I Have To Shut Up and Let My Kids Make Mistakes.

As a parent one of the hardest things to do is NOTHING. By nature I am a fixer of problems.  I just can’t help myself.  I like fixing things. I’m good at fixing problems and it makes me feel good.

But we aren’t supposed to fix all our children’s problems. We are supposed to let them figure stuff out on their own, so they learn and remember. BUT THAT’S SO HARD! It means I have to shut up and watch my children make mistakes. Gross.

When my daughter gets her stipend from the college she is too generous. She wants to spend her money on everyone. She wants to buy me a new phone, she helps her friend pay to get her belly button pierced…again. Yes, it’s so sweet, but damn it, she shouldn’t do that. The child will be broke again, very soon. That money is supposed to last her all semester. I know this and so do you. But I only let myself caution her once. She’s an adult; it’s her money. She has to learn to budget. She does this every semester. I could fuss at her, warn and lecture her, but then she’d simply stop answering the phone when I called. She would delete the texts I send. So, I try to keep my mouth shut.

My son lets almost every kid in 3rd grade “borrow” toys. He stuffs his back pack with foot balls, action figures and trading cards.  I constantly tell him it’s a bad idea and he can’t do that because he will  loose all his toys. The other kids will lose, break or simply not bring his toys back. He always thinks I was being selfish.  He has faith his boys would return his stuff.

Finally, I let him take one of his very favorite Nerf guns to school so Justin could borrow for the weekend.  Justin brought it back on Monday, but he’d lost all the bullets and their was a crack in the barrel.

I knew exactly what would happen but I had to let my son learn the hard way before  he actually understood. And it only cost me a Nerf gun.

And then there are the boyfriend and girlfriend mistakes. Holy cow, as a parent, we can see the train wreck a week in advance. We can tell when the new “date” is too clingy or too selfish. We know the kid is a punk the second he refuses to make eye contact. We know the new girl friend is a little skanky and self absorbed because she talks about STDS at the dinner table, she doesn’t want to to sit down to talk to the family and the girl acts as though babies and little kids have some strain of herpes and she doesn’t want to catch it.

We see and understand the signs. I generally let myself give two or three girlfriend/boyfriend warnings then I have to make myself  SHUT UP.  I can’t fix the problem, they have to figure out for themselves that they don’t like dating guys with rattle snake neck tats and pathetic handshakes. 

I’m a fixer who’s not allowed to fix things. So I take a deep breath, say a little prayer and try not to bang my head on the wall over and over again until they leave the house.

* Hey, write to me, I want to know what you think. hampoland@gmail.com

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