--Do you encourage your child to conform (to society, the rules, the norm, whatever....)
--Or do you encourage him to TRULY be him/herself no matter how much that path contradicts the path you WANT for him/her?
People have often asked me things like "Why on earth did you let Jess color her hair purple?" or "Why on earth did you let her get another tattoo?" or "Why on earth did you let her pierce her nose?"
The first thing that makes me GIGGLE (ok, LOL) about these questions is the word "LET"... pretty sure that she does not do things such as these because I "LET" her... (since all of these occurred AFTER the age of 17) Anyway...
I have NEVER been the kind of mom who asked her kid to fit in a mold.
Cases in point:
- She wore pink fringed cowboy boots for several weeks in a row in preschool. (I shuddered a tiny bit, but never said a word.).......
- She befriended people in elementary school who most kids from her "circle" would never have given the time of day. (and I CHEERED!).....
- She took advanced math in 8th grade in order to avoid taking math her senior year while everyone else did it to "get to Calculus".... (I supported her choice because it was not me sitting in that math class although I wanted to show her information from universities on a daily basis about what they wanted from their applicants)......
So yeah, she has always done things her own way and sometimes no matter how much I want to try and make her "more like me"... (OMG, WHY do we do that to our kids??!!), I hope she has felt supported all the way...through every "Jess-like" decision she has made (and yes, I have picked up the pieces when her decisions were not so great, but she had to figure it out herself). Some call me permissive; some call me irresponsible. But I hope my kid has felt empowered each step of the way.... in fact, I am pretty sure she would say that she has.
Amen Kelli! Wonderful post.
I love this post. I am no parent, but I am a child, and I know a lot of other people who are the child of someone. I think it is pretty safe to say that as a parent, saying you will not let your child (preteen/teen anyway) do something, will ensure that they go ahead and do just that, if not worse. Making our own choices, and knowing that we are supported in doing so, even though it may not be smart is crucial to evolving into a responsible, mature adult, who eventually learns to make better choices.
From all your posts, you sound like a pretty incredible parent. Jess is a lucky girl.
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