We have all said it, time FLIES, and something about having kids makes time move 1,000 times faster. Before we know it, our kids are looking at high schools then colleges. As a first-time senior parent, I truly believe nothing prepares you for this. There are a lot more questions than I have answers but things that have helped us is knowing that we have done what we can do to prepare our son for the real world.
My son will graduate in May from HIGH SCHOOL … I will have raised a whole human who can vote and go to college all out on his own. For me, “success” in this area is independence. What can my son do on his OWN?
For us, we started to track to independence early. Our son went to an immersion school and was fluent in French by age 8 … therefore, I could not help with homework. Don’t get me wrong, I still ASKED if homework was completed but I could not double-check it like many other parents. This forced my son to keep track of the things he had to do on his own.
This continued into high school where I rarely look at his grades and am certainly not reviewing any homework. We tell him regularly that school is his JOB and that should be his number one priority.
We also opened our son a bank account with a debit card at 15. He knows how much money he has and that he needs to save some, spend some and give some away. This is incredibly important as he moves out into the world and will have his own bills and responsibilities. He pays for things that he can, and we are very open and honest with him about how much things cost and how to afford the life that he wants (without relying on his parents to foot the bill).
Finally, we do not have a curfew. I know, I know, I hear my OWN mother gasping in my ear. There is constant communication going on … where are you going? Who will you be with? As well as what time will you be home? For me, I know that a lot of my sons’ friends work until late hours and want to hang out after. As someone married to a natural night owl, I do know SOME people function best during those hours.
For me, hoovering over my son only made my anxiety worse, especially as he became a teenager. I remember about a year ago, a trusted friend of mine who has grown children told me that I had already given my son his guardrails and I needed to trust him and trust us that we had parented him to know right and wrong. I have leaned on this when the anxiety of parenting hits me. As your kids grow, remember to have faith in yourself … you are a good parent and you are teaching your kids as you go.