Sometimes I Think I’m a Great Parent.
I have a friend whose son is much like Dylan. He’s 17 now, and doing well.
The biggest difference in our parenting styles, I think, is that Randy’s parents go a step farther than I went with Dylan. I think about this often, when I think that I’m going too far in doing things for Dylan, instead of allowing him to do things for himself.
They wake him up for school, for example. How will Randy learn to get himself out of bed in college if his parents wake him up for high school? Dylan has an alarm, and he uses it – or he misses school.
Randy’s parents make his breakfast, lunch and dinner – every day. Dylan regularly makes his own lunch for school, and has been learning to cook since he was 10. For Easter, he made a pie for the family. Possibly more importantly, he knows how to make scrambled eggs with cheese for breakfast – high in protein, and loaded with choline for his brain. Dylan knows about food, because we’ve taught him. Randy eats almost nothing because nutrition is forced upon him, rather than taught to him.
Dylan may not turn in his homework, and he may not do it – but it is Dylan not doing the work. Randy’s parents sit with him to work on his homework. Still. At age 17. I can remember Randy’s mom saying they once did his homework for him, because he was too tired to do it and they didn’t want it to be turned in late.
And they stay up all night studying with him, whenever he needs that extra help in the wee hours of the morning. This is great practice, I guess, for the all-nighters in college. And Randy has been accepted to college – which, I’m sure, is partly thanks to his parents’ over-indulgence in Randy’s work.
But what is Randy going to do when he gets to college? Who is going to get him through those tough assignments when he can’t focus? Who is going to make sure he’s up in the morning and ready for class? Who will feed and clothe him? How will he learn to do these things for himself at age 18?
Sometimes I think I’m a great parent.