“I NEED YOU NOW…” Part 2
Do you know when your child needs you MOST? We discussed in the last article that our children seemingly need us most when their diapers need changing, they need your hand to steady those first steps, their training wheels need tightening, they had a bad dream and they “Need You Now!” Let’s examine what happens as our children get older. Do they need us less or more?
We assume in our society that as we get older we need less support, when actually it is the opposite. Think about it, your aging parents need your support, when they didn’t before. In the same way, teens need their support system more than any other time in their life. Teens need to know they are on the right track, headed in the right direction, ready for the real world, and the rest of their life.
When I started as a the classroom as a teacher, I spent the first year as a substitute and signed up for all grade levels and all types of schools. I quickly found out what I was not cut out to do. After the first few hours of “Miss, Miss, Miss, he looked at me funny”, “I raised my hand first and you didn’t call on me” followed by a flurry of tears, and a guaranteed call from a “concerned” mom, I realized they needed me a little too much. Parents were clamoring to bring the biggest cupcakes and goody bags for their child’s birthday. Every child brought cards and gifts for the teacher on holidays and the PTA was standing room only.
I decided to try middle school; they would surely be very appreciative of my years of experience in the business world. They were actually more impressed that I owned one item of clothing that was “cool”. PTA meetings were still quite lively and competitive; you had to know someone who knew someone to become an officer. The teacher who taught the PTA president’s child knew they would never have to fund raise for classroom supplies. Much to the chagrin of their independent “tweens”, there was a waiting list of parent chaperones for the dance.
When I did my time as a high school substitute, I realized I was at home. This was my niche, they were old enough to get my jokes and I could prepare them for the “real world” challenges that were nipping at their heels. But…something happened to the parents, they disappeared. Some parents tell me, I have done my part in raising my child, now they are on their own, besides they tell me all the time, “I got this”, so I leave them alone.
I asked my high school students, whether they felt they needed their parents in their lives more or less when they got to high school. Their overwhelming response was “they need them more in high school”, “sometimes it scares me to think about all the decisions I have to make and the way it will affect my life forever”. High school students look much bigger, and act a little tougher, but when you peel away the layers of fear and fake bravado you hear them say; “Miss, Miss, he looked at me funny”. Most importantly, there are very few parents visible, they come to freshmen orientation, senior graduation, and a few football games. PTA’s consist of the parent that is new in town and a grandparent or two that want to get extra credit points for their grandchild.
If you are a high school student make a concerted effort to talk to your parent or guardian and let them know “you need them now” more than ever, to listen to you and talk with you. Parents, you cannot think your job of parenting is easier in high school, it is more important than ever. Volunteer, join PTO, but most of all talk with your child a couple of times a week to find out their fears and dreams, remember…they “Need you Now!”