Sometimes Growing Up Harder is Better (aka The Egg Theory of Parenting).
Terms like “helicopter parenting” get thrown around a lot these days. It’s an amazing thing that society has turned being extra loving and aware of your kids into a bad thing. But… maybe there is a reason for that. Maybe (for potentially the first time ever) society knows something we don’t.
I have friends who have spent their whole adult lives trying to become parents. Or those who’ve spent a lot of their adult life following their dreams and waiting a bit longer to have kids. Then there are the parents like me who didn’t focus too hard on either of those things but were lucky enough to become parents in spite of it all.
Regardless of our walks in life or how we became parents, now we are parents and we all manage to parent differently. Some of us parent like our parents did. Some of us parent opposite because of how they did it. Some of us research every facet of parenting that we can, making educated guesses at the type of parent we want to be. Some of us parent by instinct alone. None of us are any better than the other when it comes to our parenting, those of us that really give it the good ole’ college try, that is.
We envy the parents who we think have found a better balance than us. We model ourselves after the best parents we knew. We try our hands at things we never thought we’d consider if there’s even a chance they’ll make us better because that’s what parenting is: it is about getting better, growing up all over again with your child. Growing into yourself and your life.
What the “helicopter” parents don’t see is that sometimes the getting hurt part isn’t as important as the getting back up again part is. If you never fall down, you never learn how to get back up. Parents who carry their children above harm at all times, protecting them out of love at all odds may have all of the best intentions, but perhaps a bit misguided.
Those of us who experienced challenging childhoods and have come out of it the other side know that a bit of challenge adds a bit of character.
Basically; Raising kids is like making poached eggs. You want them to be soft, and innocent, but… not so soft that they fall apart completely. You want them to be strong, hold their character even in challenging conditions, but not so strong that they’re too tough. You guide them gently around, watching closely enough that the water boils but doesn’t boil over from complete neglect. But watch too closely and the pot never boils. Your eggs are too soft and breakfast is ruined.