From the moment we become parents, it is our sole job to ensure that our children are happy, healthy, clean, provided for loved and nurtured. We spend all our time and money ensuring that our children are given the very best and they become our number one priority. We sacrifice the things that we want or dreamed of to ensure that they can go to the best schools and have all the things that we did not have as children. The thing is that we do so gladly, without hesitation and no regret. Our sacrifices are well worth it when it comes to our children. Our entire world revolves around them.
Yes, they call us the helicopter parents, hovering above waiting to swoop down and save our children from the situation that they are about to encounter. We have become supper fierce and protective and will do our everything to ensure that our children are safe, happy and unaffected by the big bad world. But to be honest with you, I am happy to claim that title. Yes, I am a mom of boys so I should probably encourage them to be tough and rugged, to fend for themselves, but they are my boys and truth be told. If I could dress them in a bubble wrap onesie, I would probably try.
Richard and I will go to the end of the earth to protect our children. We sacrificed luxury for private schooling, and we are very happy with our decision. We are constantly teaching them right from wrong, how they should be doing things and reassuring them that everything will be ok. This is what we thought we should be doing as parents.
We were ticking the boxes.
- Good School
- Lots of friends
- Cool toys, bike and games
- Any support they require
- And Love, Love, Love and more Love
The thing is that we were so busy doing what we thought we were supposed to do as parents that we missed one small thing. We were listening but not hearing.
We have always chatted to the kids about their day, as soon as they get in the car, I ask, “so how was your day?” “What happened?” “Who did you play with?” “Did you have a good day?”. I knew that having boys, I had to ask the right questions or the answer will always be fine or good thanks. Things were great till towards the end of the second term. When I asked my eldest boy Keagan how his day was, he got all sad and told me how a few boys had been calling him names. So I fired up my helicopter and swooped down and told him that some kids are just mean and he must not worry about it, they are probably only teasing you because they are jealous. We spoke to his teacher and asked her to keep an eye out for it. This happened a number of times and each time I reassured him that it was going to be ok. Isn’t that not what parents are supposed to do? I even gave him a few lines that he could use in his line of defence. I thought I had empowered him to deal with the situation and we moved on. We all know that kids can be cruel and at some point or another every one of us has had to deal with a mean bully. The problem is that although we were listening, we did not hear.
Although he looked the same and he was carrying on like he should, the thing we did not know was that our boy was broken. He never dealt with the situation as well as we thought he had. He did not move on; in fact, it had really affected him. In December we had a wonderful holiday full of family fun, lots of laughs and a great time. During this time, we all spoke about everything and anything. Keagan never said a word. I am not sure why? Was it because we had sorted it so it had to be ok? I will never really know the answer to that. A week before school was due to go back, we were chatting and out of the blue he said that he did not want to go back to school. I laughed and said, “I know, we have had a great holiday, but unfortunately you have to go back to school”. It was at this moment that I felt like a pin at the end of a bowling alley. He threw the ball straight at me, and I did not even see it coming. “Yes Mom, I know we have to go back to school, but I don’t want to go back to my old school!” “I just don’t think I can deal with those boys anymore” Wow there it was, I hit an internal panic, you know like the duck on water that looks so calm but yet under the surface its little feet are paddling like mad.
What to do? What to do? I am his mother, how the hell did I miss that fact that he was so unhappy. How could I not have noticed how much this had affected him? Never the less, there it was! This was when I learned on of my biggest parenting lessons, and I learned it from my ten-year-old. I sat down and asked him to tell me the whole story and help me understand. I then asked him for the first time ever, what he thought the best thing to do was? See the thing is that although we had spoken about the situation many times, I was always so busy trying to fix it, trying to be the best Mom I knew how, that I missed a small but vital step. I forgot to ask him what he would like to do. I mean, we had sacrificed a lot to send him to the very best school around, how could he not be happy and grateful? I learned to listen, and don’t get me wrong, I am by no means saying that all of a sudden our children should be calling the shots and telling us how, where, when and what! All I am saying is that sometimes we need to take a little advice from our children. They are far more capable and intelligent than we ever give them credit for. Sometimes we need to really hear what they are saying and even dig a little deeper.
Keagan asked to move to another school, one that would suit his sensitive personality a lot better. This time we didn’t just hear him, we listened. By some miracle, they had space for both the boys to start school the very next day, and you now the funny thing is that none of us have looked back and we don’t regret the rollercoaster ride that we had to go on to get them there.
So although our children will always be our babies and we will always hold them with both hands to protect them. Sometimes we need to do a little less parenting to be the best parents. We need to try and not become so busy being a good parent and raising our kids the right way with what is best for them that we forgot to listen to what they feel is better for them!