Three years of middle school is almost completed. While it is an accurate statement that my daughter has matured during this timeframe, the same could be said for me.
Three years ago, we entered middle school. It was an unknown world for both of us. We were excited and nervous. In my eyes, she still needed care and attention, similar to her early days in kindergarten. Emailing teachers about her learning abilities, I prepared her for the best start and success possible. Continuously throughout the year, as tests and assignments were administered, I monitored progress and worried about results. My stress reflected onto her. These were tough times.
Two years ago, in seventh grade, I loosened the reigns, ever so slightly.
Emails were sent less, although still delivered. I monitored grades and assignments less frequently. Not ready to give in freely, I reminded her about homework. Reviewing assignments and participating in test preparation was present, but less constant. She was changing. I was changing. She was capable of handling her work. I was capable of letting her.
This year she does her own homework, unless she asks for help.
I do not watch her assignment due dates. Rarely do I check grades. Even less, do I worry about an occasional missteps. Trusting in her capabilities, I am beginning to let her live her life. Decisions will be made that I don’t agree with or even support, but she has to falter to succeed. If I continually make sure everything is always good, how can she handle life when it’s not?
This week, there was a miscommunication on a ride to her practice. I was gone. She handled it. In the past, I have wanted my kids to not suffer or experience pain. Learning now, as a middle school mom, that trials are as needed as any assignment or test. Life isn’t perfect. Kids need to understand that they are responsible and capable of handling tough situations now. If not, as adults, when the problems are bigger, they will not have the skills to mastered them.
Middle school has been about my daughter’s growth as a human. Just as much, it is about my growth as a parent. Give your children tools to
handle themselves. They want to manage their life and feel in control. Letting them find their way (as safe as possible), will help them succeed beyond their middle school years.
Susan J. McFarland
Susan J. McFarland