Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Helicopter moms and Free range dads

As you know, we have two beautiful young teen daughters. Well, young, they are not that young anymore. The oldest is turning a sweet 16 soon and her sister will be 14 in no time. They are no longer considered children, meaning they can sit with the adults at family parties and have grown up meals.

Growing up comes with responsibilities and doing chores and taking good care of yourself. We trust our children in that manner, that they will behave and do what's appropriate. Meaning I'm no helicopter mom, breathing in their necks and chasing them in whatever they do. They have a certain amount of freedom, the kind of freedom they can handle. The oldest has more freedom but also more responsibilities. The youngest needs more guidance and steering before she comes to her responsibilities, but she's learning. She's more the typical teenager than her sister. But that's okay, it's part of growing up.

Their father used to be more of a free range dad. He's not that strict and more willing to give in, but lately I have come to realize he has changed somehow. He interferes more in the education of the girls and they listen to his advice. He's so patient - so much more than I am - and good at letting them know the rules. He may not be as consistent as I am - the girls know I mean what I say and I'll persevere in what we have agreed on - but that's okay too. Whenever the girls trip over an issue, the issues aren't that big they can't be solved. They are just minor problems, often not worth mentioning.

Both the girls are pretty independent. They have learned how to cook a simple meal, how to mop floors or iron shirts and sheets. That's what I wanted for them: independence. I want to make sure they will be able to live by themselves before they decide to live with a partner. That's why I'm a big fan of letting them live apart when they decide to go to college. And yes, the girls agree. They like their independence. They like the fact that they can be by themselves for a while, without mom or dad constantly stepping in.

I'm leaving for Orlando, Florida this week. The girls will be at home with their dad, but at the same time, they will spend some time alone when he's at work. That doesn't worry me at all, because I know they are capable of doing so. They will cook and clean up their mess and take care of the pets. I'm proud of them..

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