Friday, July 22, 2011

The Parent: Overbearing or Involved?

I have numerous educational institutions that are my clients, and I love working with them.

Recently, I have been writing a lot about children, students, and going back to school. I am doing so, I guess, because I have a child who will be starting back to school in a couple weeks.

I find myself in a precarious position. My youngest child is entering high school. No longer is she in junior high or middle school. From the time she began school, I have always been an active and involved parent. I used to pride myself when my children were growing up that I never missed an activity in which they were involved.

But things change as your child gets older. It is not cool to be seen with your parents (let alone one) at school. I recently had a parent of a fourth grade child to tell me that her son did not want her to have lunch with him at school, or drop him off in the front of the building before school started because he was afraid to be seen anywhere near her.

Therein lies the paradox. How much of an involved parent do I need to be? How much of an involved parent should I be? I really do not know the answer to these questions. My plan is to play it by ear. Of course, I have been through this before because I have an older child who is entering college in one month. But it did not seem to be as big of an issue then as it is now.

My father is a retired educator, and I have heard numerous horror stories at the dinner table about overbearing parents. I have also seen the effects it can have on the child.

I knew of one young boy who seemed like the world was at his fingertips. He was an A student. He was handsome and likable by all—students and teachers. But it was his overbearing father who seemed unable to let go and let his son live his own life. He followed his son’s every move and the perception was he dictated his every move. Eventually, the young boy and all his dreams did not materialize. I will write about this story indepth later date because it is a sad tale of an overbearing parent.

Finally, it does appear to be a fine line between being an overbearing parent and involved one. Personally, I do not feel the need to follow my child’s every move. I do not want my child’s teachers to say to the other teachers, "Uh, oh, here he comes again." And the last thing that I want is for my child to suffer any negative consequences because of me. I will keep you posted.

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