You’ve got to know when to let go
Updated: January 10, 2013 2:13PM
How far would you go to keep an eye out for your son or daughter in college?
Would you install monitoring software on the laptop he uses while away at school?
How about putting monitoring software on her mobile phone?
Would you hop in the car and drive hundreds of miles to drop in, unannounced, at your child’s college?
That’s what a woman from Kansas, Aubrey Ireland, claimed her parents did to her while she was away at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, studying music theater with hopes of becoming a star.
And to get mom and dad to back off, she sued them in a Cincinnati court.
Her parents, David and Julie Ireland, told the court that they were just looking out for their daughter’s best interest, trying to keep her from any risky behavior that might ruin her future career.
A judge agreed with the daughter, and ordered the parents to stay away from her.
Talk about extremes.
I know it is tough when a child goes away to college. Just the other day we were talking to friends about their son’s first year in college. He’s just downtown, yet they were concerned that they can’t get any information about him.
If he gets sick, they don’t know unless he says something.
Same thing if he breaks a leg.
Even the tuition bill is sent to him. He forwards it, of course.
It’s a hard pill to swallow for many parents. Too much, apparently, for these Ireland folks from Kansas.
But being able to let go is a big part of parenting. As a parent, you can only take your progeny so far. After spending 18 years protecting and coddling them, you have to know as a parent that you must let them go to sink or swim on their own.
You never stop worrying about them. That’s the lot in life of a parent — worrying about your children.
But worry doesn’t mean you spy on them 24-7, it doesn’t mean monitoring their incoming and outgoing phone calls, as if you are Vito Corleone, and it doesn’t mean dropping in unannounced to see what kind of skulduggery they might be up to. Skulduggery is part of the program.
You can arrange the talent on your son’s Little League team all you want, you can stay up late to finish your daughter’s science fair project, and you can build every pinewood derby car until you get it right.
But eventually you have to let them take center stage, alone and on their own. It’s a frightening place, but if you did your job right, they’re going to shine.