So I blindfolded my daughter, drove her in a white van with dirty windows to a remote spot in the woods. We walked five miles till we were in the center. and then I spun her around ten times. I walked away, instructing her to count to 100, then remove the blindfold. This was her new home.

OR

I drove to Washington DC, a city my daughter loved so much she applied to three separate colleges there. To a school she really wanted to go to and screamed “YES” after receiving her acceptance letter. We drove through a posh neighborhood, and into the gates of her hallowed campus. To her dorm we went, the good dorm that she wanted with a private bathroom. We spent six hours decorating her room with all new things, met her incredibly respectful, sweet and clean roommate. She had a schedule full of her first choice classes, and a relatively inexpensive bill for rental textbooks. This was her new home…

As we continue on with the discussion of the past two days, we have to focus on what we do as parents, what responsibility we have to guide them. Every parent has to decide what is best for their child. Each child is an individual and has to be treated as such. I know my kid. I know that I can give my kid a nudge and she figures out what she needs to do to survive.

But I also realize that some kids can not be pushed quite the same way. Some kids need a little more coddling- it’s just the way they are built. After 18 years, you know who your kid is, what their strengths are and where their weakness lies. As parents we need to help them develop their strengths, and deal with their weakness. I know this is hard. I have been there. How do you help your child develop, strengthen, or enhance their weak points? I know my daughter needs to learn how to survive as an introvert in an extrovert world. This is why I made her stay. Coming home is not going to help her deal with that issue.

But I want you to think about something else. Does your child need the extra attention, or do you as a parent need to perform the extra act? Are you helping a child solely for your own benefit? We’ve all heard of stage mothers, parents who so want their children to be stars because they never were themselves? Parents who are living their lives vicariously through their children? Parents who can not separate from their child? At some point, the umbilical cord must be severed, for both parent and child.

So whether or not you let your child come home from college for a weekend doesn’t matter. What matters is the why. Why does your child want to come home? What ails them? Why do you want them, or not want them to come home? What’s the reasoning?

No good decision was ever made out of fear or guilt. You can talk to your heart, but use your head to make the choice.

PS- On this day I remember the friends, colleagues, classmates and humanity that was lost 18 years ago today, when I was seven months pregnant with my daughter. My thoughts are with those affected by the events of this day. Peace.

 

39 thoughts on “Where is the Line

  1. By the way you’ve described your daughter over the past 2 years, she’s got a good head on her shoulders and I’d listen to her on this one. But of course she’s your child so it’s ultimately your decision. I’m about four years ahead of you in the college department and know plenty of kids who are miserable at school and come home to take a few semesters off or transfer to other schools. I’m not sure if we’re not preparing them well enough for college life, but it’s the reality. As one college rep told us, “It’s not where you start out, but where you finish that matters.”

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I have two words: participation trophy. We are SO NOT preparing our kids for college. Parents complain about kids grades and schools change them. Everyone gets extra time on tests because they are special. Cut me a break. An you imagine going to your boss and saying “sorry, I have some ridiculously made up condition that my parents fabricated cause it turns out I’m extremely unbelievably average so I can’t possibly have that report to you by 4pm because I need extra time. And of course I need to leave at five because I must take care of my mental health and it’s Friday, so I’ll have that report to you by 3pm Monday”…….we allow kids to have excuses, we allow them to not deal with shit because we jump in at the first fleck of trouble. We are teaching kids to Run away from life when it gets too hard. But I don’t really have an opinion on whether or not we’re preparing our kids…..

      Liked by 5 people

      1. Agree. Let me add something: have you heard of parents who are following their kids to school? I know of at least two families who have sold their homes and bought places so they can be near their kids. Now that’s really weird.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Jim’s suggestion is interesting. I had a father who helped me take my luggage inside the room, meet my roommate, took us both to a nice lunch at a seafood restaurant, and then drove back with his friend to the Catskills. My mom was running our business that day. I think he said, “Well, it looks nice. Good luck. Bye.” I was grateful for that but I survived. We all find our way. Different ways, different days.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Extremely glad to see you touched on this today. I started to head there yesterday and then told myself that LA, being the clearly competent writer/blogger that she is will cover the topic of parental needs all on her own. And you did that very thing concisely and respectfully.
    I will spend a few moments now repeating loudly: Must not helicopter blog, must not helicopter blog…

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Really really excellent points. I’ve sometimes wondered why helicopter parents are like that – do they think their kid is too stupid/weak/unable to make a decision? Are they desiring some level of perfection which isn’t attainable? Reliving their childhood where they went wrong? I don’t think my generation was raised that way. We weren’t babied. Our parents raised us and then it was up to us. Most of us boomers grew up knowing that we had to make our own way in the world, that our parents weren’t going to be handing over money for endless degrees, cars and mortgages etc. I have friends with poor health who are still working at 65 as they feel they have to help out their 30 year old kids financially. Yes, I know things are different today, these kids are facing a whole different world. And the whole issue of mental health is a big one. I only remember one person who committed suicide. when I was at university. There were a few who dropped out, but nothing compared to today, where what are the stats, one out of every four kids struggles with mental health issues. A parent may worry about a vulnerable child going away to school, but what is the alternative, keep them at home safe forever. Sometimes I think the biggest gift a parent can give a kid is the belief they can figure things out on their own.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. I don’t know LA….it could be a whole other post. But I have to wonder what is wrong in our society when so many kids seem to be struggling with mental health issues, when outwardly their lives are full of things and advantages. Maybe there are too many expectations on them to be successful, not necessarily from the parents but from social media showing them perfect lives which are not attainable for most people. Maybe we should be teaching kids coping skills in high school, basic life skills, like how to set a budget, how to deal with rejection etc Not every kid can excel at school, but there are lots of other jobs which are good – hairdressing for one! Maybe we should be wishing for our kids to be happy, rather than financially successful. If a child is school minded and has high ambitions, parental support can make all the difference in whether or not they achieve their goals, but if they are not, or not capable of it, then parental expectations might just lead to misery and depression.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. She, I think people want their kids to be happy, and I think that’s the problem. They run interference, hand out trophies, do things for them in an attempt to make them happy. But 24/7 happiness is not realistic. It’s impossible to be happy all the time, so kids look for an escape, drugs, or release, suicide. We should be teaching resilience and helping them become confident

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Good points! Sounds like another post. Lots of comments – see how many people missed you on your summer vacation! We all love a good discussion, and varied views make it more interesting.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. People complain about this generation saying they all need to get that “participation trophy”, but those kids didn’t ask for it. The parents made that possible. You are right in saying that each person needs different things in order to succeed in life, college, work etc. Figure out your kids and be a parent, which to me means you make mistakes, own up to them and learn from them, and your child will learn from you.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Everyone knows the strength of their kids, that’s true. But I admit if it were my daughter – and she wouldn’t be skipping classes – I’d tell her to come home, I’d listen, advise, then pack her back to school. When the next time came around – and yes, that will happen again because I allowed it to happen the first time – I’d tell her that no, she can’t come home. But I’d do the listening and advice by the phone and inside, I’d be breaking apart.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Having grown up with 2 brothers, raised three kids and seen how my Hubby’s family raised him and his sister, I can say that every single kid has a different line where a parent needs to step away. I refused to raise kids that would be like my brothers or my SIL where they still need their parents to do most of the hard stuff for them even when they became fully grown adults. How my Hubby got away from that I’m not entirely sure, but he did. I want my kids to still want to come home for visits when they are older, but only to visit. They don’t get to stay. I’ll help where I can and where I think it needs to be, but I have my lines I won’t cross. College is going to be interesting because it is a very new thing to deal with for us.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. That’s it, exactly. Don’t let emotions get in the way of the greater purpose. This isn’t to say we’re emotionless in making these decisions. It’s just that, emotional reactions tend to veer away from purpose and constructive resolutions.

    Blessings, love and peace to you and yours on this day.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Love the woods story. I am only now finding out with the help of some counseling and the insights of our “daughter with the psych degree” that there were a lot of things I did through the years that did not help the kids at all even though at the time I thought I was doing the right thing. I am grateful that all three of them turned out to be wonderful human beings in spite of those mistakes! Looking forward to hearing your conversation with your daughter and glad you are back in the blogosphere with these thought provoking posts! Our flag is flying today.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I agree that only you know your daughter and know what’s the best decision for both of you. My kids are 10 years and more ahead of your daughter and they were all raised to be extremely independent. My style was definitely not helicopter parenting. The oldest came home many weekends his first year or two. Not because he was homesick, but because he had many friends who went to school in the city and he wanted to be with them. He also liked doing his laundry in the comfort of our laundry room instead of the dorm.
    It never occurred to me to tell him not to come home.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. My daughter would be spending 8-10 hours in a bus, and coming home to study. Her friends are in Los Angeles and Ann Arbor, Syracuse and Stony brook, Ireland, Boston, Amherst, Evanston…you get the picture. She would be coming home t9 literally sit in her room, we don’t even have a washing machine in our apartment.

      Liked by 1 person

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