my-son-listened-to-a-book-not-me-and-thats-ok_1475022188

 

Older hands reaching younger. Moms, this is how we make it.

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In the beginning, it was lucky chance I ran into you, Older Mom. I didn’t pick you on purpose, I’m embarrassed to admit. I was expecting our first baby less than a year into expat life in Germany. You were the only friend I could find, an older Irish woman with two preschool-aged sons. Pregnant and in a foreign land, I obviously needed a mom-friend and you were it.

Read in full: http://community.today.com/parentingteam/post/adopt-an-older-mom-asyour-bestie-heres-why

What Happened When I Learned How Much My Coddling Hurt My Kids

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It took me a long time to realize: When I coddle them, I hurt them.

I’m a safety mom. A safety person, in fact. During a past ski trip, I consistently arrived back at the chairlift last, underscoring my obvious preoccupation with not hurting myself. I checked my speed the entire descent down the mountain. Speed is not my middle name.

My teens were ahead of me. And though cautionary words were on the tip of my tongue, I made no effort to prohibit them from their rapid downhill flight. I didn’t want to harden their resolve.

People who thrive are people who are being who they believe they were meant to be. That is exactly what I want for my kids and probably pretty close to what you want, too. We want our kids to mature into independent young adults who can make wise choices on their own.

Read in full on YourTango.

 

My Son Listened To A Book, Not Me. And That’s OK.

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The sun descended into the ocean, a fiery orange ball igniting disco-like flashes across the rolling waves.

Sunburned, the kids were weary, beginning to fray. Parents faced the aftermath of a full day at the beach, involving lots of sand tracks through the house and messy baths because of said sand. The grandparents turned their attention to dinner: It was burger night.

Unlike everyone else, my son’s burger was plain; he wouldn’t let lettuce and tomato ruin his hamburger. The cousins sat together at the bar, boys to one side, the giggly girls the other. Coughing and vomiting suddenly hushed all laughter and conversation.

Read in full at Parent.co.

Love City, Love Bike

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Love City, Love Bike

In downtown Austin, the clerk helps me with my groceries: wine, chocolate, tea, pepperoni and eggs.

“Is a double-bag fine?”

Uh-huh, I nod and add to please pack things tightly.

I load my sturdy basket behind the seat of my old lady’s bike, as my teens call it. I’m mostly worried the eggs won’t make it home on the path that leads to our downtown high-rise apartment.

When we moved to Austin not only did we downsize to fit our family of four into an apartment in the heart of the city, we freed ourselves of our second car. Between bikes, Uber and car-sharing options, having one car was completely rational. Biking around town is our preference, whether to the store, doctor or coffee shop.

Go to Austin American-Statesman for the full story.

How our Friday night pizza night helps us connect with our growing kids

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Published by The Washington Post, On Parenting:

“Oh, Friday. We’re growing old together, you and I. From each joyful weekly awareness — It’s Friday! — that erupts around our home to the sleepiness that ends the evening, you’ve been there like an old friend. Long ago, you watched as the little kids came along, encouraging us as new parents to establish a family tradition to end the week. We wanted something that invited the kids’ participation, and so it was that you became synonymous with homemade-pizza-and-movie night.”

Read in full on The Washington Post: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/parenting/wp/2016/04/29/making-friday-night-pizza-night-as-a-way-to-connect-with-aging-kids/