We operate a minimal child supervision policy in our house. Is this because I want to sneak off to watch Netflix and crime dramas unsuitable for small people during daylight hours?
But that’s not the only reason.
I believe that a problem solved alone or a solution found to something without the pressure of me bearing down on my little beauties can teach them valuable lessons. Now they’re a little older this is quite a doable option. Obviously when they were toddlers I used to supervise the shit out of every miniscule detail. Putting on socks, teeth brushing, eating, and even the precise monitoring of when they toileted including a full assessment of the colour, size and consistency of what came out. Of course I’m still here hovering around, waiting in the wings ready to pounce at a breaths notice in order to prevent anyone setting fire to themselves or drowning in the shower but as time moves on these occurrences get less and less.
Does it make me sad I’m not needed as much these days?
Of course, but I’m also very proud to be raising independent people who understand that they don’t need me for every single small decision they make and are beginning to realise there are consequences for their actions.
A good example of this is schoolwork. If it’s not done to an acceptable degree it’s not me they will answer to but the teachers at school. I give them the choice and if they choose not to do it they appreciate there might be repercussions that are not favourable. In all honesty this has been working brilliantly, especially when my 12 year old got an unexpected phone call from her maths teacher a few weeks ago during the last lock down. It would appear she had been economical with the truth about her online attendance to these lessons because she found them challenging. When the teacher called and explained to me what had been going on I asked them to hold on while I took the phone to my daughter. Both her and the teacher were suitably horrified that it wasn’t going to be as simple as to pass a message on through a third party (that would be me), but she didn’t miss a single lesson after that.
Whilst not a pleasant experience she now has the realisation that she is answerable for her actions. Let’s be clear, I haven’t turfed them out into the world alone just yet. I still lovingly perform all the motherly duties expected of one with a 10 and 12 year old, but a life lesson here and there I think stands them in good stead.
I plan to continue the same parenting technique I have adopted so when the time comes for them to stand on their own beautiful 2 feet they will hopefully do so with minimal disruption. In the future when they negotiate their way into the wild west of adulthood my hope is that they glide into it, relatively unruffled. Not always an easy process I know but my wish is that when they do approach it they will be safe in the knowledge that I will forever, for as long as I’m here, be waiting in the wings for whenever I am needed as always.