So honesty time…I can be a totally overbearing parent. Both of my boys are adopted and have unique learning needs. Both are diagnosed with ADHD even though it manifests in different ways for both of them. Our oldest struggles with attentiveness and keeping focus, which makes retaining information very difficult from him. Our youngest is hyperactive and when you couple that with his oppositional defiance disorder, it makes educating him somewhat challenging to say the least. However, despite their challenging, rocky, and somewhat traumatic past working themselves through the foster are system, they have amazing personalities. Their default emotion is JOY, Laughter, and pure happiness. They have their moments as do their Dads, but they have a zest for life that should be admired.
As parents of kids with a past and multiple needs, we are always worried about the stigma that comes with those plus being raised by two dads. We are hyperconscious of their backgrounds and advocate for them, especially in school, pretty heavily. They both have IEPS which gives us a pathway to open communication with the school. We are truly doing everything we should and can do as parents.
But we still doubt ourselves so much. We overthink and resort to either doing too much which leads to frustration which leads to adding a toxic energy to interactions. That is really my cycle as the primary caregiver. I over worry, over parent, and bubble up with frustration. I want my boys to do good! I want them to be a success story from the foster care system but that type of pressure isn’t fair to them.
Homeschool and distance learning really brought that to a head. My oldest hovers between 1-2 grade levels behind academically and with the upcoming, and terrifying, middle school transition happening next year, I was convinced I could close the gap. I could use the 1 on 1 teaching environment to really challenge him.
My youngest is doing well in school, and has more behavioral changed. Especially this year, he got himself into a lot of trouble to the point where we were looking forward to quarantine to kind of stop the madness and slow life down a but. He was a train to trouble.
I pushed. I planned. I pushed some more. And I literally has a meltdown a break through about two weeks ago. I realized that my child’s education at home is NOT about academics. It’s bigger than that. It’s about teaching them independence. It’s about teaching them problem solving skills and resiliency. It’s about teaching them self-love and self-awareness. I don’t want them moving on after high school remembering every grade or project. I want them to leave our house knowing their were loved.
Being a lawn mower parent will do them no good. Moving down a path from them and trying to control every variable is going to do them NO good. Teaching them to own their path and cherish the highs and learn from the lows is our job.
yes. We have to guide them. But I want to teach them through modeling what a life of meaning and purpose looks like. Yes, they need us. But they are humans with their own personalities and innate abilities. They are unique and we can’t force them to reflect our visions for them. They just need to be trusted! They need us to be encouraged. They need us there to celebrate their success and comfort them in their failures.
This is what quarantine and homeschooling has taught me. I simple outline their day for them. Tell them the expectations and let them go. I am there to help them is they need it, but I am trusting they will get it done to the best of their abilities. It takes so much pressure off them and I immediately saw them take more ownership of their learning day.
I know many parents already know this, but I struggled in this area! It’s not my job to put my wants and desires for their interest on them. Those are a reflection of my needs and not theirs. It is really about just simple getting out of their way.
There will still be tough days ahead, but I am learning which is the best thing I can do right now. Just keep learning and growing as a person and parent.