Hindsight is 20/20, and as I sit here with a heavy heart and teary eyes, I can say that I have to accept a lot of blame. Check my old post from a year ago or so, and you will see that my son, who just completed his freshman year in college, was immature in high school and did just enough to get by. Smart kid, but lazy. Enter Mom… I checked the high school’s website daily and made sure he completed his homework, studied for tests, etc. Nag, nag, nag. He was too smart to fail, and there was no way I was going to let him blow his future. I’m doing what’s best for him, I told myself, because he will thank me once he’s in college. It will all pay off in the long run!
But it didn’t. He was so excited to go to college, and he quickly made friends. He liked his classes - loved his professors - all was great! Until the work started piling up. Read this, write that, study-study-study! He wanted very little to do with it. It was all about the fun, and doing just enough to get by. He pledged a fraternity, started partying too much - you know the story. It’s cliche, but it fits him like a glove. I wasn’t there to nag him anymore, and without mom to keep him straight…he veered.
So now here we are, one year and $25,000 later. DS just informed me that college isn’t for him. He’s moving near his college, will stay with friends, and work at a grocery store. That way he can continue to have his fun, not deal with mom and dad house rules, which he thinks will help him grow and mature.
So here is my hindsight lesson - let them fail in high school. Let them get a Zero on their homework, flunk a test, and fail a class, even if it means summer school in order to graduate. LET THEM FAIL!!! They won’t get into college, but then again, they weren’t ready for it anyway. As a parent, I wanted it so badly for my son, and he wanted it to, but he didn’t want to work for it. So I helped him work for it. And it backfired. It taught him nothing. But it taught me a great deal, just a few years too late.
My lesson isn’t limited to academics. I should not have done all the research of colleges. He wouldn’t have done it, but then again, he would have ended up in the same place he is now, so it wouldn’t have mattered. Let them go to community college until they are mature and motivated enough to work for it themselves.
I never dreamed I would be the helicopter parent that I have become. My parents certainly weren’t that way. I did the research for colleges, looked into potential majors -all back in the 1980’s when there was no internet. My parents had no part in it, not because they weren’t interested, but because it was my responsibility to do it. And yet I plunged right in with my son because I wanted it so badly for him - much more than he wanted it for himself. And now he’s continuing down the path of immaturity, leaving behind the shattered dreams that were once mine and mine alone.