Monday, 8 January 2018

Drowning in Choice

Drowning in Choice.

Being a parent is hard. Every choice has ripples. Every thing you choose to say and do, and everything you choose not not say and not do. You'd think that being someone who is child-led in their educational approach would be super cool with choice.
Yet choice, especially too much choice can be really toxic. It can be a way to side-step big or scary parenting decisions you don't want to take responsibility for.
I know because it was a common thing for both my parents to do.
My mother took me aside at the tender age of 8 and asked if we should leave our home and if she should leave her abusive alcoholic boyfriend. I was a smart kid, a really smart kid but I should not have been allowed to make that choice. I choose to stay, because at least I knew how bad it was where we were. The fear of the unknown was bigger than the fear of what was. 
This kind of choice was used as a weapon against me. If I was upset by something I had chosen it was then my fault, I made the choice, I was to blame.
This is the toxicity of too much choice too young. This is the toxicity for side stepping parental responsibility.
That said the idea that I must control everything about my child's life is just as toxic. When their whole lives are planned down to the subjects they study, the university and even beyond. Obviously this level of controlling isn't helpful either. I watched kids fail and fail and fail, because they were dancers forced into the sciences, and scientists forced into dance classes.
Today we have more choice than ever before but it is stressful and damaging.
We as parents need to manage that by stepping in and making the big choices, being the adult sometimes because it's part of our job to take that responsibility because they are children. No matter how smart and knowing our kids are they don't always have the development, experience and understanding of time to make them life choices or deal with the consequences. While giving kids a say is important making them responsible for choices you didn't want to make is crippling and toxic.
At the end of the day you are the parent. The adult. The person who chose to have this child. Until they are grown you are responsible. Limiting or over ruling when needed isn't fun. It isn't "cool". They might be angry, or sad or hurt. Yet hopefully having the resolve that their safety, well-being and "greater good" in their life is more important than that. It is just as important for your children to see you make hard choices as it is for you to allow them to make them.

1 comment:

  1. Excellent article! It is our job as adults to teach our kids how to make wise choices and be discerning. Sad that some adults can't do that themselves. Happy New Year!