It seems as if parents can do no right. Parents who are very involved, who coach their children’s sports teams, who insist that their child not skip practice are criticized for living through their children. However, as every Disney after-school special ever will tell you, God save the child whose parent has an actual job to pay for all those basketball camps, private schools and plane fare to tournaments because that means they won’t be there to see their child score the winning goal/ star in the school play which explains why their child is the class bully/ mean girl. The hero of the movie then understands why mean girl/ bully is that way. It is because the parent has to have a career that might conflict with sitting on the sidelines watching a Little league game.
You’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t.
The people who told me I’m not involved enough have been people who have different priorities and opinions from me. They mean well but I beg to differ that my child will NOT be scarred for life if I don’t see her performance as tree #4 the school play. It is not a bad lesson to learn that someone can love you and simultaneously have a life of their own with their own goals and desires.
So, the people who judge me as not involved enough will get together and talk shit about me at the PTA meeting and Booster Club and all of those other things I don’t attend. It’s not something I drink champagne and celebrate, but it doesn’t worry me all that much, either. I’m doing the best I know how.
One thing I have learned personally over 32 years of raising children – no one who has accused me of being over involved in my children’s lives had their best interests at heart. This group included a minority who didn’t know me or my children and didn’t know what the hell they were talking about. The majority of the time, when a someone has told me that I was too involved with my children and needed to back off, they were trying to take advantage of my children and didn’t want me to get in the way. THAT’S the group you have to guard against.
It reminds me of the time, years ago, when I was at the park with my 5-year-old daughter. There was a boy who looked about 11 playing on the playground. He asked me,
“Don’t you think that’s weird that you watch your daughter every second? Don’t you trust her?”
I told him it was other people I didn’t trust.
“Well, I feel sorry for you and your daughter. You must have a really depressing life.”
The rest of the story: 6 months later, I heard about that boy being arrested for molesting a young child in the same park.
My point – when someone tells you that you are too involved in your child’s life, ask them flat out,
“Why are you telling me this? Are you implying that you know my child better and care more than I do?”
On a darker side, ask yourself,
“What does this person gain by me being less involved?”
And watch that person like a hawk.