The Boy, my son, has only a few weeks left in his freshman year of high school, and I don’t understand how time has moved so quickly!
His freshman year has been a little rocky while he has adjusted to an increased amount of homework, being challenged by his teachers for the first time in his academic career, and finding his place in a huge school. Fortunately, there is still time for him to improve his grades.
The Boy surprised me this year by offering to treat me to a hot fudge sundae! He wanted to talk about everything and nothing, He actually wanted to spend time with me IN PUBLIC!
We went to the 3-Bs to share our Oohhs and Aahhs, or our recap of the last nine months. Over ice cream, we discussed the positive memories (the Oohhs), as well as the challenging ones (the Aahhs) that took place at school, at home, with our village of friends, or in the world around us. I let him do most of the talking. I shared a few reflections on times I wish I had handled a situation, project, or conversation differently, and times I was extremely proud of him, myself, or our village of friends and family.
During our Oohhs & Aahhs conversation, The Boy shared his emotional ups and downs of high school. We discussed areas where he was challenged academically, athletically, and even emotionally. The Boy let me know where I can help him overcome obstacles and where he would like me to let him take the lead in making changes.
While I am far from a parenting expert, I know parents struggle to relinquish control of parts of their children’s lives, especially when we want them to be preparing for college. One area where he asked me to change my approach was in his academic performance. “Yo! Mom, you have to chill with looking at my grades. Like, I get it. You expect me to do my best, but you’re not seeking perfection. Just consistent effort or whatever. Like, Yo, just chill!” I guess The Boy was listening.
I can take a step back from the day-to-day monitoring of his homework. I’m going to stop raising my concerns if his grades slip, but he understands my expectations and the consequences of failing to meet those academic goals. He has to take ownership of his academic success because it is his future, not mine. I hope this shift will help him be successful in the future.
Don’t worry. The Boy has approved the plan where I chauffeur him to football practices, extra trainings with coaches, and all of his other activities. We are taking small steps towards his independence every day.
What about you? In parenting teens, what helpful advice would you give for learning to let go so that your child is ready to launch toward college and beyond?