Being a Good Mom

A few weeks back, I wrote about the difficulty of balancing safety and freedom in your parenting.  Today, I heard a news story that takes this idea to the next level….. what happens when these kids that we have tried so hard to protect and care for grow up?  The interview was about how parents are increasingly becoming involved in their adult children’s careers.  Professor Sean Lyons of the University of Guelph discussed how he once thought that stories of parents calling universities to advocate for their adult children, or potential employers to find out why their kids didn’t get a job were simply urban myths, but that this has actually become a pretty common thing.

He explained that these well-meaning parents are actually robbing their children.  When we step in and take control for our kids, the underlying message is that we don’t believe they can manage for themselves.  We rob them of self-confidence.  We rob them of the feeling of accomplishment that they did something independently.  And we rob them of the resilience that comes from facing adversity and surviving.

It all makes sense in my head.  After all, I’m the one that keeps writing on this topic!  But at the same time, I hear my adult son tell me with frustration, more often than I would like, “Mom, I’m fine!  I’m quite capable of taking care of this!”

I just want to be a good mom.  I just want him to know that I love and support him.

But my focus on the basic needs of safety and belonging interferes with his need for freedom and power.

The thing is, when I do step back, I often feel judged that I’m not fulfilling my duty as a parent.  Maybe we need to redefine what it means to be a good parent.  Maybe it isn’t about doing for our kids – maybe, just maybe, it’s about letting them do some things for themselves.




2 thoughts on “Being a Good Mom

  1. Vicki says:

    I would have to agree with your comments. I think the measure of a good parent is – can your child survive on their own, make their own decisions and live with them. Can they pick up the pieces and change their lives to what their ideal is, not what others think it should be. You can show your love and support by listening and guiding as fit for the age of your child. An 18 year old shouldn’t be asking his mommy if he should buy a car and which car she thinks is best. (unless of course he’s spending her money!) Or he might still be doing this at 40.


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