A Watched Child Never Boils

Well, I guess we don’t really want our children to boil.  But I’m thinking about excessive parenting, over-responsibility. Mine.  I’m not saying anything about you.

As my nest empties, I really like my children.  I could say a zillion good things about them.  In the interest of their privacy, I’ll say nothing about them, however.

But thinking about my own parenting and watching other (particularly) Americans parent, I’m convinced we are too involved and value their schedules and activities too much.

I recently had lunch with a couple of friends, and we were bemoaning the fact that no one we know has a social life.  We decided, with sufficient data, that the reason is that as soon as the children start “having a life,” the parents put theirs on hold to drive the kids around, supervise them, stay home to hear the scintillating details of their children’s lacrosse games, or generally just wait to see what suits their children.

Excuse me but when I was young, I figured out my own plans or stayed home and listened to the grown-ups downstairs.  They were having fun, and they were NOT discussing their children.  We didn’t do anything that fascinating or live under a microscope. We just existed in our own realm in an appropriate way.

And that’s got a lot of value.

Today, we monitor bowel movements, backhand, and college admissions.  We say “we” when we mean “Sally Sue” or “Bubba.”  As in “we’re applying to five colleges,” or “We have a lot of homework tonight.”

Ugh… I already did middle school.  I already did college.  And I wouldn’t go back for all the money in the world.  Or for a boatload of parenting feel-goods.  

I say “Take back the night, parents.”  But then again… it’s easy for me to say.  Mine are all leaving and I’ve got to find something to do.

~ by Cary on April 20, 2009.

One Response to “A Watched Child Never Boils”

  1. Sarah and I are empty nesters and we don’t mind having our life back.
    Sarah left last week to attend college again and finish her degree (3 classes left).
    33-years ago she left school to marry and have children. That now accomplished, she is a student again. Will be gone for 7-weeks, but
    I am proud of her.

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